Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Surgeon Songster

Years ago, one of the old time surgeons in Lotus City, who seemingly only knew one tune, would sing sometimes softly under his breath and sometimes look fixedly at his scrub and sing Sotto voce during his operative procedure. A co-conspirator admitting his scrub to the mysteries of his song. He usually had a commanding presence and could fix you with his eye and say something like, "Fresh fish", and you would ponder that a monumental message had been delivered, since it had a certain sonority to it! Though singing is not that uncommon in routine surgical procedures, it is usually during the closure and when the mood lightens! Most surgeons have a modest repertoire to draw on and will drone on tonelessly, but it is relaxing to the surgical staff to know that the operator is at least content with the progress of the case! The one of whom I speak however, only sang Nearer My God to Thee, which would emerge at intervals during the procedure, not always at the most relaxed or routine part of the procedure. Thankfully the patient in those days was always asleep, so they would not take the hymn as premonitory of some trip that they were not quite ready to make. On the other hand the more optimistic of the patients may well have considered that they were simply being operated on by a saintly man, whose connection with God was immediate and proximate. Since, however, they lay blissfully ignorant of the heavenly melody that was mercilessly massacred by the operator, they could be reassured that their organ in his hands was treated with more skill and care than any organ with which he may have attempted to accompany his hymn!

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