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“Putting in the epidural you’d think I was killing her, but now I’m her best friend”

October 9, 2007

So Friday we ended the week on a high note with… babies! Obstetrical anesthesia actually, and I had a blast.

For one thing, a C-section is quite a surreal experience. At first it has the feel of any other surgery, like we’re going in there to remove a tumor or something. But that tumor starts screaming! And they are filming it. And NAMING it. I’m sorry, sir, but you have a cold, cold heart if the appearance of a cute little tumor isn’t a nice break in the day for you.

Then there is the DRAMA. The only thing more dramatic that someone in pain is a laboring woman in pain. There is deep breathing, hooo, haaa, ow ow ow, aaaaaaaaah. I want my epidural! Plus there is almost always a story. Common, you know the story…as to how they got here. Like the two unmarried women with Indigo girls CD in the background. Or the male companion who is not the husband. Or the 45 year old with 16 & 18 year old kids. Or my favorite…did you notice that today’s date is exactly 9 months since the big snow storm? Uh huh.

My doc & I spent most of the day going room to room doing epidurals. It was here I could see the appeal of anesthesiology…you are Dr. Feelgood. I didn’t get to help b/c it is very delicate work not to puncture the dura, and it tends to make moms nervous when the med student takes over. However, I did get to help during the 2 C-sections and 1 cervix circluage. For those we did spinal anesthesia, where you want to puncture the dura b/c its essentially a lumbar puncture, only were not trying to remove any CSF. I might have earned back some demerits from previous days with my palpatory skills to not only feel the pop of the dura, but also the pre-pop of the ligamentum flavum.

Monday it was back to the beginning: LONG CARDIO. Normally this would depress me b/c it gives us so much time to talk and thus remove all doubt of my stupidity, which was the case here, AGAIN….BUT, I was able to redeem myself with my presentation on IV drugs and finally, FINALLY completing an intubation!

Today my doc had the day off, so I volunteered to follow another doc, which just so happened to be the “other man” from last week. We did 2 ortho cases, the first being not such a big deal, just some cleaning up of an ankle joint. One cool thing was I got to see popliteal block, where they find & numb the nerve in the back of the knee that innervates most of the ankle and foot. You know you hit when…hey…look at that toe twitch! The second op was a below the knee leg amputation. I tell you what, it is surreal to see a person enter with a leg, only to leave without it. We couldn’t put him under general anesthesia due to heart issues, so we gave him IV drugs and monitored his brain activity. The magic number on the monitor is 60. Keep them below that and they won’t remember a thing. Anything above that and we need to be careful what we say about their spouse.

So now there’s only 2 more days of passing gas…and stupid anesthesia jokes. Its been fun pretending I’m Michelle Au for a couple weeks, but I’ll be very happy to be done b/c then I’m heading back to St. Louis for a long weekend with dad, and then the Type B girls!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2007 11:58 am

    Hmmm.. An amputation. Interesting. Part of me wants to ask for more details about the procedure, but another part of me doesn’t, since my dad’s leg was amputated — above the knee.

    If you’re bored while you’re in St. Louis, look me up.

  2. October 10, 2007 3:52 pm

    Above the knee is actually an easier surgery to do, I think b/c there are fewer vessels & nerves and the ones that are there are huge, thus easier to find & deal with. Its not that complicated, I mean, more so than I could deal with, haha, but during the Civil War they had the 11 second AKA. Now its more an emotionally traumatic experience than physical. I’d be happy to answer what I can if you think of anything else 🙂

    And as for St. Louis, I’m actually only there like one night I think. The rest of the time I’m driving or attending a wedding in Springfield MO. I’ll let you know if I’ll partying it up that one night!

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