Sunday, February 3, 2013

I was supposed to write this deep and profound (redundancy intentional) blog series about my 1 1/2 year experience working inside the Operating Room. I planned it to be hard-hitting stuff, life-changing even, the kind of articles that would make you think about one's purpose in this world, how people tend to put much value on the wrongest of things and complain about the most insignificant details, but for some reason, I couldn't find my Paulo-Coelho-meets-Mitch-Albom voice and, after several sessions of trying, is still incapable to write my own version of Tuesdays with The Alchemist. 

Instead, what keeps popping out of my head is this sarcastic Gossip Girl style voice which likes name-dropping popular authors and makes fun of everything. So be it. I'll make use of you.

So, what did I manage to soak up after months inside a place where only few have gone inside of, half of them on the table, anesthetized, and the other half literally running around the place just to properly run the place?

Crocs are best friends. They may look fugly outside the sterile section of the OR but inside, they are your feet's closest buddy. From standing in one place for hours at a time to jogging around the facility for the whole 8 hour shift to doing the Tinikling just to get out of the way of spilling blood during bloody operations, you'd be glad to have a comfy rubber barrier protecting your feet from bodily fluids that are not yours nor from a person you're in an intimate relationship with.

Babies are not as fragile as you think. They are actually very nimble and resilient. After witnessing and assisting in hundreds of Caesarian Sections, I'm pretty much convinced I could throw one out the window and it will survive the fall. (Just a figure of speech, please don't report me to Bantay Bata.)

It's never as horrifying as macabre movies present it to be. Replace the gloomy, oil-stained walls with clean tiles and a set sterile instruments instead of chainsaws and pliers and it's pretty much the same thing, intestines and blood everywhere. The difference only lies in the anesthesia, and the fact that no one ever screams and loses their appetite after a major operation. In fact, it's all you can do to not forget to wash your hands before attacking that waiting meal in the pantry.

Nudity loses... whatever effect it has when you're surrounded by it everyday. Now I  can understand how people can go people-watching in nudist beaches and find nothing out of the ordinary. Now, seeing a pregnant mother's labia majora is just like staring at an elbow. Well, the inner part of a flexed elbow, maybe.

Surgeons are also humans. They have different personalities and techniques, they make mistakes and perform miracles, they sleep on meticulously scrubbed floors and wear crinkled scrub suits to work. They are not self-proclaimed Gods some people assume them to be nor crazy overachievers like the ones in Grey's Anatomy who have sex in the janitor's closet. Okay, I'm not sure about the latter because we do not have janitor's closets to begin with but you get the point.

You never know what you got until it's gone. Sometimes, the simplest things are the most important ones. And ironically, these are the things we most often take for granted. Like, feet, for example. I mean, I like my feet, I take them to spas and pedicures every month. But I, you, and most people, don't go around saying "God, I feel so blessed to have these feet." because they've always been there, attached to your legs.  And then the next thing you know, you're witnessing someone get theirs sawed off because of a disease or a freak accident and the unthinkable possibilities that have never entered your mind seemed all too real and plausible. And trust me, it will make you stop ingesting sugar by the kilo. 


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