Yesterday was just plain wacky. Nothing serious. No one died. All the kids did well. All of the parents did well. Well almost. My days are always full. Up at 5:45 every weekday. Lots of time to make a difference, hopefully most of it good.
Let’s take it from the top. Started off great. Spent a few hours researching literary agents, book publishing, subsidiary rights, and other topics for a conversation I hope launches me into my literary career. A memoir in the making?
Trotted off to the hospital to face my day. Listened to a nice chapter on my book on tape during the drive. No rain. No snow. Streets clear. So far, so good.
I knew I had an unusually busy day, so I was proactive. Contacted every family to advise them of afternoon OR times. Offered alternative dates. No takers. Acknowledging the patience of one late afternoon child, they responded, “Oh, We would rather sit here all day and suffer, than spend another 2 weeks with this kid screaming from his ears and not breathing through his nose.”
Then, as if going into the Twilight Zone, little things all day kept cropping up. New faces unfamiliar with procedures in my room on a different unit. Instructions misunderstood. A brouhaha or a kerfuffle, depending on your personal lexicon or point of view. I was left frustrated and angry my almost perfect day (well up until 9 am) was ruined and so I did what I normally do, I secluded myself in a corner and had a little cry to relieve the inner tension I dare not express outwardly. Hopefully only a few people heard the sniffles. “You are a professional. You are a surgeon. Buck up, LB, your patients are waiting.” Three minutes later, on to the next.
A father drove far for his kid’s minor, and totally elective, surgery. When seen in the office two days ago, we thought the kid was healthy enough. This the anesthesiologist did not. Anesthesiologist always trumps surgeon. As one of my wise colleagues said, “I never regret an elective surgery I didn’t do.” It took me a long time to explain to the father about how doctors can disagree. And the safety of his child must come first. Arrrrrgh! I felt terrible, again. Twice in one hour. Full moon? Something in the air?
Before leaving the special unit for ear tubes to go down to the main OR, I was confronted with unforeseeable reactions to my previous post on gender stereotyping. I felt pretty awful that anyone took that in any way but as a lesson to be learned on how different people hear different words. And how different words sound differently to men and women when coming from men and women. Smoothed hurt feelings, including my own.
Down to the main OR. Eight more kids to go. First, an autistic child who would not listen to reason or believe that “nothing was going to hurt” had to be wrestled to the bed. Not cantankerous enough for sedation, but not exactly facing his fate with fortitude. Parent in attendance, very grateful and relieved.
An inexperienced nurse anesthetist student (SRNA) who really tried hard, and finally got it! That was good. But getting here there required all of our energy and vigilance. (Yes, when you share the airway with anesthesia, as pediatric ENT doctors often do, the SRNA becomes part of your business, too.)
Another child almost cancelled. Told she could eat a full breakfast at 8 am (not usually part of the pre-op instructions). And she did. But since the day ran until 5 pm, we could do her at the end, so another disappointed parent avoided. Now I have to find out where those instructions came from. Not our usual “no solids after midnight.” Sometimes patients cancel and we can move up later cases, but in this case we would have not been able to if we were able to.
Finished in time to scoot over to the Albright Knox to attend my first ever in 25 years as a member, “Members Reception” for the opening of their new exhibit: Selections from their permanent (and usually stored/hidden) collection of Picasso, Braque, Legere, and Sonya (as opposed to Robert) Delauney.
ARRRRRGH! No parking. No signs. Cars going every which way. Finally found the friendly parking attendant who told me to park across the street in the Burchfield Penny lot. By then I had missed half of the guided tour. I went home.
Lesson to be learned? Some days are not worth getting up for? No, that’s not it at all. Some days are just not what you had hoped for. But then I think about all those kids who can hear better, the sleepless nights no more for those parents, and the hugs I got from so many of my friends who saw it was a tough one for me. I know that some days are just like that. And like Scarlet O’Hara, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”