Mullberry Whine

poured out before bed


The First Use of Ether in Dental Surgery, 1846, Ernest Board…

The attending and I have long finished our pimp/teach ritual – meaning we’re at least an hour and a half into the case – and have fallen to paperwork and studying, respectively, glancing intermittently at the monitor.  The room is silent but for the high-pitched beat of the pulse ox and soft snores of the patient, coupled with the sporadic buzz of the bovie and the almost whispered conversation  of the surgeons just beyond the drape.  Every so often a surgeon raises his voice to direct Mrs. Jones – under MAC sedation – to move this way or that, and without a word she does as commanded, then recommences her ketamine stare and restful breathing.

Suddenly, with an echoing clarity and a volume misplaced in such a quiet setting there rings out a barking, “HEY!!!”

Startled, my attending and I gawk at each other.  His eyes are wide and piercing.

“Was that you?!” he asks, incredulous.

“Um, I think that was the patient,” I reply, turning to look at the motionless, still staring Mrs. Jones.

“Mrs. Jones,” Dr. B hovers over her face.  “Mrs. Jones, are you comfortable enough?!”

She continues to stare past him into nothing, blinks only when he places his hand on her temple.  The surgeon’s head floats uncertainly over the drape.  The pulse ox beats on at a steady, normal pace, the blood pressure cuff finishing it’s cycle to reveal an unchanged reading.

“Mrs. Jones?”

“Mmm.  Mm-hmm,” she mutters slowly, softly, her blank expression unchanged.

Dr. B shrugs.  The surgeon shrugs.  The resident shrugs.  The surg nurse shrugs.  I shrug, just to feel professional.

But we push a little extra druganyl, just in case.


– Step 2 CK Throw BackFrom Anesthesia


2 comments on “Shrug

  1. kindredspirit23
    October 17, 2012

    I would think that, at the very wrong moment, that could cause … um … surgical problems!

    • mullberrywhine
      October 17, 2012

      Which is exactly why the surgeons always glare over the drapes at the anesthesiologist when a patient does something unscheduled… I think they teach them the most effective way to emote vitriol with only the eyes early on, as interns.

Keep it clean, keep it respectful, or keep away.

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Nothing under the table.
The views expressed on "Mullberry Whine" are NOT intended to diagnose or treat disease.
The med-ed related stories described here are based on real events. Details have been changed in accordance with HIPAA de-identification guidelines to protect confidentiality.
Mullberry Whine can be enjoyed daily; there is no unsafe quantity. Real wine, though, should be enjoyed in moderation. At-Risk Drinking for males under 65 is defined as >14 alcoholic beverages per week or >4/day, with >7 drinks a week or >3/day being the cut-off for females under 65 and for anyone, male or female, who has graced this planet for 65 years for more. Drink Mullberry Whine like there are no consequences. But drink alcohol responsibly. Your friends, your family, your health-care provider, and your liver - heck, ALL of the organs in your body - will thank you.
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