poured out before bed
“I’m just so glad you get to learn from me, Ms. Mullberry! I mean, what an awesome thing that I get to help out the next generation of doctors. Oh, such a privilege!
She is absolutely beaming at me as the anesthesia resident places her IV, her perfectly coiffed permanent shimmering in the low light of the PACU.* This is the happiest I’ve ever seen a pre-op patient, bar none.
“It’s a privilege to be on your care team, Mrs. Jones. Thank you for the opportunity to learn from your health care,” I smile back at her. “We’ll see you in the OR then, OK? And Mr. Jones, we’ll be out to chat with you when we’ve finished up. So nice to have met you both.”
I shake two warm hands, my day brightened by two warm souls, and head off to scrub in.
Mrs. Jones is still chattering warmly when the nurses wheel her in, grinning until she flies off to the land of MAC.** What we see on hysteroscopy, though, is nothing to grin about. Mrs. Jones’ deformed uterine cavity is nearly filled to capacity by a shaggy pink-white fluff with patches of black necrosis and hemorrhagic polyps – an abnormal finding for any woman, let alone a post-menopausal female whose endometrium should be thin, atrophic even. Dr. J makes a whistling sound through his dentures as he begins to take pictures. He sighs a little as he sets to the task of curettage, stripping great globs of ugly tissue from the uterine walls with quick, controlled strokes.
“It doesn’t look great,” he whispers at me with a sad wink. “We’ll talk about it later.”
I wink reflexively and nod, knowing that our post-op discourse will be worlds different than the pre-op.
*PACU=Post-Anesthesia Care Unit
**MAC=monitored anesthesia care
Step 2 CK Throw Back, from Gyn-Onc