I show up yesterday, my first day of OB/Gyn rotation, at 7:10am for a 7:30 LAVH BSO (Hysterectomy). I would say I am minimally anxious, despite this being my first experience scrubbing in for a surgery, first time meeting this particular doctor, and first time at Overland Park Regional. Though everyone is extremely friendly, they don't know how truly inexperienced I am and just begin rattling off instructions; here's the locker room, over there are the shoe covers, here are the caps (do I wear the shower cap looking thing or the tie one that most male surgeons don?) And thus, probably due in part to downing my coffee in less than 20 minutes, the slow descent into panic begins...
...I am whisked by the doc to the OR. He tells me to grab a mask, so naturally, I pick the same one he uses, and quickly tie it on my head. He then shows me the soap packets and we begin to scrub away, 20 rubs on your palm, 20 on the pack or your hand, 20 in between each finger, HALT. He stops and says, "Oh, you have to take that ring off". The ring he is speaking of, is my right hand ring that Matt gave to me as a gift for my 21st birthday. A ring that has not been removed for 5 years, and not for lack of trying. Believe you me, I have spent countless hours freezing my hand, lotioning it up and rinsing it in soapy, cold water all to no avail. I had even tried the night before, knowing that this would be a likely request, but hoping it would slip past the doc when, yet again, I was unsuccessful. "Well," I utter, "I have tried on multiple occasions to remove this ring, but I can't, it's been on here for five years." His response, "Well, you have to get it off." So now really in a panic, I begin twisting, and turning, and soaping my finger, and SUCCESS! It comes right off! I am blown away. If you need ring removal, go borrow some of the soap with iodine from the hospital, because apparently it's magic (or maybe I had scrubbed away enough layers of skin, or maybe it's the freezing weather combined with my anxiety, or maybe it's the 13lbs I have lost...or maybe it really is a miracle.)
With that process done, we proceed into OR #6 to be gowned - which is a stressfull process in itself. Your are sterile, you cannot touch anything or anyone, it's amazing how hard that really is. We then begin on the procedure. The doc is explaining everything he is doing, but in my mind, I am thinking: "Don't touch anything, don't get in his way, oh man, he bumped my arm, I'm in the way, what are we looking at? Please don't ask me any anatomy questions...oh, that looks just like it does in the book, how is he not puncturing the bowel? This is amazing. I love technology..." He then snaps me out of my awe-stricken state, to ask me to hold one of the devices. Naturally, I grab it and I am bent over this person, holding this contraption with all my might, refusing to move even a millimeter. I don't want to be blamed for any mishaps. After a while I am getting a bit tired, but have no idea who I would ask to relieve me from my task and I am not even sure my task is still needed. So, I just stand there and begin to sweat. As I am slowly getting overheated, the mask is suddenly very claustrophobic. I had decided early on, that I had tied it entirely too tight, but once sterile, you cannot touch anything above your chest or below your waist. I didn't know anyone by name, besides the doc, in the OR, so I couldn't very well ask them to adjust it. Leaving only one option: I just have to tough it out.
Well, I think everything culminated in that moment. I can't tough it out, my mask is suffocating me, what if I drop the device!? And then, the ear-ringing begins. Oh crap, sweating + anxiety + ear-ringing = fainting! I give in and say, "I am getting a little light-headed". Immediately, everyone responds in an orderly, calm fashion (guess they've done this before) and I am whisked away to sit in a chair - while still remaining sterile. But the ball is rolling and the tunnel vision sets in, so I say, I need my mask off, and to get out of the room. I am de-gowned as I leave, and the nurse remarks "goodness, you ARE covered in sweat, and going white!" She finds someone to babysit me as she rushes back into the OR. I continue to sit on a hospital bed in the hallway, with my head between my knees, kind of amazed that I didn't fully pass out, because it was a close one, but really angry with myself at the same time. If I had just asked for relief when I knew I needed it, I would have saved myself this episode. I wasn't even queasy. Yet here I am, in that club of med students, who passes out in the OR. Darnit. I hate being typical.