Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Advice given to me as a child (2/5) – Think before you open your mouth

Saying stupid things is a habit I’ve never properly grown out of. When I was young, my Dad was forever telling me to think before I opened my mouth. Here’s when someone really should have taken on board what he said.

On the rota, I’m down to do a gynaecology list in the afternoon with one of the consultants. On the list is Mrs Hughes, a middle-aged professional woman, who is rather nervous about the whole thing. During my pre-op assessment, it becomes obvious to me that this woman I petrified of having a general anaesthetic – so much so that she is considering just getting up and leaving the hospital. When I probe a bit more into her fears, it turns out that she’s not really that bothered by the idea of the surgery but is really scared of the unconsciousness that general anaesthesia necessitates.

I explain this to the consultant and the consultant comes to see the patient. After a bit of discussion, Mrs Hughes agrees to have her operation done under spinal anaesthetic. This means that she gets an injection into her back to give adequate pain relief for surgery to continue, but she’ll remain totally awake and conscious throughout the whole operation.

It’s now later on and we’ve done the spinal anaesthetic. Mrs Hughes is in the operating theatre and the consultant gynaecologist is part way through the operation. Mrs Hughes is perfectly calm, so we haven’t given her any sedation at all and I’m just chatting to her about this and that - so far so good.

At this point, the theatre doors open and one of the particularly loud theatre nurses walks into the room. She’s been working in the theatre next door and has come in to get some piece of equipment they need.

She spies the surgeon and in a loud voice exclaims, “Hello again David! It seems that these days, every time I see you, you’ve got your hand up some woman’s fanny!”

There are lots of shocked/embarrassed faces in the operating theatre and a deathly silence until my consultant pipes up with, “Errrr, Mary, this is a spinal. She’s totally awake.”

“Oh, shit” comes the reply from said theatre nurse who promptly legs it back out of the room.

Luckily, Mrs Hughes saw the funny side.


madsadgirl said...

You've given me a good laugh on a day I'm feeling very sorry for myself. Thank you.

Lily said...

I just choked on my cup of tea reading this. Seriously funny!!

First On Call said...

Imagine the reaction had it been the esteemed Prof Paice on the table!

Ash said...

Ha! One for the Christmas table anecdote list, that. Great blog, well done :)

Flossy said...

One of my colleaughes told a very attractive 19 year old "you look like a man" this week. What he meant was that she couldn't find what she was looking for, even though it was right in front of her. That was not how she heard it though.... oops!