Not for the squeamish.

This is my second attempt to blog about my surgical experience. I tried to write it yesterday as soon as I got home, not wanting to forget anything I splurged it all down in a post.

But then the tiredness hit and I didn’t edit, so….. here we go again (although be warned my son now finds it acceptable to keep me awake all night with his cough and nightmares- exhaustion doesn’t even come close to how I feel right now!)


What a day it was.

First time in surgery. I had no idea what to expect, I had intended to read up on it before I went but as I had a mock practical exam the evening before and didn’t get home until late, there was little time for eating let alone reading.

Arriving at the day surgery ward I went to find the sister in charge, feeling like a bit of an idiot for not having a clue where to go/what to do etc. She told me to go and get changed into scrubs.

ummmmm “sorry, where? how?” Luckily, giving my biggest smile and ‘lost look’ seemed to work and she found a nice junior doctor to show me where to go.

Got changed into the scrubs, put on the hairnet, walked out of the changing room and…….. ahhh the junior doctor had disappeared!

I stood there looking and feeling very out of place. Decided to be pro-active and go back to the ward sister’s office, she told me I could go straight into Theatre 2 as they were expecting me.

Finally, found the Theatre and walked in (expecting some-one to stop me at any point and tell me I shouldn’t be there’), greeted by smiles from the 2 surgeons and my lovely fellow student/friend who was already there. From that moment on, I relaxed.

I got to see 2 operations. First was facial surgery where fat was taken from the patients abdomen and then injected back into the face to treat atrophy of the facial muscles. I couldn’t have been standing much closer, it felt unreal that I was witnessing surgery. Some days I still have to pinch myself that I am training to be a doctor, so being in surgery required pinching on a whole new scale!

The surgeons were very keen for us to see as much as possible and explained what they were doing, asked a few questions but we were never made to feel silly if we didn’t know the answers.

The only experience I have had to date of bodies being cut, has been in the dissecting room, so it was strange to see the abdomen going up and down as the surgery was being performed.

This first operation was over fairly quickly and it was amazing to then see the patient coming round, just minutes after he had been having his face pulled and pummeled. The nursing staff were so kind and gentle with him as he came round, patiently waiting as he tried to speak. It was lovely to watch.

Next-up, a big operation, 3 hour job to remove a cancer from a gentleman’s groin. We were allowed to feel the lump before the surgery began and encouraged to get closer so we could see everything.

I found it odd that the thing I winced at was when they stapled the gowns to his skin in order to keep them still. When they started cutting into his groin, through the skin, fat and fascia’s I didn’t wince at all. Strange.

It was absolutely incredible to see them going through the layers of this mans upper leg, suturing the great saphenous vein so delicately, carefully locating the femoral artery. The majority of time was taken up by getting to the cancer, but once there, it took relatively little time to remove it.

The tissue they removed was about the size of a saucer and dense too. Once gone you could see all the structures and boundaries of the femoral triangle so clearly and watching the femoral artery pulsating away in a huge open wound was very surreal.

It didn’t take long for them to insert drains and then close-up, being plastic surgeons, they used dissolving stitches and made a massive cut look intricate and very neat.

All too soon the day was finished and though the time had flown by, once I started to move I realised that my legs were aching- A LOT and my stomach was rumbling. Food, coffee and a tube journey home with a huge smile on my face.

Having heard horror stories of how some surgeons try to embarrass students I was so pleased at how lovely they were. All members of the team were great and so gentle with the patients. One of my favourite parts was watching the patient come round and seeing the staff react to that.

The NHS really is amazing. Some truly caring people. I would be honored to be a part of that.

The day was a very good motivator for the four weeks of revision that lie ahead.

When I got home to my kids they were desperate to hear all about my day, it didn’t take them long to ask “can you practice operations on us now mummy?”

………………….It wouldn’t be so wrong would it?

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