|BVIS students all scrubbed up!|
1) Hip replacement
I was pretty intimidated going into my first surgery. With only a short tour of explanation, I was feeling a little shaky in my scrubs, booties, and hair net. All the surgeries I've seen were early in the morning, I get there around 7 am, because they are most likely to start on time. This day, I was there for the morning "pep talk." This pretty much consisted of a nurse yelling at everyone about losing things, breaking things, and doing things wrong. Whoa, people seriously lose medical stuff? And they apparently wind expensive robotic parts too tight and break them. The vibe was very negative, I was glad I was not the one being operated on with all of the negative energy around.
|Round grater instrument to make new hip socket.|
Once the surgery began, me on my tip toes on two stools to try to see over the surgeons, I could concentrate on drawing. Because of the bloodiness aspect, all the surgeons were wearing what a fellow student referred to as "hazmat suits." Basically they come in washed up with helmet looking things on and a giant hood/jacket with a clear face area is put over the helmet. They are good at not getting blood in your eye and also blocking me from seeing anything.
After the first cut, "gentleness" in treatment is thrown out the window. Shove your whole hand in, no problem. It's a difficult, bloody process, made even more exciting since a student is doing it. These students are basically me, full of academic knowledge, very nervous, and definitely not completely qualified to be doing this. Though I know they must learn someone, I would rather it not be my body in the first place. When hammering into the bone socket could lead to total bone shatter, I want someone doing it not for their first time.
In the end, my sketches were very rough. It was much more about getting to know the process versus making anything of quality. I slipped out during the closing process and went to decompress for a couple hours. It was a tough introduction to how the medical process truly works. I want to see a much more positive, healing approach taken. More respect given to the patient. But the bottom line is, the doctors and nurses are just there for another day of work. They chat about what they did last weekend, they play Pandora stations on the computer during surgery, and they gossip and fight amongst themselves. Not semi-gods, just average humans who happen to have the power to slice into other humans' bodies for medical purposes.
|Cutting open the hip.|
Number one take away: I'm glad I don't have a prostate. This surgery, a nurse actually introduced me to the people in the OR. I was much more comfortable and everyone was happier than in the hip replacement. It didn't take long for the male patient to be rolled in. It was 80% women in the room and I think that the patient was a bit embarrassed that we were all about to become acquainted with his penis, bladder, and prostate. The atmosphere was light and the patient was joking around, I felt much better about his treatment.
When the surgery began, I was sharing space with two medical students to get a good view. They were both very nice and pointed out different processes that were going on and why. The surgeon wasn't as nice. At least once a minute he would say, "This is the slowest nurse team I've ever had," in a way where it could maybe, possibly be a joke, but most likely he was just being an ass. It was uncomfortable the first time he said it, the other 30 times were just weird. Luckily, the nurses didn't let it bother them and everything went smoothly. I got much better sketches, feeling more comfortable with the process as well as having a better view.
|First incision to layer of fat.|
|Open area of surgery, shows retraction of skin and fat.|
3) Total knee replacement
The last surgery I saw was part of a total knee replacement. Because the knee is bent upwards for most of the surgery I had an amazing view, but it takes a long, long time to get things right. The person who makes/sells (I'm not sure which) the equipment introduced himself to me before the surgery and was the most excited about what I was doing. He had met other BVIS students before and liked them. Unlike other BVIS students, I never got much interest in my sketches or why I was doing them. That is fine with me because I didn't need any pressure to make works of art!
The process of a total knee replacement involves screwing in many pre-made metal guides that all precision cutting of the bone. This was not a measure twice, cut once process, there was a lot of recutting done. I don't think that's the normal situation, another surgeon had to scrub in mid-surgery to assist. I don't think anyone was doing a bad job, it was actually the pursuit of giving the patient the best possible knee. Every knee shape is different and they only have so many sizes of parts, things were lining up perfectly.
The room is kept cold during surgery, but this one was kept particularly freezing. Once they were going in to cut the same place for the 5th time, I was shivering and not getting any new drawings done. I decided to leave and let the surgeons have their space. My sketches had come a long way from the first surgery. I am looking forward to taking Surgical Illustration next semester. The class size will be smaller, so splitting up surgery time between 20 people will not be a problem. Also, I will know what surgery I will be going into view. This time, I didn't know until I got to the OR what I would see; it was just a fun surprise.
|Slicing off part of femur bone using a metal guide.|
|Retraction of knee (above); Drilling into femur (below)|