What happens in the OR after the patient goes to sleep

The meetings with readers are a constant source of enlightenment and inspiration. Each book is a multilayered work. Besides the obvious narrative, there are many better and not-so-well hidden thoughts and ideas. Just like in real life. The most uplifting comment I’ve heard from my reader was that each time she read the story, she found something new. Not many things could make me happier.

In my long interactions with the patients I didn’t hear, nor did I pay attention to the way how patients approach their incoming surgery. One of my readers asked, what’s going on in the OR after she goes to sleep. For me, it’s obvious; it’s my part of work. For them, it’s more personal. I believe some of them would like to put a hidden camera in the room and view it at their leisure, later on. Just like, some of them used to bring an old-fashioned tape recorder and with or without my consent record the sessions, some of them quite edgy. Doctors instinctively feel apprehensive and feel, that the first thing the patients do is to contact their lawyers.

On the meeting with readers in Briar Chapel after they read ‘Fathers and Sons’ this question was asked. I gave a general description in one of the chapters, but that wasn’t enough. So I decided to expand the chapter and publish it as a short story. And so ‘Allegro Tempestoso’ was born.

The title can be very loosely translated as a ‘Storm in the Operating Room.’ Actually, it could also be a story subtitle. And there is always a drama during these critical hours. Sometimes more, than participants would be willing to admit.

Imagine the following scenario.

The case is delayed because there was an emergency thoracotomy coming through the ER at three in the morning.

The scrub nurse had to deal with her sick child and find a babysitter since she could not send him to school.

The circulating nurse last night had an argument with her boyfriend, and the last thing she wants to do today is to come to work this morning and show her face to the co-workers.

The anesthesiologist’s wife has a breast cancer and did not tolerate her last course of chemo well.

The surgeon had a serious conversation with a Chief of Staff after somebody reported his abusive behavior in the incident in the ICU.

Now the patient is wheeled to the room with the physical and an emotional baggage he or she only knows.

The case starts. Initially, all goes right, but later on, the drama starts. The pharmacy is late with the important medication; the instruments requested well before surgery are not on the tray; the surgeon cuts an important artery and blames his scrub nurse for the mishap; and, after verbal sparring, wants her out of his room. The surgeon is irascible since he doesn’t think his wife is honest with him.

Sure, but we are all professionals, aren’t we?

Of course, we are. But we also have different stress tolerance levels. And different ways to show it. So there is a room for the drama. And a lot of it.

Here is the link to my story.

Allegro Tempestoso

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