Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stop and get off of the roller coaster

So what is the deal! I have been going to school for 3 months and I can't stop thinking about even though I am done with the semester. I swear it feel a little anxious. I worry and think about things I should be doing, even though I have no homework or books to read. Its like I just CAN'T sit still. My mind is a buzz about about care plans, patients and medical terminology. When I do sit for a moment, it just doesn't feel right. I am paranoid that I missing something, something that I forgot to do like oh crap, was I supposed to watch a technique video or whatnot. It is super annoying.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

FemPop Day

My mind is still buzzing thinking about the awesome day that I had yesterday! Our nursing instructors arranged for us to go down to the OR and see what is going on. I got to witness a Femoral Popliteal Bypass Surgery standing a foot from the table! It was so cool.
For all of you that are not familiar with the human body, I've included a diagram of the leg. The femoral artery starts around your hip and the popliteal starts by your knee. We were sent down to the OR at 7:30 for some orientation and met a wonderful lady named Sharon! She was the best, it was clear that she loves what she does and loves to teach. She was a great help to all of us.
The 1st order of business...change into Surgical Scrubs...the green one like seen on TV and we had to put on one of those bonnet caps. We looked so professional!
2nd order of business...a tour of the place. We saw the in and out of the OR. I was amazed at the size difference in a regular OR room compared to that of a Cardiac OR room. Not only was there a huge size and equipment difference, but a huge difference in temperature as well. Brrr....they keep the Cardiac rooms chilly.
3rd order of business...what kind of surgeries were we all going to see? Out of the group of 6 students, I was the only one that was not hankering to see an Open Heart Surgery (I'd love to see one, but as my 1st experience, I didn't think I could handle that just yet). The other 5 students drew numbers and 2 of them got to get in on the open heart. I got the Fem-Pop.
Before entering the room in my fancy surgical scrubs, I had to wear a mask. There was no need to be gloved, since I was just in there for observation. I started out about 2 foot from the table and couldn't see much of what was going on. So after about 10 minutes, I grabbed a platform and scooted in closer so I could get a look a what was going on.
My eyes got all wide watching the 1st cut on the leg (which was right above the knee), it cut just like butter. Then he (the surgeon) used a large clamp like thingy and spread open the skin and boom he was inside the leg, look for the popliteal artery. I thought he wasn't ever going to get there, it looked as if his whole hand was inside of her leg digging around. There wasn't as much blood as I thought there would be.
After he found the artery, he snipped it and clamped it off. He did some repairs to it to try and free the blockage. He decided that he would need an artificial graft to re-route the artery.
Then he move up the leg to the groin and made an incision there as well. After snipping and clipping away, he made it to the artery. This artery I could actually see because the surgical students/interns heads weren't in my way...I must say it looked nothing like I had imagined it. It kind of looked like a rubber tube. When he snipped that one, blood was gushing out of it like a squirt gun...with every pulse it spurted up about 3 to 4 inches...then they clamped that off too. He went to work on clearing that artery as well. Once he was finished he went back down to the knee.
He attached a graft to the artery, which to me looked like a bendy straw...except the whole thing was like a the bendy part. It had like ridges in it, almost resembling a telephone cord too. He stitched it to the artery and then went back up to the groin with a long metal wand. The wand looked like those really long knife sharpening tools that chefs use in restaurants. He went in her groin and "tunneled" all of the way down to her knee (that was the only part that made my heart skip a beat). He then attached the already attached graft to the rod and pulled it up under the skin (actually under the adipose tissue and the muscle I believe) and then attached it to the other artery with stitches as well.
The nurse then brought over a Doppler and we listened for blood flow. It sounded like the whoosh whoosh of baby heart beat ultrasound, but WAY louder. Then the surgeon left, he left the student/intern close her up. She had 3 layers of inner stitches and then staples. At that point I had been standing on my little stool for 2.5 hours and I had to go to lunch...they were just starting to stitch up the upper leg when I left. I wish I could have seen the patient after recovery.
It was such a cool day! I am so glad I had to opportunity to see such a thing.