Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ooooh that smell

"Ooooh that smell
Can't you smell that smell
"

[Apologies to Lynyrd Skynyrd, lyrics ]

Every now and then a patient in the operating room will loose control of his/her bowels. It has happened to a couple of my patients over the years. Two very memorable times. (photo credit and article on the science of smell)

One was a liposuction patient in a prone jack-knife position. We were working on her lateral and upper posterior thighs. My scrub tech was marvelous! She simply helped me clean the patient up while protecting our instruments and open incisions (granted small ones, but open none the less). Our circulating nurse then reprepped the patient. We re-draped, marshaled on and finished the procedure. The patient did great--no problems. I never even told the patient about the event (why embarrass her?).

The second one involved a procedure above the hip bones and was in a supine position. The patient had been allowed to leave her cotton underpants on for modesty. At the end of the case, as we were preparing to move the patient the smell hit our noses. We were an all woman crew. Each worked together. A new scrub tech (being oriented) and I got the job of removing the soiled underpants without getting much on her legs and removing the soiled sheets. The circulating nurse and main scrub tech both grabbed lap sponges with Techni-Care and saline. They treated the woman as if she was one of their grandbabies. Such tender care! All we needed was talcum powder. Bless them! We took the patient to recovery clean and on clean sheets. I had to tell this patient's friend why she would be going home with no underwear.

I write this to praise these women that I have the privilege to work with. No one tried to shirk the work that needed to be done. No one made fun of the patient or situation.

These women with whom I get to work

ARE Marvelous!

(Billy Crystal as Fernando Lamas accent)

2 comments:

Chrysalis Angel said...

Now that's enough right there, to keep me out of the O.R. for the rest of my life! I would have just wanted to die!

scalpel said...

Heh, I had a post with the same title last year.

This is a different story though: I was placing a femoral central line in an intubated crashing GI bleeder in the ICU. I had just threaded the wire into the vein and removed the needle when suddenly blood came rising up from below the drape, overflowing my field and covering the groin. For a split second I thought I had ruptured an artery or something, then I realized it was bloody stool. Lots of it.