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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dramatic Surgeons

We all have funny anecdotes dotting our past lives
in many of my earlier posts I have narrated some where I have been the protaganist
Today  let me dwelve upon some  which happened when I was studying in medical college .( ages back )  ( kilpauk Medical College Chennai )

To begin with  I remember with fondness one of our surgical chiefs who I would term politely to be a trifle on the larger side with a roomy middle ,
he was a good showman and  in the large outpatient clinics we had ,he always had a flexible plastic knee hammer with a knob on one side and his habit was to twiddle the rod end ( soft ) on the patients tummy as the patient  lay in the centre of the whole crowd of students ,
As he continued to twiddle the patient would wriggle getting tickled ,suddenly our boss would take the rod and it would go straight into his mouth  as he absent mindedly  chewed on it with the stunned patient  looking speechless at this culinary preference of the physician and we all would  try to supress our giggles .

Once he dramatically asked a pateint during rounds
" Are you passing gas ?  "
The patient replied meekly
 "yas saar little little  "( Konjam Konjam in Tamil )
 "konjam konjam   ! what else do you expect you  want  to have a storm or what with lightening  and thunder " was his reply !
 ( pinna enna puyala adikkum ? ) .

He used to sit in a chair surrounded by all of us standing around trying to catch what he said and he had the habit of swinging his chair slowly backwards and one fine day he went all the way back and was rescued by two juniors just before he hit the floor
 The two juniors was at the wrath from  many of us for that untimely rescue !

There was another famous surgeon whose feats in the operation theatre were  woven into ballads ! like Keralas vadakkan pattus
this man was a no nonsense person
he was perfect in what he did and was an excellent surgeon
But he  made spines shudder when he was angry .

I remember him particularly well  in my final year exam clinicals
 One had to had to identify  gross pathology specimens  and  this part of the exam was called spotters .

The sight of the big man himselves  sitting unglaring in front of a floating tissue in glass would unerve anyone particulary a meek exam candiadte like me but that day I was brimming  with confidence as I knew what the specimen  was and was all ago to go at it and so I went on describing to him all about the testicular seminoma specimen  ( a testicular tumour ) which I thought was what the specimen was all about ,

Dr V ......made an interested listener nodding and even smiling at me benignly and prodding me on
I started imaging I was so good that he was seriously  considering to offer me  a surgical residency once i passed .
At the end of it  he brought me down to earth with a thud

" nice my dear fellow you know  a lot about the testicle and its seminoma but for your information this is a thyroid !!!! and not a testes !!!  "

Of course I got through that year but no surgical residency ever came my way !

The very same surgeon  is known to have been called recurrently by another famous surgeon who was known for his  teaching skills and also known for his poor operating skills whenever he got into catostrophies !
It was during my third year  we were all eagerly standing around with masked faces trying to peep into an operative field as the great man cut and snipped .
In the pecking order the third years were infants nay neonatals ,
The operation  theatre of   a teaching medical college is rigidly caste ridden !

In the front there were  the great chiefs who were like kings and emperors
The Assistant  profesors who were the only people who could contradict or converse with the king   in a somewhat equal term came second in heirachy.
There were  the post graduates whose only intent was to get maximum experience and learn and get into the good books of the kings and the Assistants
Then came the interns  or house surgeons who were always exhausted by thier continious work schedules They were bent on finishing thier jobs and going back to the  hostel  for a smoke or whatever they did for thier relaxation .
There were the Final year students  who had that studious exam  look carved into thier serious faces
 The  fourth years came next they  alternatively admired thier seniors while scorning thier juniors .

Of course we had the Anaesthetists who  were operating room creatures and kept  straying  in and out occasionaly playing with thier machines or  twiddling with  BP cuffs while cracking jokes with the surgeons and Assistants depending on thier intimacy levels with the kings
These men and women lived thier lives in the operation theatres rarely meeting thier pateints when awake !but were true professionals excellent in thier strenous jobs

There were also  homely  matrons who ruled  the operating room region with iron hands and even ticked off the kings for misdemenours at times !

There were  nurses who scampered around expect the big ones who assisted the emperors with sure confidence coming out of experience over the years
Each surgeon had his special team of nurses and Assistants .

We the third years amongst all this activity  were literally the outcastes banished to the outermost periphery pushed and jostled by the crowd .
we were literally non entities

Finding our what was happening in such a place was mostly by imagination and by auditory.more than visual inputs .
The clip and snip of a scissor or the slide of a scalpel  would let us know that the operation was well on its way .

In this dramatic scenario one of my classmates ,I  would just call him K ( by now he should some professor or director of some institute somewhere so why offend   by naming him  !  ).

K had a clever idea to view the proceedings that day .
He pulled a stool left by a wandering anesthetist and climbed  on it towering above all of us and with a wide grin from this lofty perch watched the proceedings with an aerial view bending down into the operative field itself  !
All went fine till the moment his spectacles sprung from its perk on his sweaty nose and dropped  plonk into the open abdomen of the poor patient .
All hell broke loose
V....stopped what he was doing and looked up aghast
all of us looked shocked and speechless
Then as a closing ceremony came a dark hand again sweaty and damp shooting  into the patient and retrieving the  lost property !!

You guessed it
it was the hand of K !

V ....went into apoplexy
Iam sure he broke an artery or two that day
an operative field is a highly sterile area and we third years too knew that but dont know what made K do what he did !

V yelled
he asphyxiated
he went into an apoplexy
his eyes were red and his face was purple with rage
 "kick him out kick him out I  dont want this fellow to ever come 100 metres near a theatre ! ever again  "
and then he yelled at the nurses
  "come on get the saline and irrigate the field fast fast "
 to undo the crime !

There was yet another surgeon who was known for his absent mindedness
Tales were told of how he left a newly married wife in the market in the city she never knew as he went pillion riding with a friend he met offhand later remembering to retrieve the crying wife after many hours .

This absent minded surgeon was also known for his hot temper and his anger was legendary .
Once  he forgot to wear the  pants portion of his surgical scrubs and just wore his shirt which to a certain extent covered his family jewels as he was very short .
As ususal he climbed on a stool ( he always needed a stool )  to start his surgery with this sexy outfit and hairy thighs
 that day there were lot of suppresed giggles but none dared to mention to the emeperor that he had  no clothes till the time a lady gynecology chief who was known to have a  fond eye on this surgeon came and started laughing  pointing to his middles  letting the cat out of the bag !

What after all   is life with no fun!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Feather in the Air

when loved ones disappear with no warning
the days ahead are filled with mourning
to all of us parting and losing are sad
and to never see the person again is really bad .

To each one of us the departed soul is different
to one he or she is the lover to some the loving parent
to many the person  is a dear friend
to some he or she could be just indifferent

all of us have to say one day goodbye
that after all is the rule dont ask me why
but still when people leave us  and go
we do feel the knawing vacum that  is again so

to me my Unnietan was not only an elder  brother (in law )
he was a friend I could and did  bother
how can a person so alive and kicking one day
becomes just an image and disappear like   a faded ray

Time alone can  let  lingering grief s settle
Time can make us forget the little rememebrances  which knell
with time and more time  persons and souls do disappear
And the  fond memories fly away like feathers realeased into thin air .......

( Unnietas 16th day rites are tomorrow )

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