Under The Surgeon’s Knife

12.15pm , 31st December 2014. I remember this day as though it were yesterday. This is the day that I went under the surgeon’s knife to have my forearm repaired. I had fallen off from a bicycle the previous week and had a distal radio ulnar fracture. It was a complete fracture as detailed by the X ray photograph. I had just finished anatomy and little did I know that such occurrence would ever happen to me. I mean, how can a doctor get sick?

The anesthesiologist had already arrived and examined my forearm. He gave me a reassurance that all will be well as he grinned away. He was rather short , had a calm but steady voice. He had that picture of a typical  doctor, taking charge despite external forces that tend to crush you. I trusted him. The surgeons came minutes later and told me to get ready. They were three in number. One was known to me very well, we go to the same church. The others were equally friendly. This is marvelous.

We chatted a bit of anatomy as the doctors prepared me for the surgery. My right hand was edematous and so finding a vein for anesthesia was like finding a pin in a stack of hay. After several minutes a vein was spotted several miles away from the hand, about five or so centimeters above the radial styloid. The doctor almost shouted ‘Eureka!’ but from the looks, he was happy. A cannula was inserted in both the right and left hands. The left one was for antibiotics and the right for anesthesia. The anesthesiologist told me that they would do a nerve block and so I would be able to witness the surgery. This is scary!

The surgeons opted for a bloodless surgery to counter for the need of blood transfusion. That means that all blood had to be squeezed away from the arm to the central system and then prevented from back flow by a curf. The area to be operated on was properly cleaned and off they went. I felt the coldness of a knife passing though my skin, deep to the flexor carpi radialis longus and then into the bone. This reminded me of Eugene, our cadaver.He was well built and had beautiful muscles, we never missed anything as far as muscles were concerned. Long live Eugene!

Thirty minutes, into the surgery, the surgeons were battling to fix the bones with plates in a near perfect morphology. One of them even kneeled to see through that the bones were in perfect alignment. I saw the median nerve a distance away and the glistening tendons of many muscles that crossed the forearm to move the hand and the digits. It was amazing! by this time I was already tired, I requested the anesthesiologist to have me sleep as they turned to the other bone now , the radius. Remember both bones were broken.

When I woke up, I found myself back in the ward, in excruciating pain , hallucinated. Around me were people of similar injuries. The surgery was done. The surgeons did their best and God was with us. I was challenged by the events, I learnt that it pays to be good in whatever you do. I hope one day I will make a good doctor, just like the ones who treated me. No matter what, dreams will take me there.

Author: Dr. Kiaye Oliver

I am a dreamer. I love medicine. She is generous. I am also in love with literature, she makes me see the world the way I want to and sometimes the way it is.

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