Thursday, April 19, 2007

30 posts in 30 days, day 16: eskimo

Even though I did embark on this "30 posts in 30 days" thing partially (as one reader noted) as a way of doing penance, I have to say that it really is great for breaking down any barriers one might have about posting regularly. Now I realize that what I put up there doesn't have to be profound, or long, or even good. It just has to be there. Though there are some limits to that, I imagine. I probably shouldn't continue my stream (as it were) of urine-themed posts, for example.

The first thing my patients usually remark upon when we bring them into the OR is how cold it is in there. And it is. Very, very cold. I used to wear one of those warm-up jackets, but stopped, because it wasn't possible for me to wash it every day and I figured it was just a giant fomite, soaking up urine and blood and remnants of Code Brown. Disgusting.

The reason the ORs are so cold is for benefit of the people scrubbed, who are basically wearing the equivalent of blue plastic garbage bags under hot lights for hours at a time. However, for the rest of us ungowned, patient included, it is torture. I've seen circulators under a full mound of blankets with only their faces poking out, lips blue. Med students sometimes light small fires in the corner and huddle together for warmth. If I am at a comfortable temperature, I can guarantee that my scrub tech and surgeons are sweating. So we keep it cold.

But the thermostat is right next to my anesthesia cart. This to me is like a particularly sadistic form of torture. Look, but don't touch! It's like Tantalus.