priorities

Saturday, March 08, 2008

i work as a surgery tech in a facility where research is conducted using animal models.&nbsp_place_holder; i play a fairly important role in any surgical procedure we do.&nbsp_place_holder; during such procedures, there is generally a surgeon/vet, sterile assistant, anesthetist and sometimes a circulator (someone in a nonsterile roll who helps facilitate the procedure).&nbsp_place_holder; oftentimes, i will be assuming one of these rolls, but also covering for someone who, in theory, is perfoming one of the other roles.&nbsp_place_holder; yesterday, i was preparing a pig for surgery.&nbsp_place_holder; in the OR were four people, me, another tech (20+ years experience) and two lab animal veterinarians (one of whom is our lab chief).&nbsp_place_holder; not only did i have to lift a 70-pound anesthetized pig onto the OR bed by myself, but the pig started to wake up.&nbsp_place_holder; none of the things that should have been ready were, so i had to struggle with the waking pig while administering intravenous drugs and attaching multiple items of monitoring equipment. &nbsp_place_holder; all this time, the other tech and vets were freaking out over the screen of the anesthesia machine.&nbsp_place_holder; not the anesthesia machine my pig was attached to, no.&nbsp_place_holder; there was another machine in the room (literally two feet away from the one i was using) that we have used once, yes ONCE in the two years we have been using the room.&nbsp_place_holder; apparently someone had sprayed cleaning solution on the screen and not wiped it off afterward, so it streaked.&nbsp_place_holder; the tech and vets were asking, in a quite panicked manner, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS SCREEN?”&nbsp_place_holder; all the while, i was wrestling with a distressed pig.&nbsp_place_holder; they were literally oblivious.&nbsp_place_holder; i explained that someone sprayed cleaning solution on it and then didn’t wipe it off, but that didn’t really seem to sink in.&nbsp_place_holder; actually, the tech said, “whoever did that shouldn’t be using that type of solution on this touch screen.”&nbsp_place_holder; still wrestling the pig (while they are still, honest to god, oblivious) i say (in an irritated voice), “it’s not a touch screen, and it’s perfectly fine for whoever cleaned it to use XYZ solution. they should have, however, wiped it down afterward.”&nbsp_place_holder; under my breath i said, “so the tech of 20+ years and two laboratory animal veternarians would not be so distraught and confused and completely distracted from the fact that i alone am dealing with an ANIMAL’S LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY.&nbsp_place_holder; by myself, i was able to get the pig appropriately anesthetized and hooked up to all the necessary monitoring equipment.&nbsp_place_holder; immediately thereafter, i grabbed a paper towel and sprayed a little windex on it.&nbsp_place_holder; i wiped the anesthesia screen clean and clear and said to the tech and vets, "does this make you happy?”&nbsp_place_holder; response (and i am NOT kidding), “oh great.&nbsp_place_holder; is the dog on the table yet?”&nbsp_place_holder; priorities. &nbsp_place_holder;