Saturday, May 30, 2009

Now we know who kept Sears & Craftsman in business

I remember when I was in nursing school and it was my patient I was assigned to who was scheduled for surgery. I was LESS THAN excited about this. . . actually I tried to get out of going with her. I volunteered to take someone else's patients and let someone else go to the OR and observe. But with everything I tried, my instructor didn't buy it. I had to go. I HATED IT!!!

My patient was an 83 yr old lady who had fallen and broken her hip the day before. She was confused due to dementia and had to lay in the bed for over 8 hours before she could have surgery to fix her hip.

I had not been through the OR part of our classes yet. I knew NOTHING about what I was getting into. I was actually "scheduled" a few weeks later to do an "observation" in the OR and a day before that scheduled time I would learn all the ins and outs about the OR so I would actually know what to expect or what I should/could do and should/could not do.

So I get to the OR with this patient who had broken her hip and the OR staff ask me to help position her on the table. So I do. I noticed all the tables full of equipment and all the blue sheets. I was so "green", I had no idea there was a section of the room that was sterile and other sections of the room that was not necessarily sterile. One of the nurses asked me to help her with her sterile gown. She walked me through how to properly grab the velcro and ties without breaking the sterile field. Then . . .in walks the surgeon. He also asked me to help him with his sterile gown. I was so nervous!!! They had told him I was a student and was observing so he was well aware I was there. I did as he asked and helped him, then moved out of his way. That is when I decided I didn't like him very much. He pretty much yelled at me for walking toward the "sterile" tables. There were so many people in the room at that time, I was having a hard time finding a place. So I was just moving out of the way. I was several feet away from the table and there was NO chance of me even touching it.

The circulator was nice enough to tell me where to stand so I could see and still be out of the way. This surgery totally grossed me out!!! It looked like the surgeon had gone into his garage and brought all his "Craftsman" tools to the OR.
They sedated this lady and laid her on her side, then put her leg up on foam type positioning devises that held it in place. They draped it and cleaned it . . then the noise started. All I really remember after that is the drilling and hammering. I can't believe anyone recovers so well from a hip replacement. The pain has to be absolutely terrible, especially after seeing the drilling and hammering.

The video below is an advertisement for a live webcast of a surgery. It is the video that I found that shows the equipment the best. I wanted you to have the visual that I had during this surgery. Pay close attention to the drilling and hammering. . . . if you have a weak stomach you might want to bypass the video and just take my word for it!

Now remember the purpose of the video is to show the hammering and drilling. This is not exactly the method I observed that day. They actually had a drill with a really long drill bit on it, kinda like what you see in horror movies. They totally removed the head of the femur and drilled down into the middle of the femur. Then hammered in the joint hardware. Once completed it looks something like this picture to the left.

The picture to the right is very similar to the hardware that was placed in this ladies hip.

The entire surgery lasted maybe 2 hours. I was amazed at how the body can hold up for a surgery such as this and how well the good bones can hold up with all the trauma they go through during this surgery.

I admire anyone who goes through this and makes it out on the other side and still has the ability to go about everyday life virtually uneffected.

I also learned that I DO NOT want to be a surgical nurse!!!



  1. OH MY GOSH!!!!! I hope I never have to have this surgery! somebody save me from falling down the stairs and Osteoporosis!
    Thanks for the education! I love this! Let's me rethink how I will use my tools in my woodwork shop . . . remembering the fate of having bodyparts replaced with hardware from a Home Improvement store!
    Great Post!

  2. You know I actually thought about being a surgical nurse but I'm very fidgety and I'd probably contaminate all the sterile fields as well as tripping on something and breaking it. I still think surgery is pretty amazing but like you, I don't think its for me...

  3. Maha - I have another OR experience I will be writing about sometime in the near future that went much better than this one. I LOVED it!! I can't be an OR nurse because I don't think I could stand still for that long, but OH HOW I LOVE TO WATCH!!! The only problem is they don't pay for that . . . bummer!

    Pastor Sharon - Just a suggestion. . . Calcium, lots of calcium and vitamin D. Build those bones and tread lightly on those stairs! Also, just in case. . you might want to watch for those BOGO sales at the local home improvement store.
    Just saying. . .

  4. Ugh..I'm with Sharon... no hip surgeries please...