We do not always mean what we say…
To the anaesthetic team
“I think they moved/coughed”
They most definitely did move or cough.
“Are they relaxed?”
They are not relaxed
“We still have to close, are they relaxed?”
Right, I’ve been at this for 4 hours and now, in the final five minutes, you have let the paralysis wear off. You’ve had your lunch and several coffees and you’ve spent all day texting and emailing someone (fucking theatre bloody wifi) so you WILL paralyse them so I can finish and I don’t care that you will then be stuck here for 20 minutes until you can wake them up again.
“Is it possible that they aren’t fully relaxed yet”
I saw you pretend to paralyse them, that wasn’t sux, that was saline.
“This is a bit more difficult than we thought”
This has the potential to turn into a total disaster and some lack of foresight on my part is now quite clear to me, which is doubly disappointing.
“We have got rather a lot of bleeding here at our end”
There is a massive black pool of blood that is sucking at our sleeves and seems unstoppable. You should prepare yourself for some drama.
“Would you please be so kind as to fill in the frozen section request path form/intraoperative cholangiogram request”
My registrar should have done this and she hasn’t. She knows this is a terrible and shameful error. I won’t look at her, you look at her for me and then sigh. She will then know that she is a disgrace and we are aware of her incompetence.
“We will be done in 40 minutes”
An hour and a half.
“We are nearly done”
We have reached half way.
“It’s absolutely imperative that we get into emergency theatre next”
I want to go home before midnight, fuck the urologists and their stents.
“The anastomosis was perfect, they leaked because they had a low blood pressure”
From your completely unnecessary epidural.
“Yes, I think we have a sample, certainly they should have been grouped and saved”
I have no idea if they have been or not but we both know they should have been, in 3 minutes I’ll be scrubbed and sterile, so I’m not going to check. You can do it.
“As far as I am aware of, no, I don’t think that they are on anticoagulants”
I have no idea if they are or not and I don’t massively care because they need an operation right now for their dead/perforated guts.
“It will only take me an hour”
It will take an hour to do the bit I consider most difficult. Total operating time is about 2 hours.
To the scrub nurse
“The usual stitch I use here”
I don’t remember what I use here, give me what someone else uses here.
“I did give you back the swab from inside”
Not sure. I want to carry on closing.
“Yes I will need more wash”
Don’t roll your eyes at me, go and get the wash
“These needle holders are unusable”
I am stressed and want something nice to hold
“This is broken, send it back”
I have broken this.
“This wash is too cold”
For fuck sake, can’t you give me warm saline
“Can I have a bit of quiet please in theatre just now”
Shut up, this is hard.
To your assistant
“Can you pull a bit harder please?”
You puny little shit. I held onto a Lloyd Davies for 7 hours once. 7 hours!!!
“Whoa! Watch the spleen. Your hands are a bit too rough”
They are like shovels, you useless lump. You should be a bricklayer.
“Did you tie that properly. That is the IMA, are you sure you tied it right?”
I’ll kill you if they bleed post op. I will exsanguinate you, slowly
“are you ok to close?”
I’ve had enough.
“Show me that properly and nicely”
You have no idea what I am doing here.
“What’s that big vein there?”
If you answer this correctly you can take over. If you don’t know then you will only be closing the skin.