Eight hours standing in a single spot, how do surgeons do it? I’m hoping my endurance will build, especially knowing that some of the procedures I’m going to see in the next few weeks such as the “Whipple” or pancreaticoduodenectomy may take twice as long.
The good news is that I have lucked into working with great people – the misbehavior of surgeons is greatly exaggerated – and have learned lots of interesting things. The coolest yet was running the camera on a laparoscopic or “keyhole” surgery – it looked something like this.
Although what we did was more complicated (and harder to reach) it was both physically and mentally challenging. Basically, you are operating a camera in a 3 dimensional space, and the hand movements that will direct the position of the camera are reversed (usually). It’s a little bit like flying a plane, meanwhile, you’re standing for hours in a single spot, unable to lean on anything, maintaining a sterile field, and trying to track the position of the surgeon based on the movements of the instruments and a fair amount of mind-reading. It goes from exciting, to grueling pretty rapidly. Meanwhile the attending is standing in the same spot, running everything, not even bitching at me when I end up off target, perfectly content, like a stone wall, while my feet are killing me. How do they do it?