724 Cahill/Dawson Surgery – Monday, 4-4-22
Today was the first day of surgery! The closest I’ve ever been to an OR was the Labor and Delivery for my own three children, so while I was excited about surgery today, but had no idea what to expect. And I had no idea what would strike me as important or impressive.
But it hit me like a truck this morning: TEAMWORK.
We got to the hospital pretty early. Since I don’t have a medical role, I felt a little lost. I was told to put on scrubs, so I did. I was told to head to pre-op, so I did. I was ahead of the patients, dressed and ready to go, with nothing to do. So, nervously, I wandered and watched. What did I see? A flurry! People were on a mission: organizing, preparing, asking questions, and figuring things out. There was seamlessness that I wouldn’t have expected, considering these people were from a dozen different places: every corner of Guatemala, Houston, Minneapolis, Georgia, Alabama, Scotland… BUT, as I quickly realized, they each knew their role, their mission; and even though they didn’t yet know each other (or sometimes the language of their co-worker), there was a common understanding of how the day would go and an even more impressive knowing that it might not go as planned.
I heard a lot of:
“So, how should we do this?”
“Got it. I can do it that way.”
“Oh, ok. So this is what we’ll do instead!”
“Sure, that works for me if it works for you..”
“It is what it is, and we’ll make it work.”
“Ok, hmmm, yep, we can figure this out.”
“We got this!”
It was positive and constructive, and everyone was working AS A TEAM. And it didn’t just stop there. As the day unfolded, I got called from place to place, translating as needed, or sometimes running an errand or finding someone or something. I started to feel a part of the team, too, little by little.
I realized I had a unique perspective by the end of the day. Since I didn’t have a defined role, I floated about and tended to follow each patient from pre-op to the OR, to PACU (or as I learned today: Post Anesthesia Care Unit), and then to what I learned was called “La Sala”, or where these patients would spend the night. I learned their names, often prayed with them and Dillon, chatted about medications and anesthesia with the doctor, and stood outside their OR, watching through the window or even sneaking in for a closer view. Then they’d be wheeled off to post-operative care. I would have the privilege of being there to help wake them up by name, ask about their pain levels, and then inevitably be showered with the unbelievably gracious “Thanks you’s” that I didn’t have a choice but to accept on behalf of the people around me doing all the work. It was an assembly line, in the best sense of the phrase. Each person was passed from station to station, but I witnessed a communication flow and chain of care that seemed hugely important to me in terms of the patient’s experience. It’s called teamwork. And it worked today.