Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cholecystectomy and a Solo Tuk-Tuk Adventure

**DISCLAIMER: While I do work in a medical field, I am not familiar with surgical terms. Please be understanding if my descriptions of things seem a bit simple because I don't know the actual name and that's all I can do to give you an idea of what things look like**

This week I have been in a surgery observation placement at Ghai Hopsital.  It is a very small hospital with a mere 40 beds, and when they do a surgery they call in a surgeon from Delhi.  There are only a few patients currently in the hospital: one being treated for pneumonia, one who came in yesterday for something I couldn't quite hear, one who is soon to be discharged, and one who is recovering from her Monday cholecystectomy.  Both yesterday and today proved very uneventful, and we spent the whole time there just sitting and talking since there was nothing to see or do. Monday, however, I felt silly for how excited I was.  I realize that gallbladder removal is not an exciting surgery, but it was only the second one I have ever seen (the first being that C-section) so I took it all in with a smile.  The surgery was laparoscopic, which means they went in with small tools and had everything magnified up on a TV screen rather than cutting the body open and leaving it exposed.  There were 4 main people: the anesthesiologist, the head surgeon, the surgical assistant, and another assistant who didnt understand enough English to give me his job title.  The body was punctured in 3 places so various instruments could be inserted.  The magnifier/light/camera went into one, then tubes where the tools could enter and exit were placed in the other ones.  The surgeon mainly used a claw-like tool to hold the gallbladder away as he worked, one tool for cauterizing, and one for cutting.  The surgeon had to hold the gallbladder away as he cut through membranes and cauterized small vessels in order to clear the way to reach the cystic duct and cystic artery.  He used a clamping tool to put these little metal clamps on the cystic artery close to the gallbladder, then more little clamps farther down closer to the aorta, before cutting between the 2 areas. He then did the same process to the cystic duct to free the gallbladder, and pulled it out through one of the holes with one of the tools.  It was so weird seeing this small organ just dragged out of a hole in a body.  The surgery was really cool to watch though because we could see everything up on the screen and had a good view no matter where we stood.  The surgeon was nice about telling us what he was doing and why every now and then, and also pointing out the different things in the body we could see in that cavity.

     To make the day even better, we walked down to the previously-discovered gym and got our first workout in! Yay treadmill! Membership is 1500 rupees a month for 2 people signing up together, so it came out to 750 rupees each (about $12.50).
     As if the surgery excitement wasnt enough, on Tuesday I went to Sector 15 market to meet up with Morgan to try and get bus tickets for a trip to Dharamsala. I opted to just pay a driver to take me straight there, figuring I could do the longer but cheaper way home. I got there no problem, discussed travel with Morgan, then decided to walk a little ways to a place where tuk-tuks usually stop in order to catch the first part of my trip home. The plan was simple, and one Sam and I usually do: get a tuk-tuk from Crown Plaza to Metro Mall, then one from Metro Mall to home. Easy peasy. Well, on my way to Crown Plaza, a tuk-tuk passed me. I couldnt believe my luck that I could save some walking. I told him Metro Mall, he said yes, then we were off. He ended up stopping for directions after a while, then took me to some giant mall called Mall of Manhattan that i had never been to before. I told him this wasnt it, so he tried to find more directions but it was clear he had no clue so I just decided to find another one. I was headed the wrong direction (I thought) so had to walk a little ways down the road in order to find a hole in the fenced median to then cross the road.  After battling terrifying traffic, I found a tuk-tuk on the other side who said he knew where Metro Mall was, and hopped in. In talking with the other passengers, the driver discovered that Metro Mall was actually in the opposite direction.... So I got out, crossed the road through traffic again, and found yet another tuk-tuk to take me to Metro Mall. I got there finally, and getting from Metro Mall to home was thankfully simple after that. Since the trip home took a ridiculous hour and a half, I missed my gym window :( It doesnt open until 5 and we have to go right at 5 in order to be back before dark.

Wednesday was much less eventful, with the only noteworthy event being the removal of the drainage tube from the recovering patient. And I went to the gym this evening.

 I guess I will finish out surgery this week and see what my next week holds! I keep being told I'm going back to gynecology but it hasnt happened in 2 weeks... Oh well.

Much love,

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