Tuesday, March 23, 2010

After I had been working at the lab at the clinic in Tomahawk for less than a year, not one, but two of the local physicians turned in their resignation. It didn’t take long for it to become obvious that the lab certainly didn’t need two staff. The clinic in Rhinelander had a posting for a new position in the outpatient surgery department, and the lab manager there asked me if I might be interested in it.

Initially, the job was part-time for someone to monitor patients coming out of sedation following their procedures. It didn’t take me long to again wheedle myself into the position that I wanted, which was fulltime.

Oh, my goodness, the minor surgery that we performed. When I started there, we mostly did tubal ligations, D & C’s, vasectomies, and lots of cutting out of cysts and moles and toenails. Over time, though, we did a few hernia repairs, temporal artery biopsies, breast biopsies, deep, nasty laceration repairs. We even took out a few foreign bodies, such as a tooth that was embedded in a man’s hand when he hit the other guy.

We started out in a small, green-tiled room that was reminiscent of something from Marcus Welby. Eventually, though, as the clinic went from Rhinelander Medical Center to Rhinelander Regional Medical Group, a large addition was put on. Our little tiled room went to two surgical rooms, a four-bed recovery room, dirty utility room, clean utility room, office and locker room. One of the goals of the whole new suite was to bring in general anesthesia for the tubal ligations, which I sure saw as unnecessary as I had my tubal ligation in the old room in 1991 with a little IV sedation that knocked me completely out.

I worked in outpatient surgery for seven years, the longest time I had spent in any single job up to that point. I got along well with the nurses in charge, first Jeannette and then Marsha. I earned the respect of the surgeons and gynecologists who brought their patients to us. I laughed with some patients, particularly the men who talked way too much when they were sedated for their vasectomies. I cried with women who were getting D & C’s following a miscarriage. But as happens, things changed and it became time to move on.

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