Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Long Day of Surgery

Well, another surgery day is at an end. I was first-assist for a cholecystectomy and a thoracotomy plus decortication. The cholecystectomy was fine, went about as expected - and I sutured up two of the short incisions and they looked quite nice. The thoracotomy is where it starts getting interesting - it was on this 22 year old obese autistic individual, very obese. We had to go through 4 or 5 inches of fat to get to his ribcage where we had previously inserted a chest tube to drain pleural effusion. The guy had a really bad pneumonia infection and it had caused empyema, so we needed to go in, break a rib, spread his rib cage a bit, and detach as much of the pus-covered fibrinous exudate as we could - it was really remarkable how much there was. Imagine peeling really glued on labels off a glass beer bottle, except instead of glass it's lung tissue and the label is dense clotted blood, pus, exudate, and fibrin material. It took a total of 2 hours to do the surgery.

After that I observed a cholecystectomy, but this was kind of an odd case because the woman had a standalone piece of liver, about 2 inches by 1 inch by 0.5 inches, living by itself on her gallbladder. It was really weird, it had it's own blood supply and everything. At any rate, same procedure took place - removed the gallbladder along with that tiny chunk of free-living liver, and stitched the woman up. She took a half hour to come out of anesthesia and even then she was too weak to do much so they decided to intubate and let her sleep and recover overnight.

In other news, my car needed to be repaired, battery/alternator trouble and the cost is gonna be about $2,000 - really painful to think about. At least I have loan money for this sort of thing - unfortunately they still haven't disbursed the majority of my loan money because there is some problem with my stafford loans over at the main university headquarters on the east coast and they are waiting to hear back from them. If I don't hear anything tomorrow, I'll bug them again.

Also, I contacted an infectious disease specialist who works with AIDS patients and he told me to email him so we could set up the rotation - I haven't heard back yet, but hopefully tonight or tomorrow he will respond and I'll know if/when my infectious disease rotation will be. I'd really like to do that, we shall see.

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