Hanging out in the O.R.

The doctors hard at work. They let me bring my camera in.

Since my first day observing at the hospital, when I didn’t feel too well, I have spent a lot of time in the operating room. In the past week I have been pleasantly surprised with my level of endurance. I’ve observed several operations and it’s been a fascinating experience. As I have said before, the doctors are extremely gifted at what they do and they are so incredibly caring and gentle. I have been so interested in the operations and learning how it’s all done because I really want to have a better understanding of what the patients go through.

I’m learning more and more that it’s a whole process. When you see a little scar on a child’s leg, or the marks left from stitches, it might not seem like a very big deal, but that little scar has a big story to tell and the surgery that is behind it impacts their lives in an important way. Just the lead up to their surgery is a journey. Everything from living with their disability, to finding out they can get treated, to coming to the hospital, to dealing with the fear of the unknown, to seeing other children coming out of the O.R. with casts and bandages takes its toll. Then comes the moment when it’s their turn.

One of the operations I sat in on was on a boy whose tendons in his leg were constricted, which limited his mobility. I couldn’t describe the procedure in medical terms, but first he was put to sleep and then the doctors made incisions in 3 different parts of the leg. They cut a part of the tendon and moved it to another section of the leg and then sewed it in. Seeing the cutting and stitching actually take place is certainly different than just seeing the before and after. I feel like, in some ways, it helps me have a greater empathy for the child. Obviously I can’t be there for every surgery and I have empathy for the children regardless, but seeing everything they go through on their way to healing helps me have a better perspective, and a better understanding.

One of the best parts about hanging out in the O.R. is spending time with the doctors and nurses, and getting to know them in the time between the operations. They are really great people, and gracious with me as I practice my very minimal French. It’s amazing how much you can communicate with improvised  sign-language!

I know it's blurry, but we were laughing too hard to get it right!

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16 Responses to Hanging out in the O.R.

  1. Tamira says:

    Great description of the process and your learning process. I am sooooooo proud of you . I’m sure it will help you figure out ways to help the kids in their emotional healing if you understand more about what they go through .

  2. Liz Kopp says:

    WOW! Julz! What an incredible opportunity and description of your day in O.R.!

  3. Julie, you are amazing and I love everything that you are writing about. Cure and all the staff sound amazing. Makes me happy to hear about all the good caring people and the great work everyone is doing. Miss you!

  4. Glau Vermue says:

    The Sign Language part was very good!!!!! 🙂 Congratulations for you guys and many blessings, Glau

  5. Sarah Owen, mother of Melody, Saliima, and Yasmiin from the Old City says:

    Very interesting – God bless you there!

  6. Sarah Owen, mother of Melody, Saliima, and Yasmiin from the Old City says:

    Enjoyed reading that – Sarah

    • Thank you! I hope you and your family are doing well!

      • Sarah Owen, mother of Melody, Saliima, and Yasmiin from the Old City says:

        Thanks! Yas teaches dance in a public high school full-time and coaches cheerleaders, (8th year), then comes home to her 2 year old daughter and husband of 6 years, Sal lives near her, and is finishing her BA in Dance and recovering from Lyme’s disease (from a tick) – it slows her down somewhat. Mel has her 2 boys, 3 and 5, with her husband of 11 years in NYC. My parents are both 89 and live next door to my apartment complex in a retirement community. I am here for them. Everyone’s doing pretty well, but Sal needs prayer for healing. She also has auto accident injuries in her back and right side that hurt from 10 years ago. Please keep her in your prayers, that she can overcome her pains and keep going. I have a photo of you and Sal and Yas holding kittens once when you came over to visit our home, long ago. I’m glad you all knew each other then!

  7. Danny Kopp says:

    Oh my gosh, Julz. Can you imagine, if ten years ago, you had a look into the future and saw this scene of yourself in a hospital in Niger – would you have believed it? And yet you’re clearly right where you’re supposed to be. How awesome…

    • I know, it’s amazing! Would you have thought, 10 years ago, that you’d be taking a trip to Niger with your whole family to visit your dear sister and brother-in-law?! (I KNOW you’re working on finding those tickets!!)

  8. Danny Kopp says:

    Actually, I just got an email notifying me that me frequent flyer miles I so diligently collected while living in DC will expire due to inactivity if I don’t use them soon. I wonder where I could travel to…

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