another one in the bank

after a few years of leading and assistant leading cell groups, one tends to become really good at icebreaking games. at my church, one of our favourites is “2 truths 1 lie”. the name of the game pretty much gives it away – each person has to come up with three statements about themselves, one of which is completely bullocks. it’s a great game, one that we’ve modified a few times in order to avoid wasting too much time, and it never fails to break the ice.

another favourite is for each person to tell the group something embarrassing that has happened to them. usually it’s a generic event like getting stagefright, or a slip of the tongue, or getting someone’s name wrong.

i have one story up my sleeve – the one about my legs falling asleep during the first day of secondary school, which caused me to almost topple over while i tried to get up when they called my name – but now i have another to add to my reserve of embarrassing stories.

i went to the hospital early on monday morning, bleary-eyed after the card fest that was the world cup final, all ready for a long day. i had a nice, full breakfast, 2 cups of coffee and a resolve to scrub in for surgery that day. i even managed to get all gowned- and gloved-up in a decent amount of time.

it was a repair of a recurrent hernia. the patient’s inguinal region was all messed up from 2 previous surgeries and there was alot of clearing and cauterising and clamping to be done. there were two house officers there so i was basically just taking up space, but at least i got to stand near enough to see what’s going on, hold the sucker(?) for the cautery fumes and do a bit of retracting. yay.

about an hour into the surgery, i started feeling woozy. nauseous. i swear i felt like i was either about to black out of puke right into the poor man’s abdominal cavity. i tried to snap out of it, but just as i was about to throw up my hands (oh look a bit of a pun!) and tell the surgeon i had to excuse myself, my lecturer walked into the room. with 3 of my colleagues.

i did not want to embarrass myself in front of them so i fought on a little longer…but in the end i had to admit defeat and step away from the operating table. immediately my legs felt like they were going to give way and i was grateful for the chair that the nurse offered me.

at my lecturer’s orders, i left the room, took off my mask and sat down to take deep breaths of the airconditioned theatre air. it was a relief, but i sure felt like an idiot.

my theory is that the cautery fumes got to me. if you’ve ever taken a whiff of those fumes, you’d have either thought “bar-be-que” or “oh-mai-gawd”. needless to say, i’ve always thought the latter about cautery fumes. the smell of burnt flesh is absolutely intoxicating in a bad way.

sigh. so embarrassing. gah. ah well at least it’s another story to tell.


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