Playing Surgery Posted by yelena on Nov 8, 2011 in language
A couple of days ago I went on a tour of «операционные залы» [surgery rooms] at a local hospital. It was absolutely fascinating, mostly because I remember nothing of my own first-hand experience of being «на операционном столе» [on an operating table] when I had a surgery. Which, I guess, is really a good thing.
So first, we were shown into the pre-op area. In case you ever have to translate “pre-op area” to a Russian patient, it’s called «отделение больницы, проводящее предоперационную подготовку». That’s a mouthful! “Post-op” would then be «отделение больницы, проводящее послеоперационную терапию». In case you don’t want to memorize all this, the short-cut would be to call the former area «предоперационная палата» [a pre-op room] and the later – «послеоперационная палата» [a post-op room].
It’s in pre-op that «пациент подготавливается к операции» [patient gets ready for the surgery]. His «показатели жизнедеятельности» [vital signs] are taken, including «пульс» [pulse], «давление» [blood pressure], «степень насышения крови кислородом» [blood oxygen level]. Adult patients are also started on «капельница» [IV drip]. But that all happens after the patients are changed into funny-looking «халаты с завязочками на спине» [here: medical gowns with ties in the back].
Then a man or a woman of the hour appears. I’m not talking about «хирург» [surgeon]. «Я имею в виду анестезиолога» [I mean an anesthesiologist (appears)]. And you have a nice chat in the course of which the anesthesiologist figures out how to make sure you won’t remember a single thing about your procedure. After all the pre-op work is done, the patient is moved to the surgery on «каталка» [a gurney].
On a tour we visited 5 rooms set up for 5 different procedures. First up was «нейро-хирургический зал» [neuro surgery room] set up for removing «опухоль головного мозга» [a brain tumor]. Kids (I guess I should’ve mentioned, this was a tour for children) could even try to hold a drill that surgeons use to, well, drill through the skull bones.
All «хирургические инструменты» [surgical instruments] were laid out as they would for a real «операция» [surgery]. And we could touch all of them except, of course, for «скальпели» [scalpels]. We were explained that since «хирург» [surgeon] doesn’t look at the instruments, but instead calls for the ones he needs, his «ассистент» [assistant] must know and quickly recall the names of every single instrument in the surgery, including all the «ранорасширители» [retractors], «щипцы» [graspers], «зажимы» [clamps] and various «хирургические иглы» [surgical needles].
The next room was set up for «операции на сердце» [heart surgeries], specifically for «коронарное шунтирование» [a coronary artery bypass]. Notice, how in the Russian name for the procedure the word “шунт” is used to describe the “bypass” part . Maybe that’s why I never stopped to think what is being “bypassed” and how. Turns out, since a patient’s heart has to be stopped for at least an hour, «кровообращение» is maintained with «аппарат искусственного кровообращения» [a blood circulation machine] to which the patient’s blood is redirected. The technician operating this machine is called «перфузиолог» [perfusionist].
One thing that I learned in this room was that throughout the surgery nurses keep count of everything being used, from instruments to «хирургические салфетки» [surgical drapes]. This way, they know if something is left inside the patient. Each of the drapes has a single bluish thread in it that shows on «рентген» [X-ray] if it does get left behind after all.
You’d think this whole business of opening «грудная клетка» [a rib cage], «остановка сердца» [stopping the heart] and such sounds a bit grim. Well, I thought it was pretty awesome. What really gave me a shudder was the next room for «костная хирургия» [bone surgery]. It was set up for «операция по замене коленного сустава» [a knee replacement surgery]. Maybe it was the fact that it finally dawned on me that “replacement” here is not a real joint, but a titanium one which looked pretty scary. Or it might had been the nurse mentioning just how messy bone surgeries could get. Whatever it was, I was glad to be out of that room.
The last surgical room was that for «ЛОР-хирургия» [ENT surgery]. Now, Russians have three ways to say “ENT doctor” and all three are commonly used – «ухогорлонос» [lit: ear-throat-nose], «ЛОР» [an abbreviation for «ларингооторинолог» which means that same, only in Greek], and «отоларинголог» (which is an easier to pronounce and is not abbreviated).
So the room was set up for «операция по удалению гланд» [tonsillectomy]. It was ok, if a bit less exciting than the previous rooms. But it had all those interesting tools for reaching deep into one’s nose. Made me think of the old movie «Вспомнить всё» [Total Recall].
Of course, the coolest room was saved for last. It wasn’t set up for any particular surgery though. Instead, there was a sign on the door reading «Роботизированная хирургия» [Robotic Surgery] and the kids speculated whether they would see a surgery done by a robot or done on a robot. Of course, it was the former. There was a real «хирургический робот» in a room and we all got our chance at practicing some simple movements with its three arms.
And then, with the tour finished, we were back in the «комната ожидания» [waiting room] for some «газировка» [soft drinks] and «печенье»[cookies].
By the way, such “open house” event in is called «день открытых дверей» in Russian.
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