Today was the first day that I really, truly felt like a future doctor. I completed my first surgery. It was a canine castration, and I know that’s a routine surgery, but it was my first time ever cutting into a live animal. I prepared for hours last night, and all day leading up to it I was very nervous and extremely anxious – I even skipped class to practice my suturing skills. When we got to the lab, I became so busy with giving our patient medications and getting the setup area and operating room prepared that I my nerves settled quite a bit. We got him all set to go, wheeled him into the OR, attached all of the monitoring equipment and fluids, and then my assistant and I went to scrub, gown, and glove. This was also my first time doing that – I’ve never even scrubbed in for a surgery! Then we got our patient draped, and it was time… I loaded a scalpel onto my scalpel handle, and there was nothing left to do but get down to business. I took a deep breath… and made the skin incision.
From there, the surgery went very smoothly. My assistant and anesthetist were both amazing, and my nerves quickly vanished as I concentrated on what I was doing and what needed to be done. It was a mostly uncomplicated surgery, except for some bleeding from the cremaster muscles, which needed to be ligated. Closing was a bit difficult, but it went well and the incision looked pretty good after surgery. And before I knew it… I was done with my first surgery!!
We did a physical exam on him at 7am, surgery started around 2:30pm, we put him back in his run around 6:30pm (he had a pretty prolonged recovery), and then did a post-op check at 9pm (everything looked great and he was non painful!). That was 15 hours on campus today! I had to write up all of his medical records (PE, SOAP this morning and after surgery, surgery report) and I have to be back tomorrow morning to check on him at 7am. It’s currently 11pm, so I guess I should get to bed. But this was an amazing day, and for the first time I really felt like a doctor in the making – it was a turning point in my career and I wanted to document it while it was fresh. :)