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A cardiac surgeon can fix other people's hearts but not his own. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Submitted:Feb 26, 2012    Reads: 32    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   


Chapter 1

The stretcher slammed through the doors that led into the operating room. The surgical tech pushing the guerney took a sharp left into operating room #3.

I had already gotten the emergency page and was scrubbing down outside OR #3. I walked into the room in my greens with my mask and my hands over my head.

The surgical nurse opened the sterile package with a plastic glove inside. I thrust my hand into one glove, then another.

"Death Cab for Cutie!" I yelled out. One of the techs scrambled to shove a cd in the cd player.

I approached the patient lying on the operating table. Surrounded by green scrub sheets with a square of open skin in the middle of the chest.

A nurse reached out with a plastic bin of brown betadine liquid solution. A sponge floated in the middle, its handle hanging over the side.

I picked up the sponge by the handle, and slowly massaged the chest in circular motions, starting from the middle.

Dropping the first sponge in the trash, I picked up the next and started again, repeating the ritual.

Then I picked up a clean cloth and wiped away the brown fluid, again moving in a circular motion, starting from the center.

When I was done, I held out my right hand. The handle of a scalpel snapped into my palm. I leaned over the square of skin.

The Atlantic was born today, and I'll tell you how…

The blade of the scalpel touched the skin, and for a moment there was tension as the surface of the skin bowed below its weight.

The clouds above opened up, and let it out…

A thin stream of blood oozed out below the blade. I pushed it in farther. I could see the pink glimmering of the muscle tissue open up

I was standing on the surface of a perforated sphere, when the water, filled every hole.

The body opened up suddenly, like an oyster, when the knife finally pops it free, and it yields its glimmering and quivering contents

And thousand upon thousand made an ocean, making islands, where no island should go.

I drew the blade vertically down toward the abdomen, making a perfect incision

Ohhh oohh no.

A nurse started the circular saw. She placed it in my right hand

Those people were overjoyed, they took to their boats.

Starting from the bottom of the sternum, I cut through the bone up toward the chest.

I thought it less like a lake and more like a moat…

As the blade moved up through the chest, a pungeant smell of burning flesh filled the room.

The rhythm of my footsteps crossing flood lands to your door have been silenced forever more.

With a single quick motion, I cracked open the chest. "Ice!" I called out.

The distance is quite simply much too far for me to row. It seems farther, than ever before.

The heart lay open before me now. Beating in its rhythmic movement. A pale red. It looked like a piece of liver.

Ohhh, no…

The fluid on the beating heart glistened, and reflected the light of the fluorescent lights of the operating room.

I need you so much closer…

The nurse poured ice over the heart. It pulsated.

I need you so much closer…

I inserted a plastic tube into the right atrium that was connected to the heart-lung bypass machine. Then I clamped the aorta.

I need you so much closer…

"Bypass is on!" I called out. I held out my right hand. The handle of another scalpel was slapped into my palm.

I need you so much closer…

I bent toward the heart, now layed out before me like a nude model in an artist's studio. Vulnerable, but waiting for my craft.

I need you so much closer...

My blade pierced into the soft tissue of the heart.

I need you so much closer…

It was easy, and there was nothing, or better yet noone, to stop me

I need you so much closer…

The nurse had the graft ready. I sutured it in bypassing the clogged coronary artery that had caused the patient to have a cardiac arrest.

I need you so much closer…

I gave the order to take the patient off bypass, and watched as the tissues filled with blood, reddening.

So come on onnnnnnnnnn. So come on. onnnnnnnnnnn…

I sutured the heart, then pulled the two sides of chest incision together and began to suture up the chest.

So come on onnnnnnnnnn. So come on. onnnnnnnnnnn…

Holding the suturing pliers in his right hand, I pierced the skin, pulled through to the other side…

So come on onnnnnnnnnn. So come on. onnnnnnnnnnn…

…and pulled the thread all the way through to the other side, making my tie, all in rhythm to the music.

So come on onnnnnnnnnn. So come on. onnnnnnnnnnn…

Then I did it again, taking pride in my skills and craft.

So come on onnnnnnnnnn. So come on. onnnnnnnnnnn…

I left the resident to finish closing up. Exiting the operating room, I pulled off his green surgical gown and dropped it in the hamper. then I pulled off my gloves and surgical cap and dropped them in the trash. I felt a heavy fatigue as I moved toward the sink.

Getting up a good lather I scrubbed for several minutes, then put my hands under the running water, watching the brown soap run down the drain. Then I walked out of the OR and through the door that led straight into the surgeons lounge. A couple of the guys were lounging around on the leather sofas.

Reading the paper or a medical journal, waiting for their surgical suites to open up. Mahogany lined the walls.

Tony Coreolo was lying back on a sofa with his feet resting on a table, staring at his blackberry. He looked like he hadn't gone to bed the night before. When I walked into the room he perked up, like a dried out house plant that had just been given some water.

"Hey, Charlie!" he said, rolling over from the slouching position he took on the couch.

"How's it going, buddy?"

"I had to go back and salvage another one of these fucking Corshield stents," I said.

"The second one this week."

"Why, what happened?"

"The fucker clogged only a month after it was placed. We had to do an emergency bypass operation. I'm starting to wonder if this is a coincidence. So what have you got on the docket?"

"I've got three scheduled CABGs. First one's 20 minutes behind schedule. How about you?"

"Yeah I've got three more routines as well. Wanna get a beer afterward?"

"Yeah, sure."

Tony got a call that his next suite was open and walked back in to scrub again. After a couple of more routine CABG surgeries he returned to the surgeon's lounge. He drifted off to sleep and was awakened by my gentle shaking of his shoulder.

"Hey buddy. Ready for that beer?"

"Sure, let's go."





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