As they maneuvered Mac’s bed into room 275E, Billy Bob and I glanced at each other. We knew this area of the oncology unit was very familiar. Prior to Mac’s diagnoses of cancer, we lost his father to colon cancer, and he had been in the room next to where we would now call home for the next few days. I quietly prayed that we be spared any recurring diagnoses of cancer. But, I can tell you that it was unsettling as we waited to hear any news.
At about 4:00 a.m. a small, balding, red bearded young kid walked in dressed in those familiar green outfits, they call scrubs. He introduced himself as the Chief Surgical Resident. He explained that the gallbladder appeared to be in bad shape but the surgeon was still in surgery. He wanted to look at Mac and then contact him. He felt that surgery could be as early as 6:00 a.m., but he needed to talk it over with the surgeon.
The floor nurse assigned to Mac came in and introduced herself, and kindly inquired if we needed anything. She reminded us that if we needed something let her know we were now in a holding pattern as we awaited the return of the bald, bearded Chief Surgical Resident.
At about 5:30 a young gentleman with black hair, wearing a white lab coat, opened the door. He introduced himself as a surgical resident who would be assisting Doctor I. His appearance made me think of my nieces boyfriend, who is 17 years old and whom we simply refer to as “the boy.” He is so young, and at times very irritating.
He began by retelling us information that we all ready had heard. The gallbladder looks bad. We have started antibiotics. It needs to come out. Do you have any questions? I quickly stopped him and asked; “Are they going to do surgery this morning?” He explained that Doctor I was just finishing up in surgery, and he would be coming by to speak with us, and again he closed by asking if there was anything more we wanted to know.
I quickly snap back, “No! Apparently, you are unable to answer my question. You are telling us things we already know!” After a few minutes of him apologizing for his lack of answers, I assured him it was fine and not to worry about it. This was not our first rodeo. Although, we had been away from the City of Medicine, there were some things that never change. Residents! Residents are students, and he was a first year student. – Oh, I hate new residents. – I sincerely hope that during his rotation that he learns a few simple things about talking to the patient and family.
It was now 6:30 a.m. when the door swing open, again. There stood a rather attractive man with small, round, gold wire glasses, sporting those green scrubs, a white lab coat and a surgical hat. He approached the bed, and in a heavy Latin accent, he introduces himself as Doctor I.
Oh my God…it’s Ricky! If he busted out in a chours of LUCY I’M HOME! I will die!
He began by saying that the gallbladder was “ hot” (a new term), and that he had other surgeries scheduled this morning. He would prefer several doses antibiotics been given and the gallbladder had sometime to rest before he went in. He was unsure of how much time he had before things got real “HOT” but suggested that we plan on surgery around 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.
MacGyver and I both quickly asked, “Are you going to get some rest before you operate?” After all he had been in surgery most of the night, and he had a full cases load scheduled for today. This concerned us. We would prefer to have someone who was fresh and ready to tackle any problem that might come up! The drugs were working. Mac was feeling fairly well. What’s the rush?
Doctor I, went on to say that he would be out of town performing several colonoscopy Tuesday morning. “Well, if you do colonoscopies, then why can’t we just have our colon Doc do this surgery? He had successfully completed Mac’s surgery on his colon and we know him very well. You apparently have a full load.” I replied. He became somewhat defensive, and informed us that he was a general surgeon! I handle everything! He barked in that heavy Latin accent.
To that, I quickly fired back. “Look, we don’t know you from Adam! You have been in surgery all night and you have a full schedule of surgeries today! This is not our first trip to the hospital. Read the bloody chart! So, bear with us, we have some concerns which my not seem valid to you, but they are to us!”