I don’t often, actually ever, blog about my work, it just doesn’t feel right. Yet there is so much I wish I could share with you that you’d probably find totally interesting, especially if you have a curious mind like mine. But like I said, it wouldn’t be right. Today I’m going to break that unspoken rule, well just a little.
I’m employed as a medical rep, spending most of my days in scrubs, sneakers and a theatre cap. I’m not allowed to wear any jewelry and in fact, shouldn’t wear nail polish either. It doesn’t do much for my style, but at least everyone looks the same. In the confines of the theatre walls I see various general surgeries and gynaecological procedures performed (a theatre is an Operating Room for my non-SA readers. I discovered that when I told my Australian colleagues I spent the day in the theatre, they thought I’d gone to watch a performance of Cats!)
I’ve also had to build a wall. I try not to get emotionally affected when a surgeon discovers or operates on a malignant tumor. Or when I witness colon surgery which alters the quality of a patient’s life. Or when I see the after-effects of STD’s and how they’ve changed a patient’s internal anatomy. I can’t afford to…it’s my job.
Not so long ago there were two patients admitted to the same theatre for different gynaecological procedures. The first was admitted because she was trying desperately to fall pregnant but to no avail. The gynae performed a laparoscopy on her to check whether her fallopian tubes were open. After an hour and a half of exploring all his options, he declared that the only way she could possibly fall pregnant would be through IVF.
I felt slightly sorry for her. “Only slightly?” you ask. That sounds rather callous I know, but I told you there is a wall. The second patient lay on the operating table in the theatre next door, her case was a little different. The gynae was to perform a tubal ligation on her – in other words she was having her fallopian tubes “tied” so she could no longer fall pregnant.
The irony hit me like a tray of laparoscopic instruments clanging to the floor. BAM! How mysterious is this thing called life? Here is a woman who’s had her children, she has no idea what it feels like not to be able to conceive. She doesn’t know any better, or any worse. She also has no idea that the patient lying in the next room is desperately trying to have her own children, and unless she can afford thousands of Rands for IVF, or she adopts, she probably never will.
That day was different, that day the wall cracked a little.
Maybe this is a true story, maybe it isn’t. Either way, it’s a reminder that everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle.