Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Surgical Team and the Operation

My operation was done under a spinal anesthetic, so that I was completely conscious during the whole procedure. They inject a numbing injection to the spine first and then inject the anesthetic into a three places in the spine with a long needle. I was not too crazy about that! I had gone through a similar operation before so it was not a surprise.

During the course of the operation, there was a technician who was giving a running commentary top the surgeons about the positioning of the various procedures. He was using x-ray technology to guide them in their work and was an integral part of the team.

The automatic blood pressure monitoring system in that operating theater failed during my operation, so the doctors had to use the old fashioned manual ones, until another automatic one was brought from an adjoining operating theater and settled that problem. It was a little panic stations at first, as it is not easy to check the blood pressure every few minutes manually while under surgery.

The two main surgeons who performed the surgery, Dr Pubudu and Dr Dhammika were the ones who had performed the surgery last time on me. It was interesting that one of them suddenly came up with questions about my life, that he knew and said he had been reading my blogs!! Dr Banagala, was the overall consulting Orthopedic Surgeon, who was handling the case and was reviewing the work done by his HOs or House Officers.

The surgery took a while due to some adjustments that has to be made to the original plate implants as some nuts had to be removed and tightened etc. and then the tissue in the area of the joint had to be removed for the bone graft to be inserted. So it was not easy to reach all the areas to remove the tissue that had formed in the past six months instead of the bone tissue which would have formed if it fused. The cut nearer my waist to take bone near the hip for the graft had to be stitched up soon after the bone fragments were removed, as otherwise the anesthetic would have worn off. as it starts wearing off from the waist down.

A cousin who is an Anesthesiologist was also in the operating theater, and she knew the consultant anesthetist at the operation. I was not taken into the operating theater immediately so I was waiting for another surgery to finish. When mine started late, and went on for a long time, the number of staff in the theater also seemed to diminish, much like them going to lunch while the operation was going on, like hang on I am still cut up, where are you guys off to? Anyway I guess the surgeons were so confident of their tasks, even the consultant sneaked off giving final instructions on exactly what procedures to do, knowing he could rely on his team!

After the operation, I was waiting a while to be taken back to the room, and then the next team for the afternoon surgeries were getting ready with their roster. It is amazing how busy these operating theaters must be in the National Hospital. Once I got to the room, there was no one to greet me and as I did not have my mobile phone was unable to tell my family that I was OK and back in the room, in case they were wondering why it took so long.

Later another member of the surgical team dropped into meet me and have a chat about Polonnaruwa, which he may have heard from the other doctors. He said he single-handedly got funds for a rural hospital in Pulasthigama and had it all done up during the time he was in charge including the land around with fruit crops. He had been in Polonnaruwa for about 8 years, and is now specializing in Orthopedics and not had time to go back to see how things are at the hospital.

It would be nice to go with him one day soon to see his handiwork which he is very proud of. I asked his name at the time and now completely forgotten!! Another doc in the team, Dr Duminda came to have a chat about his interest in the outdoors as he has a place near Sinharaja and would like to have more time to go birdwatching. He likes the colorful ones there, and I told him I see more of the raptors in my area, the big Owls, Hawks and Eagles. He must also have gotten word about my background and wanted to share some of his experiences. It is so nice to find some common ground with people who lead such different lives.

I am due to be released in a few minutes, when one of the surgical team came earlier, we chatted about the fact that some of the instrumentation is overused and needs replacement. Apparently some are used 5 times as much as the recommended usage, due to the shortage of the stuff, presumably due to the costs for the health service. I can imagine that some of these tools of the surgeons cost over Rs1m each. So I asked the doc to give me the full details when I come to the clinic in two weeks so I can ask my contacts if they could help out with funding one that was used in my operation, which would have helped me if it had not been so worn out!

Thanks guys for all the effort and assistance in my case, and would love one day to host you all in my little forest hideout in Ratmale, when I finally am able to finish it and spend some quality time there. So please contact me. (


Kirigalpoththa said...

Wish you a speedy recovery!

Anonymous said...

we're all keen to join you there! good luck with the recovery and please keep the articles coming!

by the way, is the free hospital system sustainable in your opinion?

Sujeewa de Silva said...

Read some very interesting articles about your hospital stay and how you experience it all over here. Wish you a speedy recovery!

Anonymous said...

Wish you well Ranjith. Any news about compensation from the Minister?

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It's been a lone time since you posted!

What's going on!

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