THings you don’t want to try for the first time on a real person

For this post, I really wish I had the writing skills of VictorVanHee or Dr. Charles. Perhaps if they are reading, they could rewrite todays experience for me. Victor…remember that post of mine that you rewrote, then I wrote a parody of it? Perhaps something similar could happen here.

Anyway, today was the annual Pig Lab. We do things that are not frequently done and highly invasive like peritoneal lavages, chest tubes, surgical cricothyrotomies, thoracostomies, aortic cross clamping , pericardiocenteses after creating a cardiac tamponade and finally oversewing of cardiac lacerations.

I was bummed I didn’t get to do the cric on my pig, but one of our eager second years practically had it done before I realized he was doing it. I went to another pig later and just practiced putting one in, cutting a new hole for it and stuff.

The really creepy part about it is that these are LIVE pigs, anesthetizsed with isofluorane, & ketamine and intubated. If you screw up, the pig dies. All the pigs die eventually anyway, they are humaently “euthanized” at the end of the lab, if they don’t die first. One of our pigs died during anesthesia induction, he had pneumonia. Another pig died shortly after the aortic cross clamp was removed. Our pig died when the same eager second year stabbed a hole in the heart in order to practice stapling it shut.

I don’t really like the pig lab at all. I also realize that if I ever need to do one of these procedures (the surgical cricothyrotomy being the most likely), that it’s far better to sacrifice a pigs life, than have a patient die in front of me. I certainly can’t claim to be a strict vegetarian either.

But theres something very unsettling about a warm furry creature, on it’s bag, legs held apart with twill tape, little snout pointed at the back wall and it’s rows of mammary glands guiding you towards your DPL site. Even anesthetized, the muscles still twitch when you cut through them. Their heart rates and and Oxygen saturations are affected by the things that you do to them…like poking holes in lungs and hearts and tracheas.

The smell of blood and a faint pig odor was also unsettling and I spent a long time in the cleansing ultraviolet light of my garden afterwards. The rest of the day was vegetarian for me.

Still holding at twenty four.

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