We were advised on how to stand, how to behave, what not to touch, (especially that), and where to remain so we’d not be in anyone’s way. I remember perching on a tall block step, well back from the operating field but wanting desperately to get closer. It was hard to see, even with the benefit of added height.
This was during my surgical rotation in nursing school. In my excitement, I nearly leaned on a tray of sterile instruments. Needless to say, the surgeon wasn’t thrilled with me. But I didn’t care. I was standing in an operating room! I was witnessing an actual surgery! Not looking through my anatomy and physiology textbook, staring at one dimensional pictures. It was amazing.
I’ve always been a visual learner. Although I didn’t know the term until my own child was in school. My mom had come back from a continuing education course and explained the various types of learners. It clicked for me that I need to see things to better understand them. I also need to be able to lay out the pieces and manipulate them, like a puzzle. I simply do better with problems that way. Whether it’s dealing with an issue inside of my sewing machine or anything else, I do better when I get my hands on the parts and actually see what’s what.
The same goes for getting my medical test results. Reading the reports doesn’t truly help me understand what the heck is happening to me. I mean, I comprehend most of the words – looking up the ones I’m unclear about – but it’s not the same as having someone walk me through it, image by image. So that’s what my doc did last Friday at my monthly follow up. AND he actually brought the spine model – aka Spiney, as I’ve called it in my Instagram stories – over and explained exactly what the results showed.
But looking at the real time images of my spine was incredibly cool. Scary, as soon as I stopped detaching myself from the whole thing. But really, really cool. I’m a science gal. It’s astounding to me to see all that happens inside our bodies in the tiniest places – each bone, muscle, and nerve. My neck has SO much going on and it takes up a minimal amount of real estate in my body. I can’t help but want to understand all of the details better. Even if those details aren’t good.
We talked about each vertebrae, what’s affecting what, and what could be done to alleviate the pain. Or at least try to accomplish that. It’s easier said than done. He’s hoping that an epidural will calm the nerves near T11-12, possibly doing the same for the nerves below it. If nerves aren’t flaring, then the surrounding tissues likely won’t spasm. It’s a win-win. None of it addresses the neck, but it’s where we are for the time being. And I’m okay with it.
Back in that O.R., I’d started to think about becoming a surgical nurse. This was before my stint in maternal fetal medicine. Once I got there, it was all over. I knew I wanted to be involved in women’s health. Seeing ultrasounds, working on bone density tests, all of it….. I wanted to be a part of the whole spectrum. And, for a time, I got to be.
Now, the only tests I get to see are my own. Not so fun anymore. But I’m glad I have a doctor who’s willing to review things with me. Finally. They haven’t all been like this. I was once told, “you don’t need to know any of this. Just show up on schedule.” Are you kidding?? I don’t need to know?! Exactly who did they think they were? My response was, “actually, I’m a registered nurse. Maybe you don’t think I ‘need’ to know, but I want to know. And I’ve got a right to know.” I didn’t stay long with that person or practice. No way.
As a visual learner, I can honestly say that if you’re not explaining in serious detail what the heck is going to happen, I’m not allowing you near me with a scalpel. Or wires. Or anything.
Not going to happen.
What I see makes me scared for what’s next. What I see makes me wish it wasn’t my test result, or anyone’s for that matter. What I see excites the student, the science fan, and the nurse in me. It makes me want to learn more. What I see reminds me that I have decisions to make and that denial won’t work.
What I see makes me feel. It brings me back to reality.
Here’s to what we see, what we can’t, and whatever’s next. Much of it is out of our hands, but we’ll do the best we can. It’s this knowledge that propels me forward.
Here we go…..
Peace and painlessness,
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