I have had a very long tough day of operating, so please allow me some self-indulgence in writing this blog. I sincerely apologise in advance for the sarcasm and disillusioned humour to follow!
The last thing anyone wants is an annoyed surgeon operating on them. I mean, would you be obnoxious to your chef or the waiter that is serving you? (We all know they will spit in your food) Would you be an ass to your dentist just before he/she picks up the dental drill? So why, oh why, would someone piss their surgeon off just before being wheeled into the operating room?
‘I have been waiting for 2 hours since 8 o’clock.’
My answer: ‘Oh, that’s great, you arrived nice and early so you are now all ready to go in.’
What I really want to say: ‘Sorry, I just finished my 2-hour champagne breakfast, hic.’ or ‘Are you in a rush to go somewhere after your operation?’ or ‘I’d better go faster during your operation then, so you can get home sooner.’
‘Are you sure you have done this before?’
My answer: ‘More times than I can count, you will be ok.’
What I really want to say: ‘No, but there’s always a first.’ or ‘No, but I watched it on You-Tube last night, and I think I got the general idea.’ or ‘Yes, when I was a medical student, on a pig in the lab.’
‘How come this operation costs so much?’
My answer: ‘Because it is a major operation, it takes a lot of time and expertise to do.’
What I really want to say: ‘Because you have come to a surgeon, not the local butcher.’ or ‘You are free to shop around, maybe it will be cheaper if you get it done over the internet.’ or ‘I don’t do surgery because I love helping people, I do it for the money.’
‘Would I have a scar? Will it be ugly?’
My answer: ‘Yes, you will have a scar, just as we discussed before. It will fade.’
What I really want to say: ‘Of course you will have a scar, moron, you are going to be cut open and I may be good, but I can’t perform miracles.’ or ‘No, you won’t have a scar, because I do it all by telepathy.’ or ‘Yes and Yes.’
‘Please do a good job and don’t kill me.’
My answer: ‘Don’t worry, we will do our best to look after you.’
What I really want to say: ‘Ok, for once I won’t make a mess of it, but have you signed a will yet? You know, just in case.’ or ‘Do I get a bonus if you get to live through this?’ or ‘You are expecting too much from me, I don’t think I can handle it.’
‘If the operation doesn’t turn out to be what I wanted, can I get a refund?’
My answer: ‘No, but if that’s the case, I will do my best to give you a result you are after.’
What I really want to say: ‘Sure, if you want a refund, we will have to put the cancer back too.’ or ‘No, because I can’t take the implants out of your boobs when you’ve changed your mind and use it for someone else.’ or ‘No, because I have never learnt how to undo a facelift.’
‘Have you been working all day? Are you too tired to do my operation? Can you please pay attention when you are doing it?’
My answer: ‘This is a normal working day for me, I am fine and you will be fine too.’
What I really want to say: ‘I will be fine. My hands will be steadier once I have had a drink.’ or ‘Don’t worry, watching the tennis on my laptop during your operation will keep me awake.’ or ‘I am fine, my ADHD is under control, I have just had my 6 oclock dexamphetamine.’
‘Do I really need to have this operation?’
My answer: ‘Remember what we talked about before? I would not be recommending an operation unless you need it. You will be ok.’
What I really want to say: ‘Did you hear anything I said last week during your consultation?!?!’ or ‘No, you don’t need this operation, I just like cutting people open for fun.’ or ‘Yes, you really need this operation because I really need to save up for my Ferrrari.’
‘You look too young to be doing this, do you know what you are doing?’
My answer: ‘Oh, that’s so sweet, thank you. I am actually older than I look. I have done this for several years now, so I think both you and I will be ok.’
What I really want to say: ‘If you prefer to go to Old Shakey next door, you are welcome to swap surgeons.’ or ‘I have done heaps of this operation on cadavers during medical school. I graduated with honours last week.’ or ‘I only look young because you are so old.’
Ok. That last one was bad. I should stop here. I should go to bed, get some sleep.
Because come tomorrow morning, I have to find my professionalism, tolerance and patience. Again.