We’re always a little hyped up. It’s a little early, 7am, but we’ve been up for 2 hours. Everyone prepares in a different way. For some it’s a physical movement or mental traits- brisk calculated activity, silent concentration, talkative, etc. There is usually some music in the background the genre varying. The importance of the event doesn’t need to be discussed, we all get it. The team is not random but carefully selected- they are the best of the best. They all chose to be a part of this elite team, some at considerable personal expense. There is a hierarchy, there has to be for this type of operation. Even though there is a hierarchy it does not belay the importance the essentialness of each person that’s a part of our team.
The team leader asks the members “Are we ready to begin?” – a resounding “Yes” with a sense of purpose is elicited. A member of the team leaves the room to begin the encounter.
For security purposes, the target will be identified as “Bill”.
A team member approaches Bill, gathers the appropriate information, asks if he has any concerns and begins pushing the gurney into the OR.
We’ve already slipped Bill some specially prepared “medication”. He’s “happy”.
The mood as he enters the room is of quiet confidence. Everyone on this assignment has been here many times before, and the sense of winning is in the air.
Positioning, preparation and draping occur as a matter of routine.
There is a “time out” where the entire team stops, we review our goals our tools our mission and before beginning we all confirm that we are on the same page.
“Time to rock and roll” says the leader. There is some “white noise” in the background, better known as music. There is very little talking, everyone knows their roles so well there doesn’t have to be words- there are motions, there is anticipation, an occasional request. We move quickly, without the sense of rushing, but with deliberateness that radiates confidence.
The operation is going smoothly and there is a relaxed joviality in the air. Suddenly in a calm but firm manner- “bleeder” is verbalized. Sudden change in the atmosphere, flight or fight response instantly. No jokes all business. Suction, clamps, ties- control quickly achieved. Second and third checks – OK everything good. No high fives or celebration, just the professionalism that comes with experience. The mood shifts and we relax again. The components of the joint replacement are placed and the results are up to the standards of the team.
Now there is a moment where everyone feels it- that sense of “Yeah Baby”, perfect. We don’t necessarily say it but we feel it- everyone in the room does. We relish that feeling for a bit (we live for it), and then get ready for our next mission.