If it weren’t for my good friend Almera’s persistence on participating in the operation tuli and a good number of acute absence of uncircumcised kids in Ubaldo Laya, Iligan City – I wouldn’t be taking the risk of performing minor surgery for the first time; putting me through the course of having to assist and observe then perform the surgery myself minutes later.
Okay. Stop. What’s my point here?
I am talking about our recent free operation tuli (circumcision) last May 14 in three baranggays in Ubaldo Laya, which, depending on your own experiences was either a primer or a continuing education for a very basic minor surgery. (Which in my case, a primer where I have to struggle how to properly hold surgical instruments, accurate suturing, prepare the set, etc. One thing; I SUCK.) – downfall of having BS Zoology as your undergrad before medicine. But anywaaaay, it WAS my first time and it WAS expected.
So the course goes like this; every upcoming second year student was paired with an upcoming third year medical student (I was paired with Raff). So, the juniors are to observe and assist with the seniors. You are being taught and advised on what to do and what every step are for. Two fourth-year nurse students are to assist me while Raff is going to be there for any questions.
Raff finished the operation on our first patient with ease, me nodding with every instruction and taking note of every detail he points out. The last thing he said before walking out almost took the soul out of me; “Okay, I’ll bring in the next patient and you’ll operate.”
Yes, I was glad he trusted me after one operation and believed that I can do it though I was a bit hesitant because yeah, IT WAS MY FIRST TIME. So I took the challenge with one thing on mind; this is learning – learning with no room for mistakes because this is happening in all actuality with a 7-year old patient showing his uncircumcised peepee.
“This is an easy task.” That line keeps on repeating on my head like a broken record – over and over and over again. My hand was unstable and can’t stop trembling (I was like that since undergrad even with a cat as a test subject during dissections), and I can’t even talk to my patient properly (due to language barrier perhaps?). Standing right next to me are two nurse students, who in all fairness, was glad to assist me all the way. I was talking to them to relieve the tension I was in.
A few moments later, with the last stroke of suturing needle and last loop to tie the knot – the operation came to a success. Fortunately, nothing went out of place. I knew I took prudent risk for accepting Raff’s test after one observation but it was an accomplishment.
I got my story and pushed beyond my fears, while reining recklessness with ease. After that one operation, I knew I was ready.. ready for more.