Nothing Like the First Time

Bethany Bouchard
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"Paging Dr. Stevens, paging Dr. Stevens."

Ronald Stevens, a young, but accomplished surgeon, had never had to do a full-scale brain surgery before. He wasn't nervous, though. He wasn't even shaking, though the pleasant female voice paged him again. It was time to get down to the O.R. He wasn't late, but he should go. He still had fifteen minutes to prep. He wasn't late. He wasn't nervous. He smiled at a couple of interns as he picked up his pace, and suddenly, almost too soon, he was faced with the swinging double doors to the surgical wing, looming before him like two stern deans just itching to fail him. But he wasn't nervous.

"Dr. Ronald Stevens to the O.R. Dr. Ronald Stevens to the O.R."

It was the voice again, the voice telling him to proceed, with caution of course. He heaved a sigh, gathered his bearings, pushed through the stainless steel doors, bore a right, and there he was. The patient was already there and had been prepped for surgery, anesthetized and everything. The lab technicians were all stationed around the operating table along with an assisting surgeon, Dr. Masters, and two nurses. He wasn't late.

He took a deep breath, washed his hands, tied a mask around the lower half of his face, put on the latex gloves. Good thing he had put on his scrubs for surgery that morning; he wouldn't have remembered now if his life depended on it, let alone the patient's life. He wasn't late. He wasn't nervous. He had this. This was just a simple lobotomy; it happened every day. There was nothing to worry about.

The lab techie shaved the patient's scalp, and the nurse sterilized the area where the incision was to be made. Now it was his turn. He picked up the scalpel and slieced ever so carefully, making a clean, even cut a little left of center. He set down the scalpel for a moment and his breathing became more rapid. He was not hyperventilating. He was not nervous.

When the part of the skull was removed, and the mass of brain was visible, Dr. Stevens felt as though he was havinga stare down with his worst enemy. There it was, so pink and fleshy. It was hard to fathom, all th etiny rivets and maze-like columns wound among columns, they were all in his hands. He imagined the pink, bloody mass pulsating, almost at him, as if daring him to make a mistake. Oh, the pink, and the blood; suddenly he was aware of the blood. But he had seen blood before. He was not going to vomit. He was not nervous.

"Dr. Stevens?" Dr. Masters raised a quizzical eyebrow towards him. "Are you alright?"

Dr. Stevens took one look at Dr. Masters and handed him the scalpel before dashing from the room wiht his hand over his mouth.

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This page contains a single entry by Bethany Bouchard published on November 15, 2010 3:46 PM.

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