TITLE: If I Don't Go Back
GENRE: Literary fiction
Fake it until you make it, they tell you. I am tired of faking it, I decide, as I knock on an empty on-call room door, then ease inside. The air is stale and smells of antiseptic and cigarette smoke. The moment my cheek scratches against the pillowcase, I’m paged for surgery.
When I first lay eyes on the patient, he is already under, his d*** limp and flopping about as we haul his body onto the operating table. There’s no such thing as privacy in an operating suite. Usually no one bothers to keep the gown strategically placed over your more sensitive bits, but I move his gown to cover his crotch. If it were me lying there, I would want someone to do the same for me.
The man’s appendix has burst, and he needs emergency surgery. I glove and gown the surgeon, a middle-aged man with hair growing out of his ears, because these lazy pricks can’t do anything for themselves. That may sound harsh, but you try spending five years with these so-called healers, who care more about malpractice insurance and vacations than they do patient care and tell me they’re not lazy. Why I have been considering medical school for the past year doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given my hatred of most surgeons. Maybe I want to give something back, to show them that you can possess both skill and compassion.
“Midline,” the surgeon says and motions for a scalpel, which I place in his hand.