Last night I spent laid awake wondering about the kitten that I operated on. I read recently a quote I in relation to Dr Harvey Cushing that resonated here with me:
“no one has any right to undertake the care of any patient unless he is willing to give that patient all of the time and thought that is necessary, and of which he is capable.”
Did I give the kitten enough time?
And was I really capable to do what I had done?
Did I know what was going happen once the skull had been covered. Was there going be pressure trapped inside? Was the skin going be enough to protect the brain? Should I have done anything else?
Were my sutures too tight? Is the blood supply to my flap enough? Will it heal?
If I could I would have spent the entire night watching the kitten. The kitten would have been hospitalised. Instead circumstances prevented this; however the kitten was watched carefully by the foster carer that had been caring all week.
I spent hours and hours during the week reading every surgical book I could find with a chapter covering the brain, head or skull. I spent hours looking for case studies and relevant articles in the literature. There was so little. Either it is so common that no one thinks it is worth writing about, or it is so uncommon that no one has had the chance to write about it.
I reached out to some of my contacts asking for advice and got some great support.
There were instructions that the minute anything happened I was to be called. Any time. So in this case no news is good news. However I still laid wondering.
Tomorrow I will see the kitten again to check the wound. And so far today no news really has been good news.
I realise that I love surgery – however it is the outcomes that give me the biggest satisfaction. Knowing that my impact has helped the life of another being is such a reward. However it comes with great responsibility that I must accept. Every single time that I step up to an operating table I am responsible. That responsibility is why I am laid awake.
I do not yet know whether what I have done is good or bad.