Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dammit, Jim! I'm a Doctor, not a Sysadmin...

In addition to running a server farm, I am now also running a field hospital.

Today, I removed Oyala's stitches! At my desk! This is by far the strangest "and other duties as assigned" task I have ever done at any of my jobs.

Oyala had four stitches at the base of his neck, from a biopsy done last week. The collar of his shirt kept irritating the wound. Oyala couldn't reach the area himself, and he knew the guys in his office would literally SLAP the band-aid on if he asked them for assistance, so he asked me to do it. It's been our morning routine since last Tuesday.

So today, the stitches on the healed cut were bugging him and he didn't want to go back the hospital, for fear the butcher that got his pound of flesh last week would find something else to dig out. Oyala asked me to take the stitches out, given that I wouldn't purposely hurt him and that I'm pretty handy. The fact that I was completely unfazed by "Hey, Jodi, if you have some time this morning, how about giving me a hand and taking out my stitches?" probably had something to do with it, too.

I'm like, "Oyala, you need a hemastat and suture scissors!" Blank stares. "Forceps, you need forceps. And scissors. I can't just untie the stitches!" Off Oyala went to find some tools. Part of me was hoping he wouldn't be able to find anything. While he was looking, I Googled on how to remove stitches and found a reference page aimed toward home-care nursing. I figured I should read some instructions, in the unlikely event that Oyala came back with tools that might actually be able to be used to remove stitches.

Guess what? Oyala came back with scissors and forceps. I have no idea where the forceps came from, but you know, don't look a gift horse in the mouth (or in the toolbox or whatever). The scissors looked pretty skanky, I think the lan/wan guys use 'em to cut CAT5 cables. Now I was gonna use the nasty things to cut suture knots.

I had some waterless disinfectant in my bag, so I disinfected the scissors, forceps and my hands as best I could. Got some kleenex in case of hemorraging and Oyala sat down in my Aeron chair, took a deep breath (me too) aaaaaaand away we went. With the forceps in the non-dominant hand, gently lift the knot, use the scissors to cut as close to the skin as possible and then gently remove the suture. Repeat. It took less than ten minutes and was a complete success, with only one wince-inducing moment.

A sutureless Oyala applied some antibiotic ointment to the area, I pasted a band-aid on it for him, and he went on his merry way.

...And what did YOU do today at work?

1 comment:

connie i trautman said...
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