Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas, The Most Envious Time Of The Year

Christmas is almost here and Santa has come early for...the surgeons. Yes it's that time of the year when the surgeons flaunt all the gifts they receive from their patients while the anesthesiologists get bupkes. It annoys the heck out of me to see them brag about the presents from patients who are grateful their surgeons "saved" their lives while the party actually responsible for keeping them alive through the procedure gets to share a muffin basket with the rest of the "staff".

The surgeons are clueless about the resentment they cause their anesthesia colleagues. One guy went into great details about the $200 per person sushi dinner he received in Beverly Hills. Another one bragged about the dinner he ate at a private mansion, catered by the staff of one of Wolfgang Puck's restaurants. He said the paintings in the house were "exquisite". You'd think the person who made the procedure tolerable for the patient would get an invitation too. Maybe the anesthesia was too good; they forgot all about the person administering the anesthesia. We got a box of cupcakes instead. Gourmet cupcakes, but cupcakes nevertheless.

They receive boxes after boxes of $300 bottles of alcohol, clothing from Nordstrom's or Neiman Marcus. One person said he received such a huge tower of Harry & David's goodies that he can't finish it all at home. Well, I thought, you could at least bring it to the hospital to share with everybody. After all, there was more than one person in the room when the procedure was underway.

The only time they've shared with anesthesiologists, and the staff, is when they receive cheap See's chocolates or unwanted gifts. The nicest gift I ever got was when the surgeon received, another, Nordstrom's tie and he didn't want it so he gave it to me. Gee thanks a lot. I'll just put this next to the 50 other ties I never wear. When does an anesthesiologist ever wear a tie?

Some people say that the anesthesiologist not being acknowledged is the greatest complement to us. You can bet if there was a problem with anesthesia, you know something like recall, lost airway, or cardiac arrest, they would remember us very well. There would be no sushi dinner on Rodeo Drive for Christmas, more likely a piece of paper with a lawsuit on it. So enjoy that last red velvet cupcake. Sometimes it's better not to be remembered than to be remembered at all.

1 comment:

  1. Since I had surgery a few days ago and am not supposed to walk for a few days, I have time to browse the web. This particular entry though made me think, because I actually want to express my thanks to the people in the hospital during my brief stay (just one night). For them it might have been routine and I'm already forgotten, but for me it probably means that I won't have problems with my feet later in life.

    But the only one I reasonably know is the orthopedist who recommended surgery, and I only know him very briefly because I was sent to him by my regular orthopedist who wanted a second oppinion.

    I only met the anesthesiologist wile already under the influence of some pill that's supposed to put people at ease while they are brought to the OR, and he was already wearing his scrubs and mask - and I don't even remember his name. All I do remember is being perplexed and slightly annoyed to be asked the same questions 3 times inside of 2 minutes, dob and did I eat anything, am I allergic to anything, what is supposed to be done and on which side? He explained to me that it's done to be extra sure .. in retrospect, I feel sorry for being snappy. In return he got to stick a big needle in my thigh so all in all I think we're even.

    Well, I have a control appointment in about 2 weeks and I already decided to come bearing gifts in the form of edibles like a big ass glass of homemade quince jelly for the doctors lounge for breaks and a big tip for the nurse station and possibly some cookies they can eat during break. But since I am not even really sure who was my surgeon either - he might have come to my bed in the pacu and told me something, it's a big vague, I'll just take something that everybody can appreciate.