The other day I had the amazing opportunity to assist in a spay. I didn’t do it by myself by any means, but I was able to get a feel for how living tissue acts underneath my hands. I watched while the doctor did the first uterine horn, and then I helped with the second uterine horn and the uterine body.
After all my time practicing skills for my introduction to surgery course, I was able to practice scrubbing in, gowning and gloving, and sterile technique. For the first time, I also cut living tissue with a scalpel, and suture skin back together. Once the suturing began, the doctor showed me one stitch and had me finish the rest of the layer using that pattern, while watching me closely of course. I closed up all three layers, the surgery was complete, and the patient was on the road to recovery!
I was internally freaking out the entire time — not nerves, just excitement. I was so happy to be finally practicing what I’ve learned that if I had been vocalizing my excitement I would have been squealing throughout the whole surgery. I was worried that my first time in surgery where I’m actually operating I would be shaking so bad I couldn’t suture or would suddenly become squeamish and pass out. Thankfully, none of the above happened while I was standing at the table, for which I was extremely grateful. It was definitely an experience for the books, and I’ll never forget my first spay!