It started with an ear twitch and then a tongue flick. At that point, I had become increasingly concerned. I called out for the anesthesiologist. My surgical partners had just begun pulling on the pedicle so it was expected that I would have to increase the plane of anesthesia. My hand was on the isofluorane dial when my kitten suddenly decided to try to leap off the table.
“Doctor!” I hollered. My hands instinctively went to hold my patient, while my sterile partners held their hands over the abdomen to prevent any further contamination. The kitten had kicked through the drapes and sliced through one of their gloves. I groaned audibly knowing that the surgical site was now contaminated. They would have to prep our patient again and an antibiotic regimen would need to be prescribed to prevent post-surgical infection.
This was my first time as the student anesthetist and of course, my patient would wake up in the middle of her spay. With incredible composure, the anesthesiologist came over, assessed my patient, realized that the ET tube had come loose, and began to instruct me how we could fix the problem. Accessing the IV catheter, we began a propofol infusion to get our kitten sedated once again. Without a hitch, the anesthesiologist intubated her while she was still in dorsal recumbency – quite the feat – and then started her on gas anesthesia once again.
At this point, I was a trembling mess. My hands were shaking and I felt very unnerved. The procedure had only just started though, so I had to compose myself and continue my duties. I could not believe that one of my worst nightmares had just happened. The anesthesiologist offered me some words of encouragement. She was impressed by the fact that I had not freaked out during the whole mess and even included some compliments on anesthesia evaluation.
Reflecting on the situation, I believe I have successfully endured an anesthesia worst-case scenario. I feel much more prepared for problems that may arise in the future.