Thursday, October 18, 2007


The day had been going fairly well. This was the last case of the day and everything was right on schedule. The first two operations had gone by without a glitch, and the entire operative team was settling down into a rhythm like a well oiled machine.

As was the norm, the junior resident and I got started on the case. We would perform the less complicated portions of the operation and get everything set up. The attending surgeon would scrub in later on for the critical portions. We were making good progress with the surgery, the tissues were dissecting easily, and this was turning into a textbook case. Everything was going like clockwork.

The junior resident and I quickly completed the initial dissection and discussed our plans for the upcoming weekend while the attending surgeon was getting gowned up.

Resident: ...and the House of Blues is having this awesome-

Attending: [interrupting as he rushes over to the table] OK boys, we've got to make this quick because I need to pitch a tent.

[The resident and I stopped talking and looked at each other in silence]

Resident: [gives me the Did he say what I think he said? look]

Me: [I look back Yeah, he definitely did]

The room fell silent. Even the nurses in the room had stopped talking. I quickly broke off eye contact with the resident because I knew if we kept looking at each other, we'd bust out laughing. I could already feel the giggles starting inside me.

[deafening silence]

Nurse: Now what you mean you're going to pitch a tent? You take some Viagra or something before you come in here?

So of course, that comment sent us into a laughing fit. After he innocently explained that his kids are going camping in his back yard, we educated him on the current implications of such a statement and brought him up to speed on the vernacular of the modern day as his face went through one shade of red to another.