The first case of the day was a minimally invasive spine surgery and it was rough. Dr, C basically rapid fire questioned me on nerve deficit after nerve deficit...I was definitely sweating underneath my mask and layers of sterile garb. I also had the misfortune of realizing that my OR shoes (a.k.a. the same shoes that I wore to hike Macchu Picchu last summer) had definitely reached and passed their peak, and my legs and feet felt like they were slowly dying. Long story short, I'm so relieved that surgery is over and done.
Before our next surgery, I got to go in and watch part of an awake craniotomy. Yes, awake! It was completely amazing and almost surreal. The neurosurgeon doing the case was dissecting a brain tumor at the corpus collusum, which is deep inside the brain and runs between the two hemispheres. Since the fibers running in the corpus collusum are crucial for all of the body's motor function, the surgery was done awake (!) so that the patient could be continually assessed to see if the surgeon was close to damaging any of the motor fibers near the tumor as he removed it (it was very Grey's Anatomy).
The last case of the day was another spine surgery, but it was done open and I was allowed to first assist on the surgery. I have to admit that when I first started my surgery rotation, I wondered why any student not planning on becoming a surgeon had to spend 12 weeks total rotating in surgery. Now though, I completely understand. Seeing the spine and the intricacies of the nerves surrounding it in real life is so different than looking at it in a textbook (or even on a cadaver in gross anatomy lab).
Despite the stress, hours, and horrors of my oral exam, I think I am going to miss surgery.