Today I was the scrub nurse in a room with the colorectal guys. We did Anal fistula , Fulguration of anal condyloma, and repair of Pilonidal Cyst . All of these would have been pretty difficult for the squeamish. But, that’s what I do. I’m a surgery nurse and I do surgery. These are a long way from my favorite cases, but work is work, and these cases weren’t that difficult.
After a full day of this service, I felt really, really dirty. Even though I wore a surgical mask. Not just a regular surgical mask, I wore an N-95 filter mask, specifically made to filter out Tuberculosis particles as well as harmful smoke particles from the burning of condyloma warts. It didn’t matter though. Even well after I walked out of that room, I could still smell the smoky smell of burnt anal diseased tissue. The smell was all over me.
My only thoughts were, how to not carry this wicked bacteria and viral contaminates home with me. After I clocked out, I promptly discarded my scrubs into the laundry hamper then I got one of the surgical scrub brushes. They are intended for cleaning your hands prior to donning sterile gloves and doing surgery. The stiff bristles are impregnated with Chlorhexidine to kill all bacteria as they scrub. I took one of these brushes in the shower with me to clean my whole body before putting my home clothing. We do surgery in the older part of the hospital and, much to my surprise, the plumbing is not the best. I tried to adjust the water flow and temperature, and it would fluctuate wildly between luke warm and ice cold. I tried to get it to stay at luke, but every time someone would turn on something else, the temperature would change. Realizing that I couldn’t sit there fidgeting all day with the control, So I decided to brave it jump in and scrub in the cold water. Once I committed, it took my breath, at first. But soon I got use to it. The water flow would occasionally offer a comforting change back to luke again. I scrubbed and scrubbed and soon I felt like Karen Silkwood after a decontam encounter.
Anyhow, taking a cold shower at work with commercial grade surgical scrub, makes me evermore thankful for the warm shower and my gentle Dove Men Care soap at home. It makes me thankful for the little things that we take for granted each and every day.