Friday, November 12, 2010

Surgery Tour

Each year the St. Cloud hospital hosts and open house with tours and hands-on activities in the surgery department. Kathi, Micah, Eden, Caleb, Zeke and I went last night to the tour. It was so much fun. Out of the 6 of us, 4 of us have had surgeries there. We even bumped into Micah's surgeon who did his appendectomy (who also happens to be a friend who goes to our church).

This is a head covering that a surgeon might wear.  It has a fan inside to provide ventilation and keep him/her cool.
Here the kids can try their own hands at surgery.  I loved this game (Operation) when I was a kid.  I was seriously crazy about it.  Also in this O.R. we took the kids' blood pressure and read their pulse/ox levels.  This is most likely the room that our surgeries were done in.

 This was probably THE coolest thing we saw--the da Vinci robot.  The surgeon sits at these controls, but the patient is on the table to the far right of the surgeon.  The kids got to try their own surgeries--peeling a grape.

Zeke didn't do too bad!  It doesn't surprise me at all, seeing as he is the Mario Kart champion around here.  He was too short, so he had to stand up, though.  LOL.

There's the "patient".

Micah and Kathi took turns, too.  Kathi also did really well once they got the right position worked out.

We could watch the operation from the screens around the room.  The arm actually has two cameras, so that there is one camera for each of the surgeon's eyes...this allows the surgeon to have appropriate depth perception.  Waaaayyyyy cool.  Our hospital has two of these machines.  They have had one for about 5 years.  This one they have only had since July.  It has better graphics, one nurse said.  :)  We are ranked fairly high in the country for urology--yay!
Next up we stopped in this room which has an O-arm Surgical Imaging System.  This is where they do back/spinal surgeries and place screws in the spine.  The imaging technology is really spectacular.  We also got to look through a microscope,.

This O.R. is for bone injuries/reconstruction.  There were a LOT of metal screws and "power tools" in here.  Ouch.  This woman did a great job of explaining how you separate your emotions to be able to do the job.  She said it's just like going out to the garage to work--you can't think about how much it is hurting the person, but rather how you are fixing them.

This woman is part of the anesthesiology team.  She had a really cool device that looked like a shoe horn with a camera in it.  She inserted it into the "patient's" mouth and we could see down the throat and the vocal cords.  Then she inserted the ventilator tube between the vocal cords and hooked him up to the vent.  (He was just a mannequin).  She explained that this all happens after the patient is asleep and that the tube is removed before the patient wakes up.  So the patient totally misses ever having the tube in their throat.  What in the world did they do before they had these cool cameras???  :)

Our final O.R. tour was the room where they perform cardiac surgeries.  Our hospital also ranks high in the country for cardiology.  This nurse was pretty awesome at showing off the equipment she had set up.  She is responsible for operating the bypass machine during surgery so that the patient still has clean, oxygenated blood circulating through the body.  She is also responsible for stopping the heart and making sure it stays stopped while the surgeon works.  This is the room that Mitch would not have done well in.  There was some real blood for the kids to touch if they wanted, and the screens were showing a heart surgery--I think it was a valve replacement, but I don't remember for sure.  I was amazed at the table full of instruments and things needed to perform the surgery.  I have no idea how they keep it all organized and straight.  Something else that baffled me is how they are going to get the rooms all clean again after having so many people visiting!  I asked one nurse who just replied, "I'm not going to worry about that tonight."  :)

Can you tell that I was pretty stoked?  It was a fun trip and I loved learning.  Everyone was so kind and willing to share about their jobs.  It was easy to tell that they enjoy what they do, but that they also enjoy sharing with others.  I hope that the kids were inspired!


  1. Oh wow...that sounds like quite a night! How neat of the hospital to do something like that! I bet that they end up getting a lot of kids interested in those fields!

  2. That's really cool! What a great experience for the kids to get a real look at how part of a hospital works.