In The Operating Room

I thought this might come up in class on Tuesday. Since it didn’t, I thought I’d post about it here.

I’ve always been sensitive to the intensity of certain scenes in books, movies, even training videos. Most people take “sensitive” to mean I get upset easy, or I’m squeamish. And, while I have been brought to tears, once or twice, (damn you, King’s Green Mile!), I think my strongest reaction is what most would call “squeamish.”  Though, to me, it differs a little.

No, I am not a fan of the modern “gore fests” that we now call horror movies. Never was a fan of seeing that which should be on the inside of the body, on the outside. But it isn’t the blood, or the gore, that bothers me. I cook! Death is all present in the kitchen.

It’s the pain. It’s the intensity of the emotions connected with the situation. Ironically, many of the situations, of urgency, have an aspect of medical – life or death – involved.For instance, in high school, I passed out (quietly, unbeknownst to everyone else) at my table while watching “Saving Private Ryan.” The scene that was too much for me involved the medic describing to the men how to give him morphine, how to stop the bleeding, and so on. Sure there was blood and, sure, it was a lot. But I -KNOW- it’s not real. Somehow, though, my brain doesn’t realize the same thing about the emotions, or the urgency of the scene.

I say all of this because even before reading, “In The Operating Room”, I expected that I would need to be on guard. Something about doctors, hospitals, and the things that go on there (needles!) just put me on edge. So, when I got to the third page and started feeling that fuzzy feeling creep up… I was no longer just reading the story but placing myself in it, and trying my hardest not to imagine what it would feel like to have a doctor amputate my leg, during that time period.

I paused for a bit on that third page. I tried to push on, however, and that feeling came back a bit too quickly for my liking. I did not want to pass out, in the foyer of GCC, in public.. at all. Instead, I penned this little reaction, before I decided to go on. I couldn’t get far enough from the scene, couldn’t get away from the reality.

And, it struck me.. of all the things we’ve read, this is the only one to cause such a strong reaction from me. And, not even about the real carnage of what took place on the front lines, the body parts in ambulances, nor the disfigured men that would never be the same.

It’s this scene where the doctors are talking about the patients as if they were just body parts, as if they are lost causes, about blooding spurting through the air that makes me fuzzy and light headed. Weird.

So, how about any of you? Were any of you affected by any of the stories we’ve read enough to cry? Or to stay up late wondering how anyone could withstand those conditions? Anything more than the expected, “Wow, that was rough?”