Do the voodoo

Everybody has one. Even you.

I’m referring to a surgical superstition. You know, the totally irrational little voodoo-mojo-juju things you need to do (or avoid) because you just know it makes your operations go well.

It’s not the sensible things, like placing your sutures well or not slashing through that ureter. It’s the stuff that’s about as sane, rational and well-balanced as a season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. It’s the surgeon’s version of not walking under ladders and avoiding black cats.

Erm, not that we believe in that stuff anyway…

but we totally do.

For some people it’s saying a phrase before starting (‘Let’s rock and roll!’), for  others an object (‘I’m wearing my lucky cystoscopy boots’).

The brilliant fellow in our unit is an extreme example. Before we can begin any surgical procedure she has a host of seemingly random objects to touch and mantras to repeat. This person has become quite infamous for her compulsive presurgical routine and all the scrub nurses know not to interrupt her when she is in the thick of it, as it throws her completely off balance. No harm has ever come to any of her patients because of it and we all accept it as her quirk. In a way, I can understand her need to create a kind of order out of what she perceives as utter chaos (and let’s be real, the minutes before the start of surgery can sometimes be chaotic!)

My little superstition is sartorial. I CANNOT DEAL with a scrub cap that doesn’t match or complement my scrubs. I’m not going to tear the offending item off and burn it in the theatre passage, but when my cap is black and my scrubs are navy I just bloody know this isn’t going to be a good day. Perfectly rational, no?

After I have scrubbed, I plant myself next to the table and I always ALWAYS test the Bovie by holding in each of the buttons on the handset. Once I’ve heard that satisfying beeeep-BOOOOOP sound of a Bovie functioning correctly, we may start. And then, all hell can break loose for all I care- at least I know I’m well dressed and my lightning stick is functional.

Beeeeeeeep – BOOOOOOOOP!!!

What’s your superstition? Please share!