There is some noise in the OR…the quiet, rhythmic whisper of the ventilator, the occasional murmur between the scrub nurse and the circulator..
Sometimes we play a little background music, usually some ’60’s or ’70’s pop, some Motown..
Mostly ,though, for me there is concentration. I’m trying to come up with an example in everyday life, an equivalent degree of single-mindedness.
In an arthrosco…py about 80% of my attention is on a videoscreen so I suppose if you could picture a videogame…but one in which the intent is utterly, completely to do good for a person,and yet all the while being aware of the remote but real possibility of problems.
The concentration is so intense that you become oblivious to your own problems, whether your sick, the kid’s grades…it all goes away and the world becomes that screen and this patient and EVERYTHING else is excluded just for that short little while.
I tell the anesthetist “10 minutes!) to give her the idea to began to cut down on the anesthetic, we’ll be waking up soon.

Wounds closed, dressing on. Time to give the good news to the anxious family…
Maybe a sip of Starbuck’s, check the email
“Dr. Talkington to OR one!” on the overhead.
How blessed I am…=

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