let's have some surgery

October 14th, 2006

If you've ever worked on a car you know the way your hands look afterwards. Or even a bigger job working on a bike will give that effect. It's the kind of dirt that doesn't come off with a wash, you have to scrub the skin and ideally use some special detergent to get it all. This doesn't happen in one go, you have to scrub for at least 30 minutes, maybe more, to get your hands reasonably clean. There will still be dirt under your finger nails that won't come out, but you throw in the towel and consider it a job done well enough. Now this is a scenario that mechanics have to deal with everyday, it's part of the job.

But this is the same kind of scrubbing that surgeons do before surgery. Now, to draw a parallel here, I could understand that kind of meticulous scrubbing after a surgery. You've done the job, you have blood and tissue everywhere, that'll need a good scrubbing. Of course, you'd like your hands reasonably sterile before you put them into a patient. But here's the thing - surgeons wear gloves. Wouldn't it be enough to just wash the gloves? No wait, the gloves are sterile, they come right out of the box, they're used only once and then they go in the trash. So what's the deal?

To make matters worse for the surgeons, mechanics is actually a more precise science than surgery. You can replace a piston with a piston, a screw with a screw. And the whole vehicle comes apart just as it was put together, with no damage caused by opening it up. Surgeons are more like those people who drill for oil, they can't get in without drilling/blasting the outer surface and even then they're not really sure where they are exactly. And when they find the problem, the best they can do is carve out a sizable slice and dispose of it. In the process, they will probably do some minor damage in the area, cause it's a small space and it's hard to move around in there.

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9 Responses to "let's have some surgery"

  1. erik says:

    Never mind surgeons, what about dentists? How many gloves do they use? Dental procedures don't take that long, and there's always a lot of people who are just coming in for checks and they got nothing wrong with them (if they do, they gotta reschedule for the procedure anyway). That's gotta be like 75+ people on one day, 75+ pair of gloves. Now I know where the huge bills come from.

  2. numerodix says:

    Yes, but then I couldn't use my analogy about mechanics

    75 in a day? What kind of super efficient robot dentist do you go to? I'd say they get about 10-20 people a day, depending on how long the appointments are. The shortest slot is 15min, so if they did a whole day of just those (which is unlikely), it would be 32 patients.

  3. erik says:

    15 minutes are you crazy? I never had anything wrong with my teeth when I was a kid, I would spend 30 seconds in that chair every time, absolute maximum.

    Now I know I'm special, but surely there are others?

  4. numerodix says:

    Is this a Dutch thing then? No way would a dentist spend less time on me than 15 minutes, there's meet and greet, the how-do-you-pronounce-your-name followed by where-are-you-from. All this while sitting in the chair, waiting for them to get all their tools ready for 2 minutes. Then she would come around, grab something metal, start poking around, grab a small spoon-mirror, shift to the other side of the mouth, grab yet another tool, do something with that. Then they look at old notes, x-rays, some more chit chat, and finally it's over. A solid 15-20. 30 seconds is just enough time for her to go find some gloves, put them on and come back to the chair.

  5. erik says:

    That's ridiculous. All my life I've been going into the dentist, I shake his hand when I come in, he asks me if I've had any trouble with my teeth as I sit down in his chair, I say no, he takes the tools his assistant's been cleaning, has a look around in my mouth, does the poking thing, he says everything's fine, I get up, I shake his hand again and I'm out.

  6. erik says:

    BTW is it cool or fun or something to just throw x-rays at someone? I mean, those aren't exactly healthy. The only reason the dentist in NL would ever take x-rays is when he's removing wisdom teeth that are positioned in a tricky way or something.

  7. numerodix says:

    Oh I've had x-rays taken tons of times. Especially so when you haven't been to the guy in a while or if you change your dentist, then they always want that spyplane-photo to look at.

  8. erik says:

    What the hell for? If nothing aches and there are no cavities in the teeth, you're fine.

    Right?

  9. numerodix says:

    I don't know, we could bring in a dentist on this for an expert opinion. I basically don't dispute what they do, I don't feel confident in that area.