“Heart surgery is the ultimate form of body art- no question about it…”
I’m doing some perfusion traveling as I am taking my show on the road. As such, every once in awhile I will be dropping a few notes and pictures of places visited, and observations made. In a sense, the beginning of a scrap book on Open Heart Surgery in America (and other places if possible).
44 hospitals and counting (places I have put someone on CPB).
To view the entire series- click here
Why Body Art?
Part of what has made Circuit Surfer’s uniquely successful is the ability to connect cardiac surgery to metaphors in life, and remind us not only of our own humanity, but also why we put so much of our personal affairs on hold- in order to make our patients’ lives continue on- and hopefully better.
Every operation has it’s own story as does each patient in their own way- have a connection to you, the perfusionist. All of us have run across patients that presented with their personally unique tattoos, and certainly that has elicited quite a few conversations as to the meaning, the significance, or a suggestion (whether correct or incorrect) of the lifestyle choice we see before us. It’s a natural transition to apply preconceptions to what we see in front of us- and make some sort of judgement whether good or bad. In some cases- what we see directly in front of us is all we have to go by (emergencies and lack of a coherent H & P).
Back in the day, it was a sure sign of active duty in the military, some have associated tatoos to be a sort of ghetto thing/prison or gang related, and in the past decade- tattoos have evolved to become body art, and considerably less demonized, and more respected.
Now in terms of “Body Art” as a metaphor for what we do- well that connection is obvious. Heart surgery is the ultimate form of body art- no question about it… A total rerouting of your coronary circulation system, or a modification and reshaping of any anatomically deficient valve or critical vascular structure. It’s called the “zipper club” for a reason. The surgeons’ ability to repair a critical defect, and make it functional- or even improve cardiac performance is what distinguishes a technician from an artist.
In relation to this series, as a locums perfusionist, it has significance because on a day with no cases we actually have a chance to get out and live a little. So I decided to get a tattoo here in my home town of West Lafayette.
The story below is a chronology of my choice to pick my own form of body art as a personal preference, as opposed to body art out of necessity (sternotomy = reshaping of coronary vasculature = tattoo).
So BE unique today and express yourself 🙂
The ULTIMATE Body Art…
Revolution Tattoo, (Click to view FB Page)
Big day! About to get me a TAT!
(wonder how that’s gonna feel?)
Well- they have a good “Health Grades” score 🙂
Is this what it feels like in Pre-Op Holding?
Long Hallways- waiting for the big-Op…
The DOCTOR IS IN! Meet your Artist… (Mr. Chad Leever)
This is how the patient see’s the Anesthesiologist…
And here is the 1st assistant- Asia
(also a Tatoo artist- click on her image)
My view as a patient- note the lamps and lights…
Well the tattoo was done in two stages (based on my on-call status) and it was a very unique experience. I caught a glimpse of a different side to life, and it was fun to get away from the medical paradigm we all live in, and peek into another dimension so to speak. The crew was great, Chad is excellent as well as Asia. Very good at what they do, and have the same level of self confidence and pride in their work as anyone on our heart teams.
The banter in the tattoo parlor was no different than what we do as we are setting up for a case, and there were remarkable similarities in terms of the process.
Laying on the table here was strikingly similar to what a patient experiences in our operating room…
And… The big reveal! A super nice TAT- and a tribute to my wife Kashmir!