We're a little crazy, about science!

Mad dash to the OR

Today has been a day! The trick with doing research in the OR is that the schedule for the surgeries don’t get finalized until the day before and sometimes even then things change at the last minute. I’m not sure when the schedule was finalized or if anything changed, but this morning I got a text that threw everything out of order. The best laid plans of mice and men…

As of last night, the plan for today was to go to the VA for my post surgical follow up. Spoiler, it’s not great, but it could be worse. That’s a post for another time though. From there I would perform an assessment I do every other week. Normally I do them Thursday or Friday, but this week with Thanksgiving just a few days away required us to do it today. From there I would have a few hours to kill before we were in the OR and it would be a long day because I wouldn’t get done until 7-8pm. Not fun, but not too bad either, sometimes research requires you to work weird hours and it wouldn’t be the first time I had to do that.

That was the plan anyway.

I tend to get up later than my counterparts at the hospital. I make up for it by keeping odd hours and working whenever I feel up to it. Seriously, for someone like me, it’s a great setup. So when I woke up this morning I wasn’t super surprised to find a few texts from our lab group chat. We received word from surgical-PI that the surgery got bumped up, to late morning or early afternoon. Which placed it squarely between my VA appointment and the assessment I needed to do. They literally couldn’t have picked a worse time if they had tried.

With one text message my day went from long with large gaps to slightly shorter with no gap at all. From the moment I woke up to literally me writing this right now it’s been non-stop chaos. Pure and unadulterated chaos. I rushed to get out the door, rushed to the VA, then rushed to the hospital, got into the OR for the experiment, then when we finished I had to rush to the lab to perform the assessment with our participant. There are still things that need to get done, but for now I have a moment to breathe at least.

With the rush to get, well everywhere, my stress level has been pegged at about a 12/10 and I was literally shaking in the OR trying to get everything set up fast enough without any real prep time. Which brings us to the real point of the post I guess, the big day in the OR with our experiment.

This was attempt number four and it wasn’t as smooth as we had hoped it would be, but it went. I’m happy to share that for the first time since we started this attempt we got some useful data. Not all the data we hoped to get, but it’s a step in the right direction. I would be celebrating if I didn’t feel like I ran a marathon, which really I did. There was a lot of literal running, or at least power speed walking, running is typically frowned upon in the hospital.

We learned a few valuable things for next time (which is always good) and with any luck we’ll be faster and smoother the next time around. We were a bit pressed for time, the equipment (of course) decided to freak out on us as we set up, and someone ripped our cables away on accident before the part of the surgery we were really interested in collecting our data from, so we had to work around the surgical team reattaching the cables as the operation was going on.

In short, not ideal, but it gives us a great way to fix the problems for next time. More importantly the data sharing we were doing with the clinical team worked out well and there were no panicked phone calls to cancel contracts or people questioning what we’re doing in the OR to begin with. That alone made things at least 58.19% better than the second attempt.

We’re already planning our next set of experiments and we’ve made a few friends on the clinical team who have some interesting suggestions for us, so despite the rush, it was a pretty good attempt. I’m pretty confident that the next round will go even smoother, but for now at least we have some new fancy data to play with. I’m excited and even hospital-PI asked when I would start with the data and suggested he was going to start playing with it too.

We’re both very excited about this experiment and the data we’re collecting from it. Really it’s experiments, not experiment since this is a Frankenstein’s monster of an experiment stitched together from several different things we want to try. I’ve recently added yet another (small) part to this experiment which will answer another interesting question we wanted to try and find the answer to.

Today was a wild day, but at least we have something to show for it. I’m excited for our next attempt, but I’m hoping it won’t be a mad rush to get ready. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how that one turns out though.


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