We're a little crazy, about science!

Another OR experiment

Time to dust off my scrubs, it’s back to work for me. In fact, I have been so busy with other things I don’t think I mentioned it, but today is yet another OR experiment. With how well the previous two went, I’m hopeful that this one will go well, but a somewhat alarming email from hospital-PI yesterday may throw a wrench into any plans I had.

I’ve been sitting on this bit of information for a while and today is really the first day I’ve had to talk about it with all the holiday stuff going on and my brief (and probably only) switch to a cooking blog (empanadas here for those who want to make them! haha). Today we’re on OR experiment number eight I believe if I’ve counted correctly. We’re still trying to work out the kinks in the protocol and make sure we’re all dancing to the same beat, but we’re slowly getting better at it.

I’ve had a chance to toy with the data from the past few attempts and I’ve discovered some things that are causing problems so we need to reevaluate the way we’re doing that little dance because it’s affecting our data collection. Thus far we have mostly good data for one of five or six of the different projects we’re working on. It’s five or six depending on how I want to count them, but that’s beside the point. I have some recently good data for a second bit of the experiment, but that’s only two of seven (hopefully three after today). And the rest is scattered result, or no real good data.

Some of it is our fault, we need to get the equipment setup properly, that takes time and there is no time in the OR expect when I’m waiting for the next rush of things to do. It’s serious stop and go style work and you can go from being ready to do something to being rushed to finished in the blink of an eye. We’re learning though and the surgeon we’re working with, who is for those who don’t remember actually “surgeon-PI” since I seem to need a handful of PI’s to keep me in line, is being incredibly understanding with our learning curve. While I joke about having three PI’s looking at my work, I do appreciate each and every one of them, it’s a great little team.

In any case, the other half of the equation is the clinical staff! We’ve had people ignore our wires, step on them, literally drive the hospital bed over them, or just generally disrespect our work area for no apparent reason other than we really shouldn’t be in the OR. We probably annoy a lot of people, but some of the clinical staff that we’re working with has been awesome so that’s been very helpful. They have provided us copies of their collected data, helped us arrange our equipment with theirs, basically we’re all friends at this point. It’s just they don’t understand what we’re doing and we need to communicate better because we’re stepping on each others toes a lot (data wise).

So armed with this new information I’m prepared to make several changes to the way we do things and the way we communicate things. I thought today would be a very smooth day indeed! However, just minutes after I made these realizations, hospital-PI emailed me with some “bad news” and asked if I had time to video chat in the next hour. Of course the wording of the email had me very panicked so I arranged the meeting and it turned out he was being dramatic.

The bad news was that he wouldn’t be in today so I’m doing the experiment solo again. I’m not a fan of doing solo experiments when I can help it, but here we are and I don’t get a choice unfortunately. I may have an extra set of hands while in the OR (I really hope I will anyway), but that hasn’t been confirmed yet, so no idea if that will happen. So instead of a well polished team going in to doing the experiment it’s just going to be me flailing around like a crazy person trying to get it all set up. A fun time for everyone involved for sure.

Luckily surgeon-PI is aware that I will be on my own and has been asked to go easy on me. We’ll see how that works. Now, with that said, it’s time to go get everything ready.


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