First day of surgery; my teeth are ch-chattering
My hands are both shaking and my pink clogs are clattering
I’ve heard all the stories, and I know what they say
But I know nothing of surgery; that’s why I’m afraid
Because surgeons are scary, especially that one
Who calls all of us “stupid”, and thinks women are “dumb”
And, with all of these thoughts, my mind is a blur
For, at the end of the day, I’m still a little girl
But I get my assignment, though my whole body’s shaking
The ground seems to spin, as if the earth itself’s quaking
But somehow I manage to find room 20A
With a patient who’s here for with right quadrant pain
She says she wants surgery, wants it ASAP
She rambles for a bit, and then questions me
She asks about the surgeons, if they’re up for the task
I said, “Ma’am, believe me. You’ll have only the best.”
I cringe in my heart as I wonder if it’s true
How can I know they’re the best when it’s not yet Day Two?!
But I calm down the patient with happy little lies
And tell her she’s fine, that she’s not going to die
And when she decides to have the surgery at last
I exit the room with a shudder and gasp
I give myself a moment to calm myself down
I debrief with the doctor, then turn back around
I find the room again, knock before going in,
My eyes meet the patient’s; her lips form a grin
But as soon as the doctor walks into the room
The patient says, “Doctor? Is that ‘best surgeon’ you?”
“I’m not sure about best,” says the doc, with a smile,
“But I’ll do my best to help you for the next little while.
I hear you want surgery! Well, that’s the part that I do.
And, with our whole team here, we’ll help you pull through.”
“Actually, I don’t know,” the patient says, really fast.
“I think I’ll reconsider. I’ve had surgery in the past.
He really was quite nice, one of the best I’ve ever had
I think I’ll go back to him, and see what he says.”
“Okay,” says the doctor, with a heart-warming smile
Okay, she says, and we leave the room single-file.
But, just as I’m leaving, the patient calls out to me
“Dearie,” she says softly, “Just a minute, if you please!
What it wrong with this place? What strangeness is this?
Something here’s clearly wrong, something’s oddly amiss!
I won’t have the surgery here, although it’s hurting
Though I’d have it right now if the surgeon wasn’t a woman!”
Oh, my heart stopped there, and I felt my tongue freeze
Because the surgeon’s a woman? That’s not a disease!
What strange world is this, where care is refused
Because the surgeon’s a woman? What a backwards excuse!
What a day to begin with, with a patient who wouldn’t
Have her surgery done here
because the surgeon’s a woman!