Third World Operating Room

The road unpaved
And a building of stucco
Children play in the gutter
As run through the clinic

Halls dimly lit by sunlight
And dust on “sterile” floors
Women are lined with their babies
Husbands close by their sides

We screen each patient
And schedule a procedure
Most want a tubal ligation
With hesitation and in secrecy, they consent

Case number one: TAH due to heavy bleeding
Scrubbed and gowned with cave lights on our heads
Due to poor lighting in the OR suite
“knife please…uh, cuhara?  I mean, cuchillo por favor?”
We start in the third world operating room

Open windows and dust filled air
There’s a spider on the wall
And flies on the blue drapes
Sterile technique has a whole new meaning
In a third world operating room

“Quick! Pass the dever – a bee’s in her belly!”
More bees are soon to come
“I think they’re coming from her hair!”
Water to irrigate hoping infeciton won’t brew
All as a cause of this third world operating room

“Suction, please…what was that?”
The canister exploded now a blood-covered suite
Laps will suffice this time, and finally we’re done
With case number one
In our third world operating room.

Outside the clinic women pin the line
Sheets of blue flapping in the wind
Our gowns and booties and gloves out to dry?
Hmm…I guess an autoclave will do
Novel concept, in this third world operating room

We check on our patients in the ward
All pre- and post-ops lay together
No sinks with soap or convenient Purel
From patient to patient, checking and prepping
For surgery, in our third world operating room?!

We’re ready for case number two
Another TAH?  What’s her history?
We’re not sure – she doesn’t even know
What other challenges will arise this time
In our third world operating room?

Jillian Busch, Class of 2005