I wonder, as I sit here waiting for the call that Teddy’s out of the OR and I can go be with him, if the pediatric anesthesiologist fully understands his role.
Oh, I’m not talking about medical procedures, the actual process of getting a child to sleep safely and waking them back up. I’m talking about their role in the family.
No sane parent would hand their child – much less infant – over to a total stranger who they just met 15 minutes ago. Most of us would call such an action irresponsible, and it goes against nearly every parenting instinct there is.
Yet the anesthesiologist expects exactly that. And more. Every surgery he’s had, at some point, he is transferred from my care to the anesthesiologist’s care. Literally, as I physically hand my son to the anesthesiologist to be carried into the OR, and also metaphorically, as I am not in charge of his care any more while he’s in the OR. He’s completely under the care of that anesthesiologist. (in this realm, anyway.)
I am expected to hand over my infant to a stranger, in a strange setting, to be carried away into a strange and probably scary room where strange people will do scary things to him. And his very life will be in this stranger’s hands.
I wonder, does the anesthesiologist consider this as he takes my infant from my arms? Does he ponder the deeper implications of the transaction? Or is it just a job to him? Just another kid to anesthetize? Just another surgery, just another day at work?