Tracy is a surgical RN. She has a healthy respect for the operating room and doesn’t take lightly the idea of surgery. That sentiment was evident last Saturday when she spoke with a group of 50 women and surgical staff about how she felt when faced with her own surgery. Tracy talked of the fears she had when told of her need for surgery. She worried about the recovery, taking care of her family and the impact of a ‘woman’s surgery’ on her sense of womanhood. She also shared the relief when those fears were not realized – the swift recovery from surgery allowing her to get back to her regular routine, being able to maintain her sense of self, the importance of being in an environment dedicated to women’s surgery, and the relief of her symptoms thanks to the use of a robotic surgical system.
Tracy, other former patients, doctors and staff past and present, came together to celebrate 25 years of a dedicated women’s surgical space at TMC and to educate the public about a tool that is revolutionizing the recovery and pain management of major surgery ‑- the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. Participants had an opportunity to operate the robotic system and to gain a doctor’s perspective. Drs. Gayle Dean, Jeffery Palen, Alton Hallum and Maryam Betheshti shared their experiences and insights, and responded enthusiastically to a barrage of questions from the audience that ranged from the specific to the larger potential of the da Vinci Surgical System.
As patients talked of their experiences, the conversation was often light and sometimes comedic. But the impact of having a dedicated space within the hospital with its own nurses and staff, each of whom can truly empathize with the emotional and physiological implications of their surgeries, was paramount. The importance of privacy, confidentiality and gentle care at this vulnerable juncture in a patient’s life is a focus for the Women’s Surgical Center staff as it has been for the past 25 years. Congratulations to the Joel M. Childers, M.D., Surgical Center staff on 25 years! Here’s to another 25 years, and more, of gentle care and education!