The year was 1996. My wife had graduated from Medical School a few years earlier, and she was in her second year of residency at a large university medical center.
The time was about 1:45 in the morning. And we were Wrestling the Anaconda.
Ok, I need to back up a little bit. My wife did her residency in Pathology. She studied in both Anatomic and Clinical Pathology – but this particular year was strictly clinical work. Although most people think that pathologists primarily perform autopsies (which is the “Anatomic” branch of the specialty), the majority of pathologists are actually on the “Clinical” side of the business. Clinical pathologists run all the hospital lab functions – blood banks, specimen analysis, frozen sections, lab tests, etc. During surgery for example, if a doctor is removing a cancerous cyst, they will send the specimen to the lab to have the margins checked. The pathologist needs to analyze the lump, diagnose it while the patient is still under anesthesia, and make sure that the surgeon has cut into “clean” tissue all the way around. If not, the surgeon needs to cut a little more.
Most of these specimens are pretty small – typically a few millimeters up to a few centimeters. But not the Anaconda. That was More...