Sunday, January 27, 2013

"It all looks like GUTS" -- A YouTube Education

Gosh, don't you just love the internet.  I do, sometimes.  Especially when it comes to videos.  There really is a video for everything.  So guess where I decided to begin my personal research on kidney transplantation.  Noooo, forget WebMD.  Forget Wikipedia.  And I already tried convincing my med school friend to videotape a stranger's surgery for me (it could work with the sneaky camera app!), but she didn't bite. So Jocelyn and I had no other other options except YouTube.  That's right.  If you ever get bored and want to gross yourself out, just type laparoscopic nephrectomy into the search bar on YouTube, on an empty stomach.  And if you decide to watch these videos at work, position your mouse on top of the minimize button for easy, discrete window minimizing abilities. 

One of my favorite videos was this one-- a touching video from UCLA about a brother who donates his kidney to sister:

Since my sister is first up on the transplant donor's list, I could definitely relate to this story.  Growing up, I begged my parents for a sister.  It was crazy how much I wanted a sister!  I never would have imagined that she would give me one of the greatest gifts a person could give.  Now that we're in this situation I look to Jocelyn for so much more than her kidney and her blood type.  I'm six years older than her and I also look to her to calm me down when I'm freaking out about the surgery and needles and anesthesia.  If she's nervous at all, I can't tell.  I'm thankful for that.  One of us needs to be the grown up here. 

With the chances of us both going through this surgery together, Jocelyn agreed to watch the UCLA video and a few others with me on YouTube.  Our initial reactions:  

 In the video, you can see the donor being operated on with long Wall-E arms. And to me, it kind of looks like the surgeons are playing Foosball.  I don't know if they do this still, but the procedure for donors used to be a lot more invasive, usually ending with a long scar somewhere on the donor's side or stomach.  I don't really think Jocelyn should suggest the old "regular type" of kidney extraction.  The chances of the robot arms acquiring a Skynet-type awareness are probably slim to none.  What amazes me more is how doctors can separate the blood and guts from the actual organs on those computer screens.

This makes me wonder how many classes in medical school are devoted to A) learning to recognize organs on an ultra-sound machine and B) learning to use robot arms to extract organs...while staring at a television displaying several questionable objects.