The other side

Bruce Powell
Med J Aust 2020; 212 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50532
Published online: 23 March 2020

If I am allowed to anaesthetise again, I'll share a few quiet reassuring words with my patients

I had spent the past 25 years working in hospitals, intensive care units (ICUs) and theatres. So many thousands of operations on so many patients, and yet here I was, fearful and frankly embarrassed. I lay motionless, face fixed in an unconvincing grin for the benefit of former colleagues as I floated past them, a single off‐white sheet covering my goosebumps. Just another patient this time. Paraded down the corridor; relatives and staff trying to guess whether you were haemorrhoids or a vasectomy. I was no longer the operating room DJ, “gasman” and “wannabe comedian”. Rather than choosing a playlist and sipping the first of many espressos that morning, I had stiffly, illegibly signed a consent form and wet my parched lips from a plastic cup.

  • St John of God Health Care, Perth, WA


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.