As a junior intern in 1957 at the Vancouver General hospital my rotation on Surgery required I assist the surgeon and attend the patients on the surgical ward. No matter how you did in medical school, as a junior intern you were the lowest of the low. I had spent hours practising tying surgical knots, one handed and two handed knots, on the bedpost of our apartment bedroom, with thread, so I could assist well and keep up with the surgeon. They were impatient if we couldn't tie and snip fast and neat. My new bride went to sleep as I tied and snipped at the bedpost over and over. I was called in the evening to assist a surgeon who was doing a gall badder. He was a surgeon who occasionally worked at the General so was forced to do his routine surgery at night. Possibly a little miffed. Anyway, I was ready. He was chatty and cheerful though out the procedure and in those days gall bladder surgery by some was done through a mighty incision so there was room for the junior intern to display his skills at tie and snip. As I was doing so well he complemented me on my assistance and inquired about my aspirations. I told him I was a junior intern and hadn't yet decided. He became cross abruptly, his demeanor changed, and said, " I don't work with junior interns. I need the senior intern to help me finish up the closing of the skin." We sat and waited for 15 minutes till the senior intern got out of bed and assisted him for the last few minutes of closure. A pointless point made. The occasional surgeon, sloughed off to the night and only provided with a junior intern. A Rodney Dangerfield moment for him. All my practise on the bedpost underwhelmed. Renewed lessons in status of who you are and who he was and twisted reality.
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