There’s a cardinal rule that one needs to know when embarking on the surgical path- it’s cleanliness.  Paying close attention to aseptic technique, sterility, and perfecting the antimicrobial phenomenon which is the surgical scrub.  One can never be too clean.

I’ve always been a clean and tidy girl. My home is never a mess, laundry always done, dishes washed. I’m one who’s very organized and puts everything in it’s place. I’m not one to leave a messy trail behind, but when I began my surgical technology classes I realized that there’s a whole other level of clean. It’s called aseptic. Derived from asepsis. What does the word mean? Well, in medical terminology, the prefix -a always means without. And sepsis meaning microorganisms, or infection. So aseptic literally means without microorganisms or infection. This is what we live by in the O.R. However, the problem with asepsis is that, it’s not sterile. Sure, you get the bugs off, but is it sterile? No. Every move you make in the O.R is methodical, and carefully calculated. You have to be so careful not to bump your sterile table when you’re still unsterile or touch the instrument case (unsterile) with your sterile gloves on. The funny thing is, as the months went by, I found myself incorporating many of these methodical cleanliness mantras into my own life, outside of the classroom.

For example, one thing that I never used to do, is sanitize my hands after each trip to the gas station. I never used to think about it, just fueled up and left. But the amount of people touching that gas handle, all the germs squirming on their hands… deposited onto that handle, ewww! Makes it a prime germ hot spot. Or, take for instance public toilets. This is a big one. I could observe all day and see how many people actually use their femoral muscles and squat instead of lazily plopping their bum right on the seat. Even before starting my classes, I very rarely sat on a public toilet seat. Regretfully though, there were times where I put my bum on the seat, but never without a cover. But still, certain germs can penetrate through a thin paper toilet seat covering. Now, I always squat (tightens the thigh muscles) and flush by kicking the handle with my foot. I even open the door with a napkin on the handle. It’s funny how the tedious, almost O.C.D.-like cleanliness rituals have become ingrained in my everyday life. I’m not a parent, but one day when that time comes, I know I’ll be one of those moms going around Lysol-ing all the toys and making sure my little one knows to cover their mouth when coughing. Just saying… 😀