“Nice lady, but she was not easy. No neck at all.” He tapes the tube securely to her mouth, squeezes the black bag to inflate her lungs, closes her eyes with clear tape.
“Not so easy to find her cricoid either.” The nurse exposes the round belly, and screws up her face. “Belly button clamp, please m’dear.” She reaches out, palm wide open. “Probably for the prep too, but I need to get the top layers.”
A man at the opposite end of the room, working at a covered table of instruments, dark green gown, gloved, masked, blue paper hat, brings to her outstretched hand a 6″ long instrument from his set. “You heard Grace wanted me to translate. I tell her, no, I speak Kurdish, Arabic, some French, but no Bulgarian. She says, ‘They are the same aren’t they?'”
“She didn’t.” The surgeon says, then sees the look from Kamil. “Oh, wait, you said Grace.” He chuckles. He is standing, sterile gloves on, by the prep solutions on a small sterile table.
“This is going to be a doozie, Dr. F.” She pulls lint from the umbilicus. “It’s not just a little bit. She’s got her full 68 years worth in here.”
“Oh, don’t tell me that.”
“Well, the top is black. And, oh, there is more, and more… and more yet.”
She continues cleaning out the incision site. There is quiet in the room, some shuffling around, as she pulls out more organic material. “Aha!”
“What? A Volkswagon?”
“Nearly. An umbilicolith.”
Soft laughter. “Good one. Now, I’m afraid of how many gall stones I’m going to find when we get in there, and you already found one in her belly button.”
“Can I get paid for an umbilicolithectomy?” asks the nurse.
“Not unless you are a Nurse Practitioner, sorry,” says Fishman.
“Can’t you make the incision somewhere else? Isn’t that going to get infected?” asks the scrub tech.
“We can, and with her now, I’ll certainly go above a bit. But especially with her, I gotta know where the anatomy is. That is our safe landmark.”
“And so grandma’s advice to wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident is useless. The ER will cut that off and not notice. What you really got to do is keep your belly button clean, in case they need to do a lap appy, or gall bladder,”the nurse says, crinkling up her nose. “I’m down to the earliest archaeology, and it’s starting to smell.”
“Stop, you’re making us all sick,” says the surgeon.
“Hey, I have an immaculate umbilicus. I’m just telling you what I’m finding in this poor woman.”
“Here, let me do the rest with the prep. Maybe give her some antibiotics. We can’t take an hour just cleaning that out.” He takes over, pouring the pink soap across her abdomen. “I think I am seeing blue sheet. You really weren’t kidding, were you?”
“I never kid about belly buttons. This one, I am going to tell for the rest of my life.
Written by Zhoen of One Word.