On the day of surgery, the wind was refreshing, the sun was bright, the sky was clear, and not a single cloud could be found. It was a perfect day to organize a Sports Day.
Lu Wenbin brought with him his seriously cooked pork trotters, ham hock, and chicken feet to the Operating Area's waiting room.
A few doctors surged towards him and divided the food.
Lu Wenbin hugged a food container tightly to his chest. Once Ling Ran approached him, he offered it up like he was giving him an offering. He said with a smile, "Doctor Ling, these are two front hooves I chose among more than one thousand pork hooves. Look at the thickness and observe how chewy it is. I went to a meat processing plant at two in the morning to pick these…"
The doctors around him laughed. "And yet, they are still pork hooves."
"If there can be differences between doctors, then there will naturally be differences in pork hooves as well," Lu Wenbin refuted seriously.
Sitting by the side was Chief Physician Zhao Leyi, who laughed, "Then is your pork trotter Department Director Huo?"
"If one of the pork trotters is Department Director Huo, then what about the other pork trotter?" Resident Doctor Zheng Pei, who also held a pork trotter in his hands, added more fuel to the fire.
Doctor Zhou thought about it. "Just think of it as Department Director Liu of the People's Liberation Army General Hospital."
Zhao Leyi snickered. "Then this pork trotter is a little old, don't you think?"
*Munch… munch munch...*
The other doctors were chatting up a storm when they heard a strange sound.
When they turned their heads to look, they saw Ling Ran sitting on a chair with his back straight, and with gloved hands, he lifted a pork trotter like a cultured person, and ate it swiftly. Some of its juices even spilled on the table.
"Is it good?" Zheng Pei was rather curious.
Ling Ran raised his head and, like a dinosaur swallowing a pig, he gulped down the pork hoof tendon. He thought about it for a while before he said, "It's good."
*Munch… Munch munch…*
The group stared at each other, speechless.
Lu Wenbin smiled faintly. "It's still a pork hoof, but it has more flesh, and the hoof tendon is thicker. Once I cook it, it will become soft and tender. Also, the pork hooves taken straight out of meat processing plants are fresh. These pork hooves I picked are probably from a large pig that weighs up to 440 pounds, and it's from the type that you can rear for only one or two years. You can't keep them any longer than that. If you did, the pork trotters will not be so savory in taste…"
Someone gulped, loud and clear. Everyone in the room ate the pork trotters Lu Wenbin cooked earlier.
When they looked at Ling Ran again, they found that he still had the same expression and action as before, but the pork trotter he held in his hand had become much smaller.
Zheng Pei shook his own pork trotter quietly, smiled, and said the following words with an underlying meaning in them, "Based on what you said, Doctor Ling's pork trotter is rather heavy."
"That pork hoof weighed less than 2.2 pounds when the pig was alive. It's not heavy." When Lu Wenbin said this, the smug look on his face could no longer be hidden.
A normal pork hoof from a normal living pig weighed less than 1.1 pounds. Normally, stew shops that sold pork hooves by weight stocked up pork hooves that weighed around 1.3 pounds. Stew shops that sold pork hooves by unit stocked up pork hooves that weighed 0.8 pounds. In this current era, where the pork industrial chain had developed very advanced technology for the production of pork, the first thing all the people would think of when they saw a pork hoof that weighed beyond a usual pork hoof would be, 'This is a fat pig that has great talent!'
Zheng Pei, who frequently ate pork trotters, had his hands quiver. He put down the pork trotter in his hand and huffed. "I knew it. This is discrimination."
"I can't help it. I'm Doctor Ling's first assistant, you know?" As Lu Wenbin spoke, he drew closer to Ling Ran.
The doctors looked at Lu Wenbin with shock on their faces.
That might be true, but when Lu Wenbin said it out loud, it still sounded rather strange to their ears.
When they looked at Ling Ran, they found that his actions and expression remained the same. He had also finished one of the pork trotters.
"Doctor Ling, are we going to perform a finger replantation today?" As Lu Wenbin spoke, he moved forward, intending to cover up the other food container containing the other pork trotter.
Ling Ran placed his hand above Lu Wenbin's.
Lu Wenbin chuckled. "Um… If you cover it, you'll be able to keep it warm."
Ling Ran asked, "Once I finish it, there won't be any need to keep it warm."
Lu Wenbin was stunned for a while before he immediately revealed an obedient smile. Once he finished speaking, Ling Ran picked up the other pork trotter.
One minute later, Ling Ran washed his hands and face clean before he said, "We'll be performing that finger replantation surgery later before we proceed to the M-Tang technique. We'll only be able to know how many M-Tang technique surgeries we can perform after we know how much time we have left for the day. If we can't finish the number of surgeries we arranged by today, we'll finish them tomorrow."
"By tomorrow... Do you mean tomorrow at dawn?" Lu Wenbin asked.
"Of course. Let's make it four o'clock in the morning. It'll be slightly later than our usual time so we can avoid not having enough rest if we end up performing surgeries late into the night," Ling Ran said these words so naturally that the other doctors could only look at Lu Wenbin with sympathy in their eyes, but no one said anything.
If a chief surgeon wanted to perform surgeries at a certain time, then every single person involved in his group had to perform surgeries at that time. The first assistant and patient had no say in the matter. Of course, the patient could choose not to receive surgery, but if he or she had already decided to receive surgery, then the exact time for surgery would be arranged by the doctors.
And there were actually a lot of doctors who liked performing surgeries at dawn, just like Ling Ran. One of the reasons was because dawn was not so hectic, and it was far easier to get the surgical tools and equipment ready. The other reason was because this was not caused by the doctors' personal habits. When doctors traveled further down their career, it was only natural that they would take up other occupations as side jobs, such as going to medical schools to teach. If they had classes at ten o'clock in the morning, then they had to leave the hospital at nine, and there could be a possibility that they would need to perform ward rounds at eight. If they had other surgeries or other related medical matters to handle in the afternoon, they must choose either dawn or at night to perform the surgeries that they did not manage to arrange into their afternoon schedules.
Naturally, compared to the latter, the former was much more suitable for them.
Hospitals also encouraged doctors to perform surgeries at night. Only performing surgeries during the daytime was a waste of the operating theaters, medical equipment, and other resources.
Of course, the run-down, old, and small hospitals were not bothered by this, neither did they have any doctors who performed surgeries at dawn. They did not have the equipment and skills to perform those surgeries, and they had few patients as well. Their young doctors were used to working from nine to five. Once they get promoted to attending physicians after working hard for a few years, they would not get to the hospital early, and neither would they want to return to the hospital at night. Naturally, they were also the group of doctors who lived longer lives.
Lu Wenbin was well aware of it, and had already accepted this fact.
At that moment, when he heard Ling Ran mention that he would push back the surgery time until four o'clock in the morning, he even felt that his timetable had become somewhat relaxing. He smiled and said, "Then I will drop by at three o'clock to make preparations earlier."
If the M-Tang technique was a powerful technique in orthopedics when it came the professional suturing of flexor tendons, then finger replantation was a powerful technique among surgeons. It did not mean that skilled surgeons must learn finger replantation, but those who learned how to perform finger replantations were all skilled surgeons like Ling Ran.
Lu Wenbin waited for Ling Ran to give his approval before he asked, "Should I go make preparations for the finger replantation surgery now?"
"Yes. The patient had his finger cut off by an electric mahjong table, don't mix it up." Ling Ran could be considered to have given detailed instructions by saying these words.
Doctor Zhou, who had started playing with his phone, instantly became alert. "He was cut by an electric mahjong table? That's a unique case."
Ling Ran nodded. "The patient is a middle-aged man who operates a mahjong house. When he was cleaning the electric mahjong tables, the tip of his index finger was severed. Emergency Medical Care sent him straight over here."
"Huh? The blood vessels at the tip of the fingers are very thin." Doctor Zhou pointed around with his middle finger.
Zhao Leyi said, speechless. "Old Zhou, don't point at others like that."
"Ah, sorry, my bad. Ling Ran, which part was severed?" Doctor Zhou's curiosity had yet to be satisfied.
"Less than half the distal interphalangeal joint. The bone is exposed, and the finger is not completely separated from the rest of the hand."
"But this is quite a difficult surgery, right?"
"The key to the surgery is blood vessel anastomosis. It's not that difficult," Ling Ran said in a very relaxed manner.
If they were to determine a surgery's level of difficulty based on the breadth of the blood vessel, then the suturing of the fingertips was naturally very difficult.
For microsurgeries, this was indeed the main difficulty. The blood vessels at the distal phalanx were only half the breadth of the blood vessels at the proximal phalanx. If the surgeon's hand shook even the slightest bit, the blood vessel will burst; it was incredibly difficult to suture twenty-four stitches into the blood vessels there.
However, since Ling Ran acquired the Perfect Level Finger Replantation Technique, Master Level Suturing Skills, and knowledge about the hand's anatomy, he could still use those skills to assist him in his surgery.
The blood vessels at the distal phalanx may be thin, but they were still no cause for Ling Ran's worry.
"No, I'll have to watch you perform the surgery." Doctor Zhou got up and stretched his body before he picked up his phone to send a message to Huo Congjun. "Department Director Huo, I want to watch Ling Ran perform his finger replantation surgery in the afternoon. I won't be going to the event organized by the CPC General Party Branch."
Before long, Doctor Zhou's mobile phone rang. It was Huo Congjun's reply, reading: [Okay.]
Doctor Zhou smiled smugly as he picked up a full cup of plain water and drained it.
The doctors who had nothing to do followed Ling Ran into the surgery room. Zhao Leyi was a little late. He stayed a little while in the treatment room before he snuck into Ling Ran's operating theater.
Lying on the operating table was the patient. He was around forty years old, had wide shoulders, thick arms, and a big belly. He might be around 220 pounds. He lay on his back, and had been anesthetized. He was hooked up to all kinds of machinery.
When Zhao Leyi looked at the screen above the operating table, he found that the surgeons just begun the debridement; he had just arrived on time.
"I didn't administer him a lot of drugs. I'll see whether he needs to more 'milk' later on," said Su Jiafu to Ling Ran. The milk he spoke of was propofol, and he had given that drug the name because its appearance was similar to milk.
Even Su Jiafu did not have enough experience handling a fatty who weighed around 220 pounds. He was worried that he did not administer enough drugs, but he was also worried that the patient's breathing would stop.
Ling Ran continued the debridement with his head lowered. He only made a sound to acknowledge what Su Jiafu said.
Zhao Leyi quietly walked closer before he used his elbow to nudge Doctor Zhou. He asked, "Where are we in the surgery?"
"The exciting part." Doctor Zhou smiled.
Zhao Leyi asked, "Exciting in what sense?"
"You won't be able to imagine that the blood vessels in the fingertips of a fatty who weighs around 220 pounds is only at only 0.005 inches. Are you shocked now?" Doctor Zhou asked.
Zhao Leyi broke into laughter.
The diameter of an artery in a normal person's fingertip was usually about half the diameter of the blood vessel in a finger, which was about 0.007 to 0.011 inches. A diameter of 0.005 inches was indeed a little small, and it was indeed not fitting for a middle-aged man who weighed more than 220 pounds.
"The patient is even an owner of a mahjong house. He wears a large golden necklace." Doctor Zhou added.
Zhao Leyi could no longer hold back, he cackled and shook his head. "It's a pity that this is just a professional joke, or else I could retell that joke to my wife, and she'll definitely laugh her a*s off."
"Then you'll use the chance to sleep with her, right?" The nurse who was supposed to be by the operating table was by their side. She naturally continued the conversation, just like how things were supposed to go in an operating theater.
"So, the key to whether you can sleep with your wife lies in a forty-something-year-old owner of a mahjong house who weighs more than 220 pounds." While Doctor Zhou maintained his composure, he added salt to the wound. "It would be easier if you bought an LV handbag for your wife."
Zhao Leyi was just about to retort when he heard the word "LV". He instantly lost his mood to chat in the operating theater, sighed, and said, "My wife no longer likes LV."
When Zhao Leyi spoke next, he sounded like he was boasting. "There are plenty of people who have LV bags beside her. She now wants Chanel."
"A Chanel for you to be able to sleep with her for one night? Old Zhao, your wife is a bit expensive." Su Jiafu added with a chuckle. There were plenty of benefits when he performed surgery with Ling Ran, but the shortcomings were also very obvious—there were no diversions during the surgery, and the atmosphere for a chatting session was constantly absent. The chief surgeon refused to chat, the assistants quaked in their boots while performing their tasks, and the nurses could not let go of the operating theater either. For an anesthetist, this kind of operating theater was just like a hypnosis chamber.
But if there were a few doctors there to watch the battle, it would be different, everyone could laugh and joke with each other as time flew.
When the surgery had progressed to its final stage, some people began eying Su Jiafu's stool, but he would only expressionlessly refuse them, and not actually get mad.
"The blood vessel is done." Ling Ran said as he raised his head, instantly making the lively atmosphere in the operating theater disappear.
Doctor Zhou looked at his watch. Only one hour had passed.
"This guy!" Zhao Leyi also looked at the time, and he immediately lost his mood to chat. He had never sutured blood vessels with a diameter of 0.005 inches before.
Usually, emergency doctors did not have the chance to suture blood vessels like this. If the blood vessel was at the fingertip, the doctors would just let the blood flow from similarly-sized blood vessels. After a period of time, the blood vessel would find its own way to stop the bleeding.
However, Zhao Leyi knew just how amazing it was to suture a blood vessel with a diameter of 0.005 inches in an hour.
He was not the only one who knew it, all the other doctors in the operating theater knew it. Hence, the group was a little dispirited. They lost all motivation to continue chatting.
However, the group did not intend to leave, and because of that, the atmosphere in the operating theater became gloomy again.
Su Jiafu was the most sensitive to this change. He also thought of a terrifying scenario. Next time, if Ling Ran decides to perform finger replantation surgeries long-term, then it would mean that his surgeries would last for five to ten hours, and it would mean that there would be the same amount of silence in the operating theater.
Cutting open a person's body without a single word at three o'clock in the morning in the operating theater? Su Jiafu believed that this scene did not suit him.