"Huo Mian, you don't need to say any more. It's been decided, so just do as you're told. This is a task assigned to you by the hospital. If the official recovers well after the surgery, I will reward everyone involved with the procedure with bonuses and honors."
Against his expectations, Huo Mian shook her head and stood up. "Director, I don't need awards and honors," she said, "I just don't think I can accomplish this task. I apologize, but I cannot accept this."
"You are really a stubborn child, aren't you?" The director's voice carried a hint of dejection.
"Director, I'm only telling the truth as I see it. This surgery is far too important. If this were delivering a child or something of that nature, I might have been able to help. But with a neurosurgical procedure, I may just be a hindrance to the team. I suggest you find someone more suited for the task."
With that, Huo Mian stood up and headed towards the door. She wasn't about to catch this hot potato.
She was really questioning the director's sanity at this point. The First Hospital had hundreds of outstanding nurses, so why did he have to pick her, an intern from the OB/GYN department, to serve as the scrub nurse for such an important operation? It was laughable, really.
Just as Huo Mian made it to the door and was about to open it, the director's voice sounded again.
"Huo Mian. The truth is, I'm not the one who decided that you should be the scrub nurse for this surgery. The attending neurosurgeon handling this case personally asked for you."
"The attending neurosurgeon asked for me?" Huo Mian turned around in disbelief.
"That's right. The attending neurosurgeon has an odd temper and was even more difficult to invite. It took a lot of effort for us to convince him to perform this surgery, but he had only one request - that you be the scrub nurse. Otherwise, he won't perform the surgery. You should know that there's a life at stake here. The bigwig official is still at our hospital. If anything were to happen to him it wouldn't just affect you and me. The entire hospital will be crippled from the repercussions."
"But" Huo Mian was dumbstruck. "I don't know any attending surgeons. Did he get the name wrong? Are there any other nurses with the same name as me at our hospital?"
"No. You're the only one called Huo Mian. I wouldn't get that wrong."
"But" Huo Mian was still somewhat reluctant.
"Huo Mian, stop saying 'but', we have no time to waste. The surgery will commence three hours from now, and you need to be in the OR in an hour to begin prepping. You'll also need to meet with the other team members."
"Huo Mian, this is an order. You must accept it." Director Wu was getting impatient. His face fell, and his demeanor took on a forceful edge.
Huo Mian fell silent.
She wondered if she would seem overly inconsiderate if she were to resign right now. However, if the surgery were to fail and the official kicked the bucket, wouldn't she be just as doomed?
Huo Mian felt like crying. She should have known that being summoned by the director himself all of a sudden couldn't have possibly been good news.
After a moment of silence, Huo Mian finally nodded.
"That's great. Then you should go prepare now. Be at the Neurosurgery Department's VIP OR on the top floor in an hour."
"Okay." Huo Mian nodded again.
Walking out of the director's office, Huo Mian's mind was a mess of emotions.
When she returned to the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, she saw the head nurse waiting there for her with several other nurses. It was quite the welcoming committee.
"Huo Mian, the director already called me and roughly explained the situation. Hurry, go change, and then perform a full-body sterilization. When you're done, I'll ask someone to escort you up to the operation room on the top floor."
"Uh Head Nurse, it's alright. I can go by myself." Huo Mian was unaccustomed to special treatment.
"No, you can't. This is an extremely important task and you must do a good job."
"Miss Huo, you're so lucky! I heard that the attending neurosurgeon personally asked for you."
"I don't know what's going on as well."
"The attending surgeon isn't a friend of yours, is he? How come nothing as good as this ever happens to the rest of us?" several of the younger nurses whined incessantly.
"Uh I don't know any attendings," Huo Mian replied in the negative.
"Enough, stop talking, all of you. Hurry up and get ready, Huo Mian. I have to remind you that, while it is a good thing that the director trusts you with this task, if you mess this up, the consequence wouldn't be as simple as just getting fired. You know how important this patient is, right?" The head nurse's words were sharp and to the point.
Huo Mian gave a little nod and replied, "I know. If it fails, my life might be over too."
As she finished her sentence, the younger nurses all went pale.
"Now, do you still think Huo Mian is lucky?" the head nurse asked with a darkened expression. "Any of you still want to take her place?"