Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Snip Snip

Circumcision.
Today I learned all I ever need to know about cicumcision, as it was my job to assist with four of them. This week I am in the newborn nursery at the hospital, and one of the fun things we do every day is to remove foreskin.
My official job was to use a dropper to give the babies sugar water right before and then during the procedure. The baby would be strapped onto a special board, legs tied down in spread eagle position, and then I would begin giving them drops of sugar (it was probably the first time these new little humans had ever expereience the sensation of sweetness, and the look of delight on their faces when the drops hit their lips was undeniably adorable). We give them sugar water because it makes the babies release endorphins, the body's "feel good" chemical. After a few drops of sugar and once they get a little of the feeling good, the nurse starts injecting lidocaine into the base of their penises to get them numb. During the rest of the procedure, my job was just to keep giving baby the drops of sugar.
I also liked to say reassuring things like, "Better now than later," and " Don't worry, we won't take off too much," or, "I promise this is the meanest thing two women will ever do to you." I think it made the babies feel better, but it also made the nurse performing the circumcision start to laugh, and I thought the babies would like a steady hand rather than the humor.
The nurse who did the job was so quick and efficient that I barely had time to ever really figure out exactly how the skin got taken off. By the fourth job of the day, though, I was able to adequately aim the dropper at the baby's mouth and watch the entire procedure from start to finish. Does it look rather barbaric? Yes. Does the baby seem to be in pain? Not really. Is there a lot of blood? There can be. What happens to the 1/2 inch of skin that gets snipped of the baby's wiener? That I never found out.
So, as you fall asleep tonight, just think that somewhere in this world, there are babies without their foreskins, and there are foreskins without their babies.
Good night.


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