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Behind Closed Doors: The Hit List
Shuffle through a day of surgery with these tunes.
Paula Watkins
Publish Date: June 4, 2015   |  Tags:   Opinion
rock concert

It was 10 years ago this month that I started writing "Behind Closed Doors," and in all that time, I think my favorite column was one I wrote later that year, listing a top 40 countdown of song titles that tell it like it is in the OR (osmag.net/wRX3mM). There's been a lot of new music since then, and a lot of it still seems to have something to say to surgical staffers.

  • "Run It," Chris Brown. They're all waiting for those reprocessed instruments, unpulled supplies and/or lab results so they can begin the case, so maybe you'd better put some leg into it.
  • "Photograph," Nickelback. Admit it, you're always tempted to reach for your phone when you pull the blanket off and are met with anatomy, body art or whatever that you'll never see in a textbook and that no one will ever believe you about.
  • "Need You Now," Lady Antebellum. Could you pleeease lend me a hand with this patient's leg? He's 600 lbs. if he's an ounce, and thinking of him in kilos doesn't make him feel any lighter.
  • "Paralyzer," Finger Eleven. What would we ever do without our expert anesthesia providers? Thank you.
  • "How to Save a Life," The Fray. Remember, you need to get your ACLS recertified every 2 years.
  • "Over My Head," The Fray. I don't know about you, but that's how I feel in most vascular cases.
  • "Wrecking Ball," Miley Cyrus. The shape the OR's in after the case that involved 2 each of surgeons, scrubs, first assistants, anesthesia providers and circulators.
  • "So What," Pink. Yes, I did open the wrong instrument. Yes, I also dropped it on the floor. And, yes, I only brought one of them to the room.
  • "Blah Blah Blah," Ke$ha. Some annual in-service training sessions are really boring.
  • "Turn It On," Eli Young Band. Three words I hate to hear from the people at the field when I'm crawling under the table trying to troubleshoot cranky electronic equipment and thought I had it fixed.
  • "Knee Deep," Zac Brown Band. Any code brown is a bad code brown.
  • "Disturbia," Rihanna. The 3-to-11 shift. If you've ever worked it, you understand. (And you wouldn't want it any other way. I'll give you this, it's never dull.)
  • "Get Lucky," Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams. Some nights you're on call but, amazingly, your pager doesn't go off.
  • "Big Girls Don't Cry," Fergie. Because even on your roughest days, your patients are looking to you for support and counting on you to provide them with some.
  • "Forget You," Cee Lo Green. Dedicated to everyone and everything that made your day a waking nightmare. (If you're wearing a mask, you can even lip-sync the non-radio-edit version.) Now, doesn't that feel better?
  • "Gives You Hell," All-American Rejects. To the surgeon who treats his staff and patients like morons: After surgery, we hope that the patient calls you every single day. And then, that you get to be a patient yourself.
  • "As Good As I Once Was," Toby Keith. To all the longtime nurses who are still wearing the scrubs: We just keep getting better.
  • "Daughters," John Mayer. To all the longtime nurses, when we're meeting the new hires at our facilities: Teach the next generation well.
  • "Let It Go," Idina Menzel. At the end of the case, after all the blood, after all the yelling, as soon as the patient is in the capable hands of the PACU nurses, stop in the hall, close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it go.