It is a common and traditional practice for a surgeon to display a removed organ after his efforts.
The patient’s relatives go goggle-eyed as the surgeon describes graphically how difficult the operation was, how risky, and how brilliantly he managed the situation to save the patient.
The bigger the tumor, the better. If, however, a removed gall bladder has only one or two small stones, the surgeon is looked at ( “Oh, is that all? My mother, who was operated by Dr. Enviable, had two hundred and eighty stones”) with raised brows and curled lips, as if the surgeon was at fault for not having produced stones of adequate dimensions. The size problem always crops up to haunt men. The specimen removed at operation is, clearly, of great importance to people.
I have been perplexed in the past, when I was
environmentally colored greener, by certain instances of human behavior (in this regard). Once, after doing a circumcision, I went to the parents to reassure them that all was well. The mother insisted on seeing the specimen (the foreskin). We had to scavenge the trash buckets to retrieve the small piece of skin. It seemed that unless I showed them the specimen, I would be clearly identified as a cheat who was charging for nothing, under the pretext of doing a surgery.
After hernia surgeries, people are very disappointed when I come out without any grotesque piece of flesh in hand. So, nowadays, I carry a packet of the mesh that is implanted in one hand and the bill for my services in the other.
When it comes to private parts, you will be amazed to know of peoples’ attitudes. If you asked a man to display his wife’s breasts to his relatives and friends, he would probably assault you. But that same man (in the company of six other people) may well ask to see the specimen of a mastectomy done for his wife’s breast cancer.
Today, I was operating at a hospital where the operation is normally shown live at the reception, where the relatives of the patient watch the proceedings. This patient’s husband was very eager to watch the operation live. The operation was a laparoscopic hysterectomy. As I was, from inside the abdomen, incising the vagina with my instruments (just prior to removing the uterus), I thought that this, most private, part of a woman’s anatomy was being displayed in public, though from the inside. No skin was visible, but the inside of the vagina was what was on sight.
Is a private part private only if seen from the outside? Or is it important only when the viewer realises what is being seen? The relatives, after the operation, wanted the specimen to be displayed, not realising that they wanted to see the innards of a woman, which they would never dare to otherwise.
Is there something here I am missing? I don’t understand people’s notions of private parts.