“How was his physical exam? Did you find an opening there to point to the safety of spinal verses general anesthesia?”
“I never got to examine him. I think he would have killed me if I touched him.” Wally’s eyes bulged.
“What? Let me see the history sheet.” I saw Sgt. Marbles was a smoker. “He smokes so there’s a foot in the door. How extensive is this tattoo? The anesthesia has to be four dermatomes higher than the operative field. The surgeon has to work on the top tattoo first and then the one on the genital area.”
“I never got to see the tattoo or tattoos. I think there’s more than one.”
“Jesus Christ Wally get your ass back down there and complete the pre-op visit. If this marine wants those tattoos removed that bad he’ll do what we suggest or keep his skin pictures forever.”
Wally went back to the ward after calling and telling the nurse to keep Marble there. She implied she had mellowed him out somewhat. Wally went over to the nurse.
“Why is he so irritable? All I want to do is discuss his anesthesia with him.”
She smiled. “Dr. Walters marines are used to being in charge. Being a patient is the ultimate in losing control. Letting someone else take over his body functions is contrary to his training. See if you can make it his decision.”
Wally stared at the cute nurse. “How extensive are his tattoos? I mean I haven’t examined him yet. Where are they?”
“I haven’t seen them either. He’s very protective over who sees them. I’ll send the senior corpsman over with you.”
The corpsman preceded Wally and slammed the chart against the bed again.
“Wha…oh fuck…you again?”
Wally took a deep breath. “Sgt. Marble I have to check your heart and lungs and take a look at the operative site to determine your anesthesia requirements. It’s my job Sergeant. So take off your pajama top.”
The big marine complied with the order. Wally gave him another. “I want you to take six deep breathes through your mouth rapidly to my counting. Then I’m going to see what the cigarettes are doing and we’ll develop our anesthesia plan.”
Wally counted watching Sgt. Marble manage the first three breaths easily. Then the coughing started. “Keep going Sergeant. You do want this surgery done tomorrow don’t you? Three more breaths. Get to it. Four…five… six…. Stop.”
Marble was coughing and wheezing. He was a 2-pack a day smoker and dry air bypassing his nose without humidification would bring about wheezing and secretion entrapment. Wally listened to Marble’s chest. “Sounds bad in there Sergeant. Now let’s see what the surgery is all about.”
The corpsman pointed to Marble’s pajama bottoms. “Drop ‘em to the knees Sergeant.”
Wally’s jaw dropped. Beneath Marine Sergeant Marble’s belly button written in large orange-red block letters was: FOR MARIA. Directly beneath that a one-inch flaming red arrow outlined with purple piping ran all the way down to the base of Marble’s large penis. But it was the tattoo on the tip of the penis that was the jaw dropper: a large bigger than life black and yellow bumblebee.
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