We want to see your photos! Snap some Instagram pics of you or your friends showing your love for all things tb-two*, and tag them with #tb2andyou. The tagged pics will show up in the slideshow below, and the best ones will appear in print on Thursdays.
tb-two* photo galleries
Well, for one thing, it's the coolest high school newspaper in all the land. Watch our video and find out more.
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY SOHINI LAHIRI | King High
As the clock nears 10 p.m., about five hours into my shift, I rub my eyes and adjust my surgeon’s mask. The buzzing lights above me are suddenly too bright, and the constant electronic beating of a healthy heart is somehow pulsating through my brain. Things are winding down in the operating theater, but I am much more alert than I previously was, too tired to be tired. • I’m in India, thousands of miles away from my Tampa Bay home. I’m shadowing a doctor in a tiny hospital in the city of my roots, Kolkata. How did I land this internship? I just showed up Monday morning, and asked.
It’s Wednesday, June 27, and I’m leaning over Dr. Sandip Chatterjee’s shoulder to get a good view of the patient, who is having a benign tumor removed from his face.
Yikes. The last bit of the tumor flies across the room, the nurses and staff hustling from one room to another oblivious to the projectile.
In this particular hospital — although it’s safe to assume other hospitals in the vicinity operate in similar conditions — things are quite different from what we’re used to in America. The hospital is owned by Dr. Chatterjee, a very prestigious position for a doctor, and he is the only physician working there except when he needs the services of a cardiologist. The only areas with air conditioning and ventilation are the ICU and operating theater. During the morning ward rounds, the heat glues my hair to my neck with sticky sweat. The smell of gaping wounds and sight of mutilated body parts could make anyone’s stomach swirl.
The operating theater is three small connected rooms, with no doors in between. So there are usually three surgeries occurring at once, with one anesthesiologist running room to room to monitor all three. No shoes are allowed in the operating theater, meaning any blood, urine or other bodily fluid that spills during surgery can, and will, soak your bare feet.
“Please,” Dr. Chatterjee asks as he sewed up the tumor patient’s face, “if it is possible, stay a bit longer tonight. There will be a C-section after I finish this up.”
My eyes widen. Everything I’ve experienced at the hospital the past few days has been unbelievable. Now, I was being given a chance to watch a new life begin.
Or so I thought.
I follow the doctor into the adjacent room. Here, the next patient, an 18-year-old woman, is already prepped and has anesthesia coursing through her veins. I’m wondering what exactly her story is. Was the baby unplanned? Are her parents here with her? Eighteen is too young for it to be acceptable to be pregnant in this culture, and the hospital staff knows it. As nurses move several beeping machines to and fro, shaking metal tables full of sterilized equipment in the process, I hear them muttering, hissing disapproval.
The doctor turns to me, his spectacled eyes narrowed in thought the only thing exposed between his mask and cap. I see a hint of a toothy grin through his mask, making him look strangely maniacal.
“Will you help with the case tonight?” he asks in his thick Indian accent.
Without thinking, I reply “yes.” I have been helping with cases since I arrived, injecting anesthesia into the IV, squeezing the breathing bag throughout a surgery, keeping an eye on the TV during endoscopies. Why would this case be any different?
As I’m whisked away by a herd of young nurses, I realize I have misinterpreted the doctor’s question. My eyes go wider as they strap a surgeon’s apron over my oversized scrubs. I’m roughly scrubbing my hands with soap and my jaw drops, but no sound comes out. The doctor’s assistant rolls her eyes as I struggle to pull my latex gloves on.
I’m going to — hands on — help deliver a baby tonight.
I take my place across from the doctor and his assistant, peering at the square of flesh exposed on the woman’s belly. Somehow I’m calm now, wondering how exactly this works as the doctor makes his first cut. Dr. Chatterjee uses scissors to cut through more and more layers, signaling to me to hold these layers apart with my fingers so he can cut through to the next.
Instinctively, I did what I was told. After about 30 seconds, the reality of what I was doing hit me. I could feel the texture of the woman’s skin between my fingers. I’ve always wanted to be a trauma surgeon, and the sight of blood has never made me swoon. I was exhilarated.
Finally, a gray patch of hair peeks through. All the nurses and I let out a gasp. Suddenly, the atmosphere is tense. Dr. Chatterjee puts down the scissors; I’m still holding the incision open so we don’t lose sight of the baby. With a gentle push to the top of her stomach, the doctor tries to prod the baby out.
And things start going downhill. The woman wakes up, not fully aware, moaning and throwing her arms. The anesthesiologist is called, and he completely sedates her with another injection through her IV. Her abdomen is flooding with blood and the doctor’s assistant is suctioning it out through a clear tube. In a moment of panic , I think to myself “this baby’s going to drown.” Of course, he won’t — he hasn’t taken his first outside breath yet.
I help the doctor gently push. With another quick nudge, the baby slips out. The doctor’s assistant holds him upside down. He’s wrinkly, and so gray he almost looks blue. All I’m thinking is “this baby is dead, I just delivered a still birth, oh my God.” As a nurse cuts the umbilical cord, the baby’s mouth forms an “O.” Still suspended in the air, he inhales.
And then he screams.
Relief washes over me as they whisk him away for cleaning. But my job is not done. During previous surgeries, Dr. Chatterjee had showed me techniques to stitch patients up, and now it is my turn.
With a little help, and a kick of adrenaline, I am slowly but surely sewing the woman up. Layer by layer, with the doctor’s assistant installing an extra tube that pokes out even after I’m done, to drain any excess bleeding.
It’s now nearly 11 p.m. and I have been working six hours. I head to change out of my scrubs, barely registering what just happened. I call my mom, who thinks I’m exaggerating.
“Wait till I show the pictures the nurses took,” I tell her.
“No, I don’t want to see, I believe you,” she said. I hear a slight gagging over the line.
I leave the hospital with a cheesy smile plastered on my face. I topple into the car my family sent to pick me up, falling asleep immediately.
Back in Tampa, back in high school, I think of the baby, and his mother, every day.