Unfortunately, instincts are not outright screams that a certain bad thing is about to happen. They might present as different feelings for different people, probably varied according to the situation. For me that day, it was a disturbance in my mind that this man was going to surgery without any of his relatives who were just around some minutes ago. A wish that they were there to take care of his personal belonging-nothing much valuable, just his clothes. The relatives’ absence? He is a grown man who does not seem much bothered by them not being present. He says that he was okay with them going to have some coffee while he waited to leave for the theater. They will be back soon and will receive the updates. They are going to wait till the operation is done and will definitely have a chance to see his in the ward before leaving for home.
Anyway, we hand the patient to the theater team and get back to our working station where more patients are waiting for our return as our focusing on this patient had slowed things down significantly. My colleague collects the patient’s belongings and keeps them safe. The next few hours are quite busy and I don’t think much about the theater case. I am completely preoccupied with the current patients. Actually, I somehow forget about him. By 4.30 pm, I have not seen the relatives or heard anything about them. Not that I am thinking about my previous patient at this point.