Not your average rooftop shingles

DR DAVEHave you considered surgery as a career but feel that slaving away in the roofing department at Home Hardware isn’t exactly preparing you for a life of scalpels, sutures and law suits? In fact, it may be the perfect place to practice your skills.

I recently shingled my roof. I did it all by myself with a little help from my sons, sons-in-law, neighbours, patients, local fire department, Extreme Makeover crew and St. John’s Ambulance. This project involved multiple trips to the local hardware store and a few to the local emergency department. It dawned on me that the two repair shops were practically interchangeable and had I been the least bit resourceful I could have enjoyed one-stop shopping. The hardware store had most of the bandages and plaster I needed and the ER had most of the hardware. Here are some actual tools used by both Ty Pennington and me, albeit for different reasons:

Staple/nail gun. While not used with the same pneumatic force as a roofing gun, doctors use staple guns to close many wounds in both the OR and ER. The roofing gun, frankly, is much more entertaining as it can be fired with considerable accuracy at the tyrant neighbourhood cat, Edward Scissorclaws.

Saw. A century ago a famous country doctor once said, “The only two things I have in my black bag that I know that work for sure are morphine and my saw”. Things haven’t changed much.

Hammer and chisel. Hip replacements often require rearing back with a hammer and smacking the prosthesis into the leg like a blacksmith hammering a horseshoe, causing the entire body to reverberate. Patients often leave the OR with a new hip but missing dental fillings.

Sandpaper. One of the stranger moments I have experienced in the operating room involved assisting in thoracic surgery. The thorax, as you recall, is that part of the grasshopper between the abdomen and the compound eyes. While repairing part of a lung that was weak and tended to pop, known as a pneumothorax, the surgeon wanted to make the lung adhere to the inside of the chest wall so that they no longer separated from each other. During the course of the operation the surgeon reached for a sheet of sand paper. It actually still had the $0.39 Home Depot price sticker! It had been sterilized and was now about to be used to grate down the chest wall, deliberately inflaming it and hoping for scar tissue.

Drill. The Black and Decker cordless drill is recommended by three out of four neurosurgeons for that burr hole needed in the skull to relieve dangerous pressure caused by a bleed on the brain often sustained from falling off a roof.

Hydraulic lifts [See plastic surgery].

Nails and screws. Used for nailing and screwing bones and joints back together after, say, falling off the aforementioned roof.

So should you come down with a nasty case of shingles, you know the drill. Call Ty or me; we’d love to get you hammered.

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