I spent the majority of the day observing surgery. It is pretty much the same process and technique that we would think is “traditional” in the US. Subtle differences in premeds and surgical scrubs were noted but overall I understood exactly what was happening without a translator. There are a few toys that Dr. Ohta has in the surgery suite that make me a little jealous. Attached to the center of a surgery light is a camera that projects to a TV within the suite. I could comfortably watch the removal of an invasive adrenal gland tumor and kidney without having to crane my neck over Dr. Ohta’s shoulder.
Most impressive was what I like to call “efficient hustling.” The assistants and techs were quick, with no wasted steps or time spent gabbing at the water cooler. If there was any complaining, it certainly didn’t show on their faces while they spoke to each other. I got the feeling of a real unified team effort during each and every surgery. Dr. Ohta must be very proud of his staff.
Lunch was provided as a bento box which was very tasty. Veterinary assistants on break offered me chips and a seasoned wafer, which was really nice and made me feel welcome. It’s funny how a language barrier can be broken down with yummy treats! I suppose begging dogs have mastered that concept in their own way.
We had dinner in Nagoya with the MSD Animal Health reps Umemura and Kondo. It was a French restaurant high up on the 51st floor. The views were spectacular, similar to the sprawling lights of Las Vegas. Dinner was also very nice, though I’m not sure I would seek out thymus as a dinner entree in the future. Conversation around the table was lively, despite my lack of understanding. As Umemura and Kondo asked me all about my trip and impressions of Japan, I realized how I am extremely blessed to have been chosen for this experience. It is truly the trip of a lifetime!