Read Books Online, for Free
|Round The Red Lamp||Arthur Conan Doyle|
His First Operation.
|Page 3 of 4||
"What ails her?" asked the novice.
"Cancer of the parotid. It's the devil of a case; extends right away back behind the carotids. There's hardly a man but Archer would dare to follow it. Ah, here he is himself!"
As he spoke, a small, brisk, iron-grey man came striding into the room, rubbing his hands together as he walked. He had a clean-shaven face, of the naval officer type, with large, bright eyes, and a firm, straight mouth. Behind him came his big house-surgeon, with his gleaming pince-nez, and a trail of dressers, who grouped themselves into the corners of the room.
"Gentlemen," cried the surgeon in a voice as hard and brisk as his manner, "we have here an interesting case of tumour of the parotid, originally cartilaginous but now assuming malignant characteristics, and therefore requiring excision. On to the table, nurse! Thank you! Chloroform, clerk! Thank you! You can take the shawl off, nurse."
The woman lay back upon the water-proofed pillow, and her murderous tumour lay revealed. In itself it was a pretty thing--ivory white, with a mesh of blue veins, and curving gently from jaw to chest. But the lean, yellow face and the stringy throat were in horrible contrast with the plumpness and sleekness of this monstrous growth. The surgeon placed a hand on each side of it and pressed it slowly backwards and forwards.
"Adherent at one place, gentlemen," he cried. "The growth involves the carotids and jugulars, and passes behind the ramus of the jaw, whither we must be prepared to follow it. It is impossible to say how deep our dissection may carry us. Carbolic tray. Thank you! Dressings of carbolic gauze, if you please! Push the chloroform, Mr. Johnson. Have the small saw ready in case it is necessary to remove the jaw."
The patient was moaning gently under the towel which had been placed over her face. She tried to raise her arms and to draw up her knees, but two dressers restrained her. The heavy air was full of the penetrating smells of carbolic acid and of chloroform. A muffled cry came from under the towel, and then a snatch of a song, sung in a high, quavering, monotonous voice:
"He says, says he,
If you fly with me
You'll be mistress of the ice-cream van.
You'll be mistress of the----"
It mumbled off into a drone and stopped. The surgeon came across, still rubbing his hands, and spoke to an elderly man in front of the novice.
"Narrow squeak for the Government," he said.
"Oh, ten is enough."
"They won't have ten long. They'd do better to resign before they are driven to it."
"Oh, I should fight it out."
"What's the use. They can't get past the committee even if they got a vote in the House. I was talking to----"
"Patient's ready, sir," said the dresser.
"Talking to McDonald--but I'll tell you about it presently." He walked back to the patient, who was breathing in long, heavy gasps. "I propose," said he, passing his hand over the tumour in an almost caressing fashion, "to make a free incision over the posterior border, and to take another forward at right angles to the lower end of it. Might I trouble you for a medium knife, Mr. Johnson?"
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|Round The Red Lamp
Arthur Conan Doyle
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004