It would be understandable if you felt a little cut off from the rest of the world these days. Hopefully it won’t be as challenging as it was for Dr. Leonid Rogozov, who on this day in 1961 had to remove his own appendix while stationed in Antarctica. Plus: today in 1970, Pink Floyd played a concert for public TV in San Francisco. Silence in the studio!
Nurse! Prep the patient for surgery – oh, and also I’m the patient.
Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands.
If you’ve been staying at home all month like so many others, you may have had to come up with new solutions to old challenges.
Maybe something breaks at home and you have to find a way to deal with it yourself, instead of calling someone.
Or maybe you’re learning to cook meals in your kitchen rather than go out to eat.
Hopefully you have not had to do what a doctor did on this day in 1961: he operated on himself.
His name was Leonid Rogozov, and he was working at the Soviet Union’s new research base in Antarctica.
In late April he started to feel a sharp pain in his side, along with nausea and fatigue, all classic symptoms of appendicitis.
It’s a very dangerous condition if you don’t get it taken care of by a doctor.
The only trouble was, Rogozov was the doctor. The only doctor nearby, in fact.
This was winter in Antarctica, so there was no chance a plane could get to him to evacuate.
Nor could he be taken to another country’s base, given the blizzards and other extreme weather.
Rogozov realized there was only person who could take out his appendix: himself.
He injected novocaine into the area, and after that, he said, “somehow I automatically switched into operating mode, and from that point on I didn’t notice anything else.”
He couldn’t always see what he was operating on, even with colleagues holding mirrors, so he operated mostly by touch.
At last he removed the appendix – it was only a day away from bursting – and he sewed himself back up before taking a very long rest.
I suppose when you’re both the patient and the surgeon, you don’t have to tell yourself that the operation was a complete success, right?
Meanwhile, it’s an interesting anniversary for Pink Floyd.
The band has been posting old concerts on their YouTube channel lately, for those wanting to rock out at home.
Today in 1970, the Floyd played one of their most unusual concerts: a special on KQED-TV in San Francisco.
Set the controls for the heart of public television?