While I was studying to become a dentist, I took advantage of an optional fortnight shadowing anaesthetists. It was not a hands-on experience, but it was totally fascinating watching anaesthetists keeping patients healthy whilst they were deeply anaesthetised.
One day during a morning coffee break, I was sitting having refreshments with a senior anaesthetist and his team. Suddenly, I heard a shrill prolonged sound coming from a nearby room. I asked a technician what it was. He told me not to worry about it.
A few moments later, the senior anaesthetist asked me:
“What is that high pitched noise?”
“Oh, it’s nothing to worry about, ” I answered confidently.
“Really?” I was asked.
“Oh, yes. there’s absolutely no need to be concerned,” I advised the senior anaesthetist.
If it had been fashionable at that time, I might have told him to ‘chill’, but in those days chilling was reserved for cold weather and refrigeration.
“Hmmmm,” he replied.
After a few moments, he said to me:
“Well, actually that signal is the warning sound made by an oxygen cyinder that is about to become empty. I would really worry about it, young man.”
At that moment, I felt like a complete idiot and hoped that the ground would open up and swallow me.