One of the things i was worried about when I started med school rotations was the possibility of having to pee during surgery. (At the time i didn't realize that having to pee during surgery is about as inconvenient as having to pee during rounds or having to pee when you're following your attending around clinic. As far as I can tell, there are no rotations you do as a med student where you can just go to the bathroom if you have to go to the bathroom) So I didn't drink much water during my surgery rotations and everything worked out fine.
Since then, I've rarely had to pee during surgery. I think most of this is that orthopaedic surgeries aren't all that long. Usually they're around 3 hours or so, if I do a 5 hour one then I count that as a long surgery. I've done 8 hour surgeries (Although I seem to only do those during nights and weekends. Thanks, world.) and i figure when I start my spine rotation they'll get longer since it takes an hour to position the patient and get everything set up, but for right now it's not usually a problem and I can drink coffee in the morning and be OK.
The exception to this is if you have 2 rooms going. This happens a lot over here because ortho is such a big money maker for the hospital. So while you're finishing up in one room, they bring the patient back to the next room and you can just walk over when you're done, instead of waiting for the room to get cleaned and anesthesia to bring the patient back. Seeing as how it usually takes in between 15 and 30 minutes to get the room set up for the next case, this really saves a ton of time. But it means that I'm rushed like hell because the attending leaves the room while I'm closing up and then I have to finish closing, move the patient, do the orders, and meet the attending in the next room in the time it takes anesthesia to put the patient to sleep and for the patient to be positioned, prepped, and draped. Those are the days where you pray someone's got a difficult airway and they need a laryngoscope or something. So I don't get any time in between surgeries. It means on those days I'm hungry and i need to pee like hell.
I was closing up the other day and i seriously had to pee. Like, it was fast moving from "urgency" to "emergency." But I didn't have time to take a bathroom break in the middle of the cases since i had to rush over to the next room. In these types of situations, you're forced to make a choice: either wet your pants, or announce to the room that you need to pee. I've tried asking to be excused, but then people think you're just trying to get out of helping.
Me: I REALLY need to pee. Is it OK if once i finish closing I go pee instead of helping move the patient? Will you be OK without me?
CRNA: Do you also have to take a shit?
Me: No, I just have to pee
Scrub Nurse: elbows me in the bladder How badly do you have to pee?
Circulating Nurse: hey stop that, Orthochick has to pee really badly!
They did let me leave and I bolted for the bathroom and did my thing. (and for the record, really, I just had to freaking pee) I then walked over to the next room to start the next surgery.
CRNA2: Did you get a chance to pee?
Scrub Nurse2: Did everything come out OK?
Circulating Nurse2: Are you feeling better?
Seeing as how these three people were completely different from the three people in the previous OR, word spread that I had to pee in the time it took me to actually pee.
You seriously cannot go to the bathroom in peace in this place. Either your pager goes off mid-stream, someone knocks on the door when you've just pulled your pants down, or you get made fun of for needing to take care of a biologic function.
Also, seriously, how desperate are we for conversation if me having to pee becomes a hot topic for discussion in the entire operating area?