The present paper focuses on the process of understanding the patient in the context of perioperative caring and reports a story narrated by a perioperative nurse as well as her emerging understanding of the patient prior to surgery at an operating department. This qualitative case study had a dual purpose; firstly, to describe how the perioperative nurse's understanding of the patient emerged and, secondly, to establish how the researcher interpreted the situation. As a perioperative nurse and researcher, the author is both the narrator and interpreter. To date we have rarely discussed the fact that, in a perioperative context, the patient might feel ashamed of his/her body, even before arriving at the operating department. This new understanding emerged from the hermeneutical dialogue in the present study.