Wednesday, August 09, 2006


It amazes me that people will pay me to do what I do. Because it really doesn't feel like work. I have no idea what it's like to put on a suit, go to the office, and then do whatever people who work in cubicles do all day.

Instead, I put on comfortable pajama-like work clothes, go to the operating room, and play with people's insides. And we play music while we work. Not that easy-listening bullshit that plays at the dentist's office, but good ol' rock and roll. Or heavy metal. Or techno. Or whatever the hell we're in the mood for that day.

We chit-chat and shoot the poop with the nurses, the anesthesiologist, the assistant surgeon/resident, and whoever else strolls into the operating room. We tell stories, we laugh about things that happened over the weekend, and at the end of the day, when all the operations are done, and the patients are tucked in for the night, I get to go home and hang out with my wife.

Some days can get really busy, and some patients get very sick in every sense of the word. There are times when patients will die despite all that I can do, and sometimes two different patients will need me simultaneously, and it's always a difficult decision trying to figure out which patient is more needing of my time. It's not fair that sometimes I have to choose which patient will be ignored.

But I have to remember that although this is routine for me, each patient in the hospital has family that's worried sick about them. While we're working in the operating room taking out a patient's tumor, the patient's family is in the waiting room, scared to death and probably praying their hearts out.

We take every operative case seriously and strive to be perfect, but we also try to enjoy what we do, and thus the music, the friendly chatter, and the upbeat mood. It's strange to think that while we might be swapping funny stories about our past weekend in the OR, the patient's family might be considering funeral plans if the surgery fails. The contrast of the people in the two rooms, separated by a measly 100 feet, could probably not be any more different.

I'm just a 32-year old guy. I'm no different than anybody else, except that I was a big geek in high school and college and spent a lot of time reading and studying. And somehow that makes people comfortable enough to trust me with their lives and their loved ones.

So to my patients and their loved ones, I am humbled by your faith in my abilities and honored by the responsibility you have placed upon me. I promise to do my best and pray that God will guide me to help you and your loved one get better.

In respectful servitude,