Our Canvas is Another's Dungeon
As surgical trainees, we know the Operating Room as home - the place where we are the most comfortable; the place where the dimension of time seems to slip existence...the place where we create miracles that can't be explained by science and yes, the place where we see devastation that leads to one question...'what could we have done differently?'
In the center of these rooms is a table - our canvas where a small subsection becomes our 'field' of play; our place to showcase our years of education and training. We enter and like a real theater, we are dressed in our costumes - slipping into a gown and plunging our hands into fresh sets of gloves. We are laser-focused in our objective of prepping, opening, fixing, troubleshooting, and closing. And yet, often times, the only time we acknowledge the identity of the person beneath all of our drapes is during a timeout.
I am a strong person of 'feeling', perhaps not the best quality for a future surgeon, but I have always believed that emotive connection to life is not only important, but essential to our understanding of ourselves.
As somebody that has looked down on that table, I'm lucky to have looked up from it as well. And I can tell you that the thrill of looking down is a very small fraction of the horror that comes with looking up. Your senses become so aware of everything and everybody - you put 100% trust in everybody in that room that they will do the best for YOU. I put my faith in Him that if I don't make it off that table, it was part of His plans. For that short period of time, you truly do forget about the many things you've seen in those rooms looking down; you forget about all the terminology. I 'feel' inside myself a deep hope that today will be my day - a day of healing. I yearn for a hand to hold - I cry.
Healing is also Fear
Being on that table reminds you what surgery is really about - it's about healing. But, "when you pray for rain, you have to deal with the mud." The mud is being put in the most vulnerable position life can throw at you - any control you've ever had is gone; you're paralyzed by fear. It's the time when your table becomes theirs...and you are so thankful for all those who have sacrificed so much of their lives to save yours.
That's what being a patient teaches a surgeon - your highest exhilaration is another's worst fear.