Now being a surgeon is gratifying, rewarding, invigorating, inspirational, happy and fun – but it is also hard. A lot of surgeons don’t know this, but being hard is a critically important part of the appeal of our discipline. In fact, if surgery were not hard, we would eschew the entire field of surgery as the exclusive and unenviable domain of a cohort of effete non-participatory flamingos who exclusively watch ESPN and Downton Abbey instead of fielding fungoes in the trauma bay.
But hard work is exhausting – unless, of course, you love it. Then it becomes fun. Surgical investigation is also gratifying: to identify a very specific problem, develop a strategy to analyze that problem, collect data, examine those data and share your observations with colleagues at the AAS and theAcademic Surgical Congress is exhilarating.
And finally, to communicate what we do to others – we call it teaching – is supremely gratifying, because all surgeons are pathological extroverts. The parties don’t start until we arrive. We are also proud of what we do. Unlike a personal injury lawyer, we are never embarrassed at a cocktail party to acknowledge that we are surgeons.
Katherine Graham, former editor of the Washington Post, perhaps said it best when she wrote, “The luckiest people in the world are the ones that are doing something that they think is important and that everyone else thinks is important.” – That’s us!