WHEN THE AIR HITS YOUR BRAIN
Since as long as I can remember, I have always nursed an unhealthy attraction for the brain, I mean I identify as a Sapiosexual, I also believe I engage a considerable extent of my neurons through meaningful arguments with my friends about the better of the two between Messi and Ronaldo (which is infinitely exasperating if I must add) and most germane, I at some point decided too to become a neurosurgeon.
You see, neurosurgery is many things, but what attracted me to it is the arrogance of it, so wickedly accentuated you can palpate it. The astronomers spend the entirety of their lives understanding the workings of the galaxies but not one, as far as I know has touched the sun or a black hole. Not the neurosurgeon, he dances in the very matter in between your ears that makes you you. The brain, pristine and delicate, incarcerated in the inviolable cranium, its anatomy screaming a sole note (this baby was not designed to be tampered with) you will agree with me, it takes a man with a warrior’s heart to dance in such dicey terrains and for which not knowing or making the wrong move could have dire consequences.
In the words of the author and neurosurgeon – Paul Kalanithi, neurosurgery requires “Arete”, the greek word for excellence. It has a persistently unforgiving demand for all round excellence. The first of which is moral, I know, I have seen it first hand. I just completed my surgery rotation and passed through the neurosurgery unit, no small feat I must add. Whilst in, I once had my senior registrar operate a patient after a full day at the clinic up until the the wee-hours of the next morning, monitor the patient post-surgery for any drop in clinical status and unfortunately lose the patient, the wild thing about this story is that – and I am not exaggerating – by 10am the following day, this guy was assisting the consultant in the theatre on another case.
See, no amount of money can inspire such commitment, it is at the very core moral excellence (arête if you like). You have probably heard the saying that there aren’t a lot of happy endings in neurosurgery, it’s true they get the sickest of patients often times requiring intensive level of care, nobody wants to hear they have to be operated upon, but if by any chance you do, when the air hits your brain, you don’t want a man peering down, you want something transcendent, a neurosurgeon.