Mad about surgery
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
Good hands, heads, and hearts
When I was an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) resident, I constantly perseverated about and obsessed over my quest to develop “good hands.” I started shaving and brushing my teeth with my nondominant hand, tied silk knots on every imaginable surface, and practiced “palming” a needle driver everywhere I went. Recognizing that outstanding manual dexterity is obviously a must to successfully operate the neck, it is clearly the case that good hands alone don’t guarantee good outcomes. In addition to good hands, fellowship training further reinforced the importance of developing a “good head” (ie, cognitive analysis). I learned that our patients are our “books,” that each patient is unique and as such requires an individual approach based on guiding principles, and that the answer to every question begins with “It depends—.” Feeling well equipped as a new attending, I was surprised to discover that I still lacked a critical component of care—a truly caring heart. The powerful combination of good hands, heads, and hearts results in surgeons who are truly mad about surgery and whose results are never commonplace, but “burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars” ( On The Road ). Let us be mad about surgery!