The time has seen a son born, friends made, colleagues arrived, and patients cured. Since anniversaries are an excuse for reflection…
The most incredible thing I have learned in this time is not to underestimate people. I have seen so many people, in such dire circumstances, exude levels of poise and dignity I didn’t know people had and don’t think I am capable of. To keep one’s sense of humor and humanity despite pain, nausea or a general lousy feeling is a truly magnificent feat. It shows one’s soul to the world, eases suffering and comforts family and friends. It is grace.
Technically, we as surgeons are much better now than when I came to Raleigh six years ago. Advances in minimally invasive surgery have revolutionized what we are able to do while decreasing pain and hospital stay. The future is bright! I work with many device manufacturers, and I can say from first-hand knowledge that new working materials and devices are soon arriving that will further expand our capabilities and deliver these advances to so many more people regardless of whether they are treated in small rural hospitals or large university settings.
The spirit of innovation is not confined to the youngest. My adapting single site laparoscopic surgery, a very demanding technical skill, was prompted by my senior partner using it first. Rather than resting on his laurels, Dr. Jerry Stirman challenged all of us to continue to improve for the sake of our patients. He is a mentor to many of us in the surgical community and a treasure for those of us who know him. Thank you, Dr. Stirman.
Despite what I thought six years ago when I moved here from Los Angeles, Raleigh is not a “small town.” We are blessed with a very educated population and an equally educated, savvy medical community that rivals Boston, Rochester, Minnesota or any other place in the world. We are innovators, from our medicine to our computers, biotech and other cutting edge industries the Triangle is known for. With such progress in just six years, I can’t wait to see where we will be in another six years.