MONDAY, MAY 3, 2010 9:34 AM, CDT
Right Choice #2
The most terrifying event in my life was about to take place, and yet I had no choice to make. The test results showed a need for emergency abdominal surgery. Choosing a doctor back home was a big deal for me. I researched statistics, interviewed, got references. Half-way around the world there was no choice, I had to trust that the man standing in front of me, the one I had trouble understanding due to a language barrier, the one whose only credential that carried any meaning in my life was that his business card read “Doctor of Specialized Surgery”, the one to whom I would trust my life, was up to the task.
I gazed through my pain into my 18-year-old’s concerned eyes and realized dejectedly that there was no other path to follow. This doctor was the person I needed to trust. And so I set about reassuring Phil and my colleagues that all would be fine. A little hole in my belly, straighten out the blocked up intestines, then good as new.
Sadly, Phil helped the nurse take inventory of my belongings. With a prison-like checklist, each item was noted. There would be no watch or cell-phone, no personal affects of any kind, the attendant noted. I would be coming out of surgery into ICU.
Phil’s eyes locked with mine as he walked beside the gurney all the way to the surgical theater. His strength and calm confirmed to me that his choice to pursuit trauma medicine was a good fit. He handled my medical emergency with a rare maturity for a person of any age, much less a not quite yet graduated high school senior. Phil’s demeanor gave me the confidence I needed when at the very last minute the doctor’s orders were clarified between two nurses. No, I would not be getting a small laparoscopic incision. My surgery would be a complex open cavity surgery.
My second right choice then was to trust. I chose to trust that the medical professionals surrounding me would take absolute care of me. I knew they would. I felt peace as the anesthesia clouded my brain.