I came home one evening after a typical day of just hanging out with my friends. I was in the doldrums of summer. My father told me that I had a doctor’s appointment the next day to meet with a surgeon about my umbilical hernia. In my case, this hernia was no life-threatening situation, but it was something worth examining to make sure I could keep playing sports. I’ve always had a knack for science and medicine, so the next day when I was in the doctors office, I was very excited to meet the general surgeon. We talked all about the different kinds of hernia’s and procedures, and I was so fascinated that I couldn’t resist asking if I could observe him in a real live surgery. He took me over to meet with his secretary, and with patience and a positive attitude, my wish was granted.
Being in the operating room with a surgical team is analogous to team sports. Whether you are out on the playing field or in the hospital saving lives, you have brought yourself to a higher level, have distanced from the everyday crowd, and are working alongside others who share a common purpose and goal. Like a softball team who whips the ball around the infield for a double play so they can get back on offense as soon as possible, the surgical team communicates, has each others best interest, and work in accordance because it’s the concern for the patient that matters, just as it’s the success of the softball team that matters. Success does not always mean the big win, nor does a successful surgery mean an impeccable one. In both cases, it’s about communication, patience, and working together. Frustration, jealousy, and selfishness suddenly become petty and fall to the wayside when a more important matter is on the line. That matter is the patient who has trusted the doctor with their life, or the team, who supports and trusts each other to overcome any obstacle that may occur in the game.
Getting the chance to observe general surgery, and be completely integrated into the hospital scene made me refocus on what I deem important, and what I could still work towards even when I can no longer play sports. People who work in the hospital, among many other sectors of careers, are very professional, focused, hard-working people, and as an athlete, that is one of the best possible environments to be in.
What I have gained from my experience is to use the quiet days of summer to research your interests and don’t be afraid to do something bold. Because of my experience in the hospital, I am so inspired to work hard and focus on what I love to do. I can see that everyday, people are out there working towards something important and are generally unconcerned and unburdened by social pressures, so to speak. We are all still so young in high school, so there is nothing to lose by sampling what could be a future passion. And as athletes, it’s a reminder to stay focused on your passion, because no one is really stopping you except yourself.