Meredith Grey (narration): Superheroes. Soldiers. First responders. That’s who we think of when we think of bravery. But surgeons should make the list too. Surgeons don’t wear capes or armor. We don’t carry guns and no one throws us a parade, but we do fight like hell to save your life. And we’re also holding a knife in our hands, knowing we might be the one to end your life. Bravery isn’t always about running into the fire. Sometimes it’s about facing our past. And on the hardest days, it’s about facing the future.
Meredith Grey (narration): I'm going to tell you a secret. Doctors are not gods. We like you to think we have all the answers. You have to trust us enough to let us cut open your flesh and poke around at your insides. So it's helpful if you think we have it all together. It's helpful if you don't know that, just like you, we're anxious, we're insecure, we're angry. You have to let us come at you with a scalpel. So it's helpful if you don't know that, just like you, we're wrecks. So, how do we do it? How do we save lives when ours may be falling apart? Well, for one thing, we never perform surgery without an assist. We gather the team... and accept we don't have to go it alone.
Meredith Grey (narration): There's a saying we hear a lot around hospitals... that goes like this... "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." It didn't work. But I doubt the person who coined it ever went through major surgery. It didn't work. Or maybe they didn't mean physical pain. Maybe they meant the other kind... the worse kind. Maybe they meant the kind of searing, seething, boiling pain that tells you you're a failure and a fraud. "Suffering is optional." That person didn't know what the f... they were talking about.
Meredith Grey (narration): The painful irony for doctors is that we often have to make you sicker in order to heal you. If a bone is healed unevenly, we have to re-break it. If a scar is too thick, we have to scrape it off and create a new wound. We break you down to re-build you. We go to medical school because we want to learn how to fix what's broken. But we quickly learn that we often have to make things worse before we can make them better. It's risky and it's frightening for surgeons and for patients, but usually, it's worth it. You get a second chance at life, and we get to be the architects of your second chance. It's win-win. When it works.
Meredith Grey (narration): There are moments when all the stars align. When everything seems as it should be. It's not like all our problems go away. It's just that the problems are suddenly manageable. You feel so good, you wonder if it's real. And if I've learned anything... It's very real... but it will not last.