I don’t know why it is I chose journalism as a major. I suppose it has something to do with my personality. I’m outgoing, funny, relate easily with others. When I’m not self-inflating my ego though, I think it’s primarily my desire to know things. Case in point, today I observed and taped brain surgery. Brain. Surgery. The feeling of looking into another human being’s brain is strangely impersonal, but extremely intrusive. I was literally seeing this patients brain pulse with their heartbeat.
Most people are going to get grossed out by imagining a brain moving and bleeding everywhere. Strangely, not a lot of blood, but I think that’s because the surgeon was talented. The circumstances that collided to bring me and my camera to an operating room at St. Joe’s aren’t the best. This patient had a tumor and a prognosis that was not super. I say had a tumor because over the course of 3+ hours I watched this surgeon expertly remove it. There were some deep conversations that took place in that OR.

The surgeon told a story of a man who had a tumor removed a few years ago, but the doctor removed too much of the surrounding brain matter. This man lost his short term memory. He had no recollection of what happened 15 minutes ago, but had all of his long term memories. The surgeon tells us this as he’s cutting down on his patients brain matter. He then goes on to explain exactly how he chose his entry point and what the areas next to his scalpel control. Things like ability to understand language and one quarter of vision. Scary stuff.

Believe it or not, I never felt sick or light-headed. Not even once. I spent most of my time looking down a viewfinder and through a lens, but I did get a chance toward the end to sit and watch. Much like a photographer, surgeon’s need to have steady hands.

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