10.04-05.16 : MICHELLE HOFFMAN : PORTSMOUTH, OH
"Surgery (and medicine in general) is so interesting. To be in the OR, with a patient (a PERSON, with loved ones, and hopes and fears) unconscious, mostly naked on the table, under bright lights. And we drape them, sterilize them, cut into them, dig around, take parts of them out and analyze them. It’s easy for the patient to become just a sack of flesh and tissue and fluid. I can see how some doctors get so cynical and disconnected; I think you really have to try to remain empathetic."
Michelle and I first met one summer years and years ago doing an absolutely bizarre door-to-door sales job that could be classified as cult-ish. We were made to practice our sales script for hours on end during our week of training, and one day Michelle and I happened to be in the same space of parking lot at the time, nervously looking around and repeating: "Hi. Are you the mom?" and stuffing the 100th peanut butter and jelly sandwich into our mouths. We recognized each others' uneasiness mixed with a strange sense of eagerness to do well in this absurd environment and started practicing together/spilling our souls.
In essence, Michell and I could not be two more very different people - her analytical and logical mind gets absolutely confuddled and frustrated with my ADD, non-linear thinking, to the point where it was only a few years ago she admitted that she finally accepts that I'm going to go down rabbit holes constantly and she's not upset by it anymore (I wasn't even aware it was a problem). She is studying medicine and tries to maintain an objective view of the world. I have a community art degree and my world view is hour by hour in flux. But what lays out the foundation for our friendship is our love for hashing out the intellectual/spiritual/emotional/social questions of the world and being able to fill hours with fluid and present conversation. That, and medically speaking when you experience trauma alongside another person it gives you a bond. So there's that, too.
I am pleased to give you all a glimpse into Michelle's mind, this now 3rd year medical student, as she hacks into people's bodies last week: