I need to say I'm very appreciative but, more than that, embarrassed by the comments I've gotten on my recent post about a horrible feeling. I nearly didn't publish it. Since a part of my aim here has been to convey what it's like to be a surgeon, and since the feelings I had on hearing the news were exactly as described, I went ahead, in the interest of honest blogging. But it did occur to me that it might be upsetting to some of my valued blog friends, and it seems it was. I'm not unaware that my reaction was based, in part, on the false sense of indispensability to which I referred in the post, and that it was narcissistic, as one commenter rightly said. Narcissism, particularly in the context of wanting to believe you're better than others at what you do, and that the world can't get along without you, may even be a necessary characteristic of surgeons. In any case, to the extent that it drives one to feel deeply responsible for one's actions, it's not all bad. But it also leads to thoughts such as were mine immediately upon hearing the news of my friend's death.
So to the extent that I made people feel bad for me, I'm sorry. I've been to a memorial ceremony, I've contributed to a scholarship fund, I'm not in mourning any more than any friend would be. I both wish I'd been there to do the operation, and am glad I wasn't. Since there are things I love about surgery and things I hate about it, my writing is sometimes ambivalent, and, in this case, ill-considered. But thank you.