Memory

He’s clearly meant to be a teacher. Mostly deaf, partially retired and bubbling with energy, he makes cold, sterile the room feel cozier. He makes jokes and talks as he goes so the resident can learn. The surgeon steps back when the time comes to perform a rare procedure and lets the almost-senior resident step in. The resident is soft spoken and has kind eyes. He appears nervous as they dance around the operating table, his ambidextrous self not sure what hand-ed he is today. He places the deep sutures with a bit of trepidation and seems to have a slight tremor to his hands. The teacher instructs with patience and clear direction. He corrects and uses poems about peter pointer and tommy tall boy to instruct which knots to throw. When the resident gets the needle just right and places the suture carefully the teacher becomes animated and proclaims, “that’s IT! You’ve got it! Perfect! Good job, very good job.” The surgery ends without fanfare, but I know that his words carried weight and have already made the resident a better surgeon.

Later.

An overweight man attempts a modification in a common yoga pose. The instructor, pleased to see that he is respecting his pace and body comes over to offer him another option. She struggles to use her words to move him into a pose. When her words and his body meet in the centre,  she proclaims, “Yes! That’s it! Perfect.” He walks out of that room a bit taller than when he came in, more because of her words than from any stretching or lengthening.

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