111:50AM, 9,000 Ft.
Mid-way up a mountain this afternoon, I met a pancreatic surgeon from Japan. It was particularly fortuitous that our paths should cross, given his occupation and my medical history. Needless to say, we got to talking about our walks of life. He was in Salt Lake City for a surgical conference and had decided to come a few days early and go skiing. He asked me about illustration and music and asked if I had ever designed anything for a surgeon before. I shook my head and laughed. He explained to me the likelihood of getting a pancreatic transplant in Japan, he told me that there are very few donors annually, maybe only 20-30. I asked him how much anti-rejection medication you would have to take in order to have someone else’s body parts work with your own (lots) and picked his brain about the future of artificial organs. We shouted over groaning winds about stem cells and auto-immunity, our heavy boots dangling far above the snow.
To my surprise, I could actually keep up with everything that he was saying, even with his acrobatic surgical vocabulary and broken english. He began to explain to me how exhausting and how long it can take to make advancements in the medical world, when he paused somewhat abruptly.
“The only thing that matters in all of this, is that you keep dreaming. If you do not, there will never be actualization.”
Through cultural, lingual, occupational and professional barriers, many truths remain entirely universal.