Your dentist or physician has most likely earned a Bachelor of Science — or B.S — as their undergraduate degree, from a college of Arts and Sciences within their university. This before they went on to medical or dental school, and then the various residency training programs.
Art and science. These would seem to be diametrically opposed to each other. One is a study of beauty, paintings, sculpture, music, architecture ... the other, a study of facts and figures, anatomy, biology, etc. But are they really unrelated?
While I appreciate music, I cannot carry a note in my back pocket, as they say. However, those who understand music say that it is extremely mathematical.
But where is the art in healing? You have probably heard the term “healing arts.” There certainly is a bit of art in surgery; I have seen my partner’s artistry in facial cosmetic surgery. I have also observed carefully the process of healing over the years, both in bone and in soft tissue. Without question, there is a beauty in regeneration of what was once damaged. Trauma, pathology, reconstructive surgery; observing each as healing takes place is truly fascinating.
There is certainly a science to healing. Sir Isaac Newton once said, “We see far because we stand on the shoulders of giants.” Those of us who are in the field of surgery began by observing what others have done, studying their methods that were proven through a scientific criterion and have been keen observers over the years to learn more about our particular healing profession. If we can’t quote the literature that describes a particular surgical endeavor, we can certainly find it. But there are times in our observation that we witness healing that seem almost miraculous; almost as if there is an artist behind the scenes directing this complex orchestra that we call the human body.
There is certainly an art and beauty in our particular field of science. We get to see, up close and firsthand, healing take place within something that is so complex, it is amazing that our bodies continue day by day. For me, it is impossible to deny the existence of a creator who put this into motion and who continues to interact in our humanity.
This is Christmas; a time to the thankful. I am particularly thankful this time of year for being able to practice in a field where I can help alleviate suffering and am very thankful to those patients that I have been able to walk with through their trying times. I know that your doctor feels the same; take a moment to thank him or her for their devotion to their art and science.