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I meant to write this blog right after the Olympics opening ceremony, but was busy with life and work.  I apologize for the delay.

I was on call on the day of the opening ceremony, and had to go to the hospital to repair a complex laceration on a patient’s leg. I was fortunate to watch the first hour of the ceremony.  As I watching, I marveled at the great feats we humans can achieve.  I am proud to be a human!  I also remembered the recent Colorado shootings. I am ashamed of being a human! How can a race jump from one extreme to the other?

A few days before the opening ceremony, I was again watching television in the hospital, waiting for my case to start. The TV was showing the movie A Time to Kill, starring Matthew McConaughey.  The movie is about a young lawyer defending a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the KKK.   I was watching the last 30 minutes of the movie, when McConaughey, the young lawyer, explains the gruesome detail of the girl’s death.  The two men kidnap the girl, tie her up and throw full beer cans at her with such force, it tears into her flesh.  They then rape her multiple times before dumping her body off a cliff.  Granted, this was a movie, but such occurrences do happen in real life.  It made me realize there is a very fine line between humans and animals.  I also made the startling realization even animals don’t behave this badly!  Yes, animals chase and kill their prey, often eating them alive.  But they are animals for God’s sake!  However, I do not know of any animal torturing and raping another animal for pleasure.

So what makes a human act “sub-animal”?  I don’t know for sure.  When I was younger, I thought everyone who was abused as a child will grow up to abuse their children or become involved with crimes, etc.  However, I have met several people who were either molested as children or raised in foster homes.  They are all very caring parents and have excelled in their prospective fields (medical and non-medical).  The advantage we have as humans is we have choices, and we can either work a bit harder and chose the right path or take the easy way out and blame everyone for our own short-comings.  So unless there is a major psychiatric disorder, we do have a choice.

If you were abused as a child, it is very tempting to take the easy route and abuse your children when they are crying.  It is difficult, I know.  I was never abused as a child.  However, when my daughter was younger, sometimes she cried incessantly to the point I wanted to throw her out the window!  However, I am proud to be a human!  So I took a deep breath and I realized being frustrated will only make her cry more.  I tried to be even more patient than what I thought I was capable of, and eventually she calmed down.  The result of taking the harder path is a personable and happy 15 month old girl who has replaced our television viewing with her own “live programming”.

I guess this experience has also made me a better physician.  Although rare, I occasionally become involved with a patient who I want to throw out the window!  But I take a deep breath, and try to see their point of view (a great way to get along with people is to put yourself in their position, many times what they request will make sense).  To use an analogy, I try to waltz with them as best as I can, even though they may be playing punk rock music!

I hope you chose the right path, because we humans are magnificent beings capable of doing wonderful things….just watch the Olympics!

Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon in Santa Ana with over 20 years of experience.  His office is located in Orange County, California.  To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call (714) 834-0101.

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