“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
My gaze fixed upon the exposed beating heart. There was an infant lying
in front of me. Its heart rate 150 beats per minute. The monitor next to me beeping faintly with each twitch of the revealed organ. The skin, the muscle, the ribs, all pulled back, exposing an unseen sight: the human heart. The doctor's hands worked back and forth in the rhythm and grace of a painter. I could feel my breath beat back against my mask, into my face. My scrub cap began to stick to my forehead with perspiration. Something was wrong. And I was alone.
The pacemaker, a device able to control the human heart, a device co-existing with human life, was in my power.
The doctor was closing the chest.
A device so small yet so powerful, it could keep a human heart beating.
A continual hum from the operating room equipment droned on.
I broke the silence— "We have an issue." I refused to break eye contact as the inquisitive stare came my way from the physician. "We have to reopen the chest."
I'll never forget this moment and the thoughts that transcend as I recount it.
I was in a position to give a living being a second chance at life. I wasn't going to let that moment resolve in indecision. This moment, this ability to save a life, will forever motivate my pursuit of the persistence of human life, with my life.
— Austin Dirks
Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver.
We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Concept and photography:
Tony Deifell, MBA '02
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