Have you heard, "It's not brain surgery?" Well, sometimes, it is.
The most interesting thing I've found out about this career is that it takes much longer to become a brain surgeon in the United States than it does anywhere else in the world. That's kind of a frightening thought and one that makes me hope I never need to have my brain operated on in any place outside of the States.
But how do you become one?
Well, the old fashioned way would be to get yourself a saw (a bone saw, preferably), open up the skull, and poke around a bit to see what would happen. That's rather frowned upon these days, though, even if it is funny to poke someone's brain and make his leg jerk. What that means is that this is not a "do it yourself" career path. Basically, you're looking at 15+ years of post secondary education for this one: four years of college, four years of medical school, some time interning (a year or two), and, then, five to seven years of neurosurgery residency. And that's just for the basics. If you want to specialize, then you get some additional training. It's a career you need to really want to do, because you're going to be learning it for a long time.
But, hey, being a brain surgeon allows you to get to use such cool tech as the gamma knife!
There are all sorts of things we can treat, now, that used to just be a death sentence, not the least of which is aneurysms. Don't get me wrong, aneurysms are still deadly, but, if they find them in advance, now, they can often do things to prevent them from rupturing. Not like when I was a kid when we had a family friend in whom they found one (he was having headaches), and, basically, they told him all he could do was hope that it didn't burst.
So, yeah, if you're willing to put in the time, being a brain surgeon can be a cool gig. Just go ask Anne; she used to be one.
"Part Eighteen: The Angel" is still FREE! today, so go pick up a copy if you haven't done that yet.