The surgeon has a pornstache. In fact, I'm confident that if he weren't a cancer surgeon ("surj-onk" is what doctors call the specialty), he would be a porn star. His demeanor is comically practiced Alpha: he's solicitous, but condescending; he talks about surgery the way small-time businessmen talk up the parking lot they're investing in; he gives me phone numbers I need like he's bestowing gifts, and he inhales deeply and impressively through his nostrils, as men are supposed to do when discussing matters of great moment. I ask him how many gastrectomies he's done and he says, "Well, ---, do you mean here, or internationally?" I dunno, Dirk Diggler, how about in a fucking operating room?* Then, as a final gift to the blog, when I tell him what I've been thinking of eating after the surgery, he looks a little surprised that I've considered it all, and says, completely without irony, "That would actually be very good, if you can stomach it."
But I've been told that you don't have to like your surgeon, he just has to be good, and this guy is supposed to be good. And he draws diagrams of the procedure, which is in fact very helpful.
Of course, choosing a surgeon is an absurd endeavor. How should I know who should operate on me? I spend my days on Pubmed, trying to find the preferred method of gastrectomy, and find that there are about four major ones, and a dozen minor variations. I have to take my frighteningly limited knowledge, their reputations, and my impression of them, and somehow decide that yes, this is the guy who should do the thing the consequences of which I'll feel in every moment of the rest of my life.
But there's only comedy. I ask pornstache what will happen if I go into atrial fibrillation during surgery. "The important question is what happens if I go into atrial fibrillation, which has been known to happen." I ask the second surgeon the same question. "Hey, you go into a-fib too? [He shakes my hand.]" First surgeon who doesn't have heart trouble wins.
* Of course, the social answer to this is "[Chuckle, of course I understand that you are The Man]." I was a little surprised to remember that my actual answer had been "Both, and recently," which told me how little I feel like fucking around about this. Of course, I didn't get a straight answer.