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← Decisions for life | Talat Kırış | TEDxIstanbul

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Showing Revision 11 created 02/17/2020 by Peter van de Ven.

  1. Hello.
  2. As I am the last speaker today,
  3. I think I have the privilege
    to speak as much as I want.
  4. I assume you are already feeling tired
    and thinking it’s time to leave.
  5. Let me tell you from the beginning
    that I will save my best bit till the end.
  6. (Laughter)
  7. I am a brain surgeon.
  8. This is my office.
  9. I have one of the most
    challenging jobs on earth.
  10. What would you think
    is the most challenging part of my job?
  11. Working for long hours
    under this microscope?
  12. Or the risk to lose a life
    or leave a patient disabled
  13. with a minor mistake I make?
  14. That’s definitely not
    the most challenging part.
  15. But meeting with people
  16. who've learned that they have
    a brain tumor in their head
  17. or whose lives go upside down
    with a rupture of a brain aneurysm
  18. and have cerebral hemorrhage.
  19. The hardest part of my job
  20. is to have a face-to-face
    conversation with a mother
  21. who has just learned that there is
    a tumor in her kid’s cerebellum
  22. and to try to explain her the situation.
  23. I don’t see my patients as cases.
  24. I see them as a whole
  25. with their feelings,
    opinions, loved ones and jobs.
  26. I think about how the disease
    they’ve been trapped in will affect them
  27. and how I can help them out.
  28. Today I will tell you
    about moments and choices.
  29. Momentum reminds me of a moment,
  30. I mean a moment of time
    and then an action.
  31. The most distinct feature
    of motion is its direction.
  32. When a truck is moving on a straight line
    on a highway, it is not a problem.
  33. But when the driver turns
    the wheel towards the barriers,
  34. then we get a problem.
  35. The direction of the action
    marks the choice.
  36. Humans are defined
    by their moments and choices.
  37. What is a moment?
  38. A minute? Ten minutes?
  39. If a moment is a minute,
  40. then you have 25 million moments
    in your whole lifetime
  41. excluding the time you invest in sleep.
  42. If it's ten minutes,
    you have 2.5 million moments.
  43. Of course, this is true for any newborn.
  44. I mean, we don’t have much time.
  45. Because of this, our moments
    and choices gain importance.
  46. I’ll give you examples of moments -
  47. examples from choices from my patients,
    from myself and from other people.
  48. There’s this young man at the age of 17.
  49. He has many problems, like most of us.
  50. And he’s also in love.
  51. He wants to talk to the girl who he loves,
  52. and he is determined
    to talk to her that day.
  53. He keeps texting her but gets no replies.
  54. He calls her this time, again no reply.
  55. Then he calls her again,
    and his call gets suspended.
  56. He goes to the living room,
  57. opens the window
    and jumps into the void.
  58. No, he doesn’t die.
  59. He becomes paraplegic.
  60. He will spend the rest
    of his life in a wheel chair
  61. with all his problems remaining the same.
  62. No choice should be made against life,
  63. including the choices on our life,
  64. since there’s only
    one sacred thing on this earth,
  65. which is life.
  66. This holds true for all the children
    who die from hunger in Africa
  67. or in a bombardment in the Middle East.
  68. It holds true for the dolphins
    slaughtered at the Faroe islands
  69. as wells as the dogs
    poisoned to death by municipalities.
  70. It also holds true for the trees
    chopped to build a mall in Gezi Park,
  71. chopped to build a mosque in Validebağ
  72. or chopped for a power plant in Soma.
  73. (Applause)
  74. By the way, dear ladies and gentlemen,
  75. please do not forget to reply
    to the texts from your loved ones
  76. as long as the text you received
    doesn't include harsh words.
  77. I’ve had so many patients
    who have jumped into the void.
  78. Another of my patients
    is a woman at the age of 29.
  79. She was married,
  80. had a happy marriage and a good job.
  81. She was having headaches.
  82. She got an MRI, and a big
    vascular lump was found.
  83. She came to me.
  84. I began to inform her about her condition,
  85. that she had had the lump since birth
  86. and it could stay there
    doing no harm until the end of her life.
  87. She suddenly took the words
    out of my mouth and said,
  88. "But it might also bleed
    tomorrow and I might die."
  89. For a while now,
  90. patients have been researching
    their illnesses on the Internet.
  91. They research me too.
    They know almost everything about me.
  92. She said, "They say you’re good
    at this kind of surgery. Save me."
  93. I told her the risks of the operation,
    including disabilities and death.
  94. She said, "I want the operation."
  95. The operation took 20 hours.
  96. She came out of the operation
    with both legs and one arm paralyzed.
  97. And then she gave me the best gift
    I’ve ever got from a patient:
  98. this postcard.
  99. It pictures her and her husband.
  100. On the back side, it says,
  101. January 2002, the diagnosis;
    April 2002, the operation;
  102. August 2002, 3200 meters high
    on Mount Kaçkar.
  103. She made a choice,
  104. and I am so happy that I
    could give her a life she wished for.
  105. The next story is a bit more touching.
  106. A man in his mid-30s
    had an epileptic attack.
  107. They took him to the ER.
    He got an MRI scan.
  108. A big tumor in the right
    hemisphere of the brain.
  109. He came to me.
  110. With a bitter smile on his face, he asked,
    "Doc, you think I can survive?"
  111. It was a malignant one.
  112. I said, "We both will fight against it."
  113. I operated on him
    three times in two years.
  114. One day, he called me.
  115. He said,
  116. "Doc, I lived the last two years well.
    I did everything I dreamed of.
  117. I had fantasies and realized them all.
  118. I enjoyed 40-50 years in only two years."
  119. He died a week later.
  120. Should it have been like that?
  121. Do we have to crashed into a wall
  122. before we understand
    the value of our lives?
  123. We come out from a cubicle called home
  124. to go to another cubicle called work
    every single morning.
  125. We keep wasting a lifetime
  126. while our imagination
    and creativity fade away.
  127. We strive hard to earn more,
    get higher social status
  128. and become more powerful.
  129. Yet does being powerful
    help us to get more decent?
  130. Most of the time, it makes us worse.
  131. We become more alienated
  132. from our surroundings
    and the planet we live on.
  133. When was the last time
    you had a look at a world map?
  134. How many of you have ever
    dreamed of going to the poles
  135. or going down a trench on a submarine?
  136. If you didn’t,
  137. then how would your children
    dream of going to Jupiter or Uranus?
  138. How would our children
    growing up in this land do so?
  139. I’ll give you two examples
    of two mariners.
  140. I am a sailor myself too.
  141. Two great female sailors.
  142. The first one is Jean Socrates,
  143. a retired math teacher at the age of 70.
  144. She and her husband learned
    how to sail after the age of 50.
  145. They sold their house and bought
    a sailboat to travel around the world.
  146. They named it Nereida.
  147. But her husband died because of cancer.
  148. This 70-year-old woman took the challenge
  149. and decided to travel around the world
    nonstop on the most challenging route.
  150. Very few people had managed to do so.
  151. She set off.
  152. She tried to complete her journey
    but had to stop on the way.
  153. So she could not achieve her goal,
    but she set off again.
  154. She needed to stop once again,
    only 60 miles before the finish line.
  155. She set off again,
  156. and finally she became the oldest person
    and one of the few people
  157. that sailed nonstop around the world.
  158. Another great sailor, Ellen MacArthur.
  159. She has a petite figure
    and is 152 cm tall.
  160. She joined one of the toughest
    sport competitions in the world,
  161. called Vendée Globe.
  162. She fought off
  163. the 10-15-metre-high waves
    of the Southern Ocean
  164. on a 60-foot sailboat for 94 days,
  165. and finished the competition
    in second place.
  166. Three years later,
  167. she became the fastest person on earth
  168. to sail around the world with a trimaran.
  169. Both of these great women
  170. are now fighting off cancer
    with the associations they founded
  171. as they keep sailing at the same time.
  172. They have become role-models
  173. and a source of inspiration
    for the children in their countries.
  174. I now remember a year ago.
  175. One of my patients
    was having a brain hemorrhage.
  176. She was in the operation room
    two hours later.
  177. This video is an episode
    from her operation.
  178. Soon, I will experience the worst thing
    a brain surgeon can ever experience.
  179. We call it a premature rupture.
  180. Before I got to explore
    the anatomy of the patient,
  181. the aneurysm burst.
  182. The blood which should flow to the brain
  183. was coming out with such a great pressure
  184. that it was like water
    coming out of a hose.
  185. If I could not have stopped
    the bleeding in couple of minutes,
  186. I’d have lost the patient.
  187. Seconds were running by
    and my coronary arteries shriveled up.
  188. But it’s my job.
  189. I’d done hundreds of operations
    like this in the past 25 years.
  190. I knew how to stop this bleeding.
  191. I clipped the aneurysm.
  192. I saved the patient’s life.
  193. I am a surgeon
    who is in love with his job.
  194. I am a surgeon who does his job well.
  195. I have been doing
    what I was dreaming of as a kid.
  196. I’ve educated a lot
    of residents and students.
  197. I have written books,
  198. and I am well-known
    both nationwide and worldwide.
  199. Yet it started to feel inadequate
    to have only one dimension in my life,
  200. to get stuck in neurosurgery.
  201. After that operation, I went to Taksim.
  202. It was June.
  203. The Gezi Park protests have inspired
    its participants in many different ways.
  204. And for me,
  205. it made me think that we live
    on a planet called Earth.
  206. I was here two months after.
  207. East Greenland, Angmagssalik region.
  208. An Eskimo village called Kulusuk.
  209. My goal was to pass through
    the Arctic Circle in a kayak.
  210. I’d never rode in a kayak before.
  211. I’d never paddled.
  212. We sailed to the Greenland sea,
  213. and I was with people
    I didn’t know at all.
  214. We started to paddle
    in the direction of the Arctic Circle,
  215. which was 100 km away.
  216. I stayed in a tent on Greenland.
  217. I had not stayed in a tent
    for the past 30 years.
  218. I went to the toilet
    watching out for polar bears.
  219. I never washed for eight days.
  220. I mean, these were not very common things
  221. for a 50-year-old medical professor
  222. who was used to the modern urban life.
  223. But in the end, I did it;
    I passed through the Arctic Circle.
  224. And here I was after three months:
  225. Antarctica.
  226. From Ushuaia -
  227. (Applause)
  228. Well, I’ll travel more
  229. if I keep getting
    these rounds of applause.
  230. (Laughter)
  231. We got onto this sailboat in Ushuaia,
  232. the southernmost city on Earth,
  233. and sailed to the Drake Passage.
  234. With eight more people;
    people who I didn’t know at all.
  235. The Drake Passage
    is one of the toughest on earth.
  236. It’s between South America and Antarctica
    and rough for 300 days a year.
  237. You get to this magnificent place
    after you cross the Drake Passage.
  238. Antarctica.
  239. You feel like you have arrived
    on a different planet.
  240. The best part of Antarctica
    is that no one owns it.
  241. No countries or
    multinationals possess it.
  242. Nobody tries to exploit
    its natural resources.
  243. Antarctica only belongs
    to the creatures that live there.
  244. I stayed in Antarctica for a month.
  245. I said goodbye to the penguins
    on my way back home.
  246. (Applause)
  247. I also didn’t forget to ask them,
  248. "What's with all these
    documentaries of yours
  249. shown on all TV channels
    at the time of Gezi Park Protests
  250. instead of showing the activists?"
  251. I am quoting you their response:
  252. "Dude, we live up here,
  253. so we don’t care whether they
    build a mall in Taksim square or not.
  254. They filmed us with a candid camera
  255. and showed it on TV
    without asking our permission.
  256. Our whole life has been exposed,
  257. whether it's the birth
    of our kids or our sex life.
  258. As you can see, we’re black
    and white from birth.
  259. We would have showed up
    in Gezi with the Çarşı Group
  260. if we had been in İstanbul then."
  261. (Applause)
  262. It would have been a nice scene, indeed,
  263. to march to Gezi cheering
    with a large group of penguins.
  264. On my way home from Antarctica,
  265. one of the best things
    in my life happened.
  266. First we saw the spouts.
  267. It was a group of big humpback whales.
  268. We lowered the sails and waited.
  269. They started to near us one by one,
  270. and soon the whole boat was surrounded
    by twenty or so humpback whales.
  271. Sounds scary?
  272. Not at all, they started
    to play with us like kids.
  273. They dived on one side of the boat
  274. and came to the surface on another
    in the middle of the vast ocean.
  275. They showed their flukes
    and blew water out on our faces.
  276. Even a pet will be bothered
    when a visitor shows up at home.
  277. Yet these whales taught us a lesson
    of the friendship of all living creatures
  278. in the middle of the ocean.
  279. Then I went back to my operating room.
  280. I was doing the surgeries
    much more passionately than before.
  281. I examined my patients,
    but I was not who I used to be.
  282. When one travels in the waters
    of Greenland and Antarctica,
  283. one don’t stay the same person.
  284. While I was working,
  285. I was also thinking about
    walking to the South Pole
  286. and swimming with the whales in Tongo.
  287. You might ask if it isn’t dangerous.
  288. It is.
  289. But trust me, urban life is no less.
  290. Especially if you live in Turkey,
    Antarctica is much safer for sure.
  291. (Laughter)
  292. We have only one life.
  293. Only one.
  294. We don’t know what’s afterwards.
  295. We were born into this life
    and will live through it.
  296. Change your lives.
  297. Start making changes from tomorrow on.
  298. Dream.
  299. Dream big and what seems impossible.
  300. Dream the toughest.
  301. Dream of climbing
    the Everest, and plan it.
  302. Maybe one day, you will climb Mount Ağrı.
  303. Not bad, ain’t it?
  304. Dream of sailing to the Mediterranean
    and head for the oceans.
  305. Maybe one day you get a fisherman boat
    and live on the sea in Istanbul.
  306. Not bad, ain’t it?
  307. Touch your life tomorrow.
  308. Stop being the audience
    and come to the stage.
  309. Be the actors and actresses
    of your own life, not the audience.
  310. Be the playwright
    and the director of your life.
  311. Touch your life.
  312. When one changes, everyone changes.
  313. Humans are defined
    by their moments and choices.
  314. Let your choices follow your dreams.
  315. Never forget!
  316. Always remember the Lapon sailors.
  317. The Lapon sailors never came back
  318. after they set to the Arctic Ocean
    after their red-eyed deer.
  319. And never thought of coming back.
  320. (Applause)