Episode 1: "A Hard Day's Night"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "I can't think of a single reason why I should be a surgeon, but I can think of a thousand reasons why I should quit. They make it hard on purpose. There are lives in our hands. There comes a moment when it's more than just a game, and you either take that step forward or turn around and walk away. I could quit, but here's the thing. I love the playing field."
Episode 2: "The First Cut is the Deepest"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "It's all about lines. The finish line at the end of residency, waiting in line for a chance at the operating table, and then there’s the most important line, the line separating you from the people you work with. It doesn’t help to get too familiar to make friends. You need boundaries, between you and the rest of the world. Other people are far too messy. It’s all about lines... drawing lines in the sand and praying like hell no one crosses them."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don't keep other people out, they fence you in. Life is messy, that's how we're made. So you can waste your life drawing lines or you can live your life crossing them. But there are some lines that are way too dangerous to cross. Here's what I know. If you're willing to throw caution to the wind and take a chance, the view from the other side... is spectacular."
Episode 3: "Winning a Battle, Losing the War"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "We live our lives on the surgical unit. Seven days a week, 14 hours a day, we're together more than we're apart. After a while, the ways of residency becomes the ways of life. Number one: Always keep score. Number two: Do whatever you can to outsmart the other guy. Number three: Don't make friends with the enemy. Oh, yeah, Number four: Everything, everything is a competition. Whoever said winning wasn't everything... Never held a scalpel."
Episode 4: "No Man's Land"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "I wish there were a rulebook for intimacy. Some kind of guide to tell you when you've crossed the line. It would be nice if you could see it coming, and I don't know how you fit it on a map. You take it where you can get it, and keep it as long as you can. As for rules, maybe there are none. Maybe the rules of intimacy are something we have to define for ourselves."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Intimacy is a four syllable word for: Here is my heart and soul, please grind into hamburger, and enjoy. It's both desired, and feared. Difficult to live with, and impossible to live without. Intimacy also comes attached to the three R's... relatives, romance, and roommates. There are some things you can't escape. And other things you just don't want to know."
Episode 5: "Shake Your Groove Thing"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Remember when you were a kid and your biggest worry was, like, if you'd get a bike for your birthday or if you'd get to eat cookies for breakfast. Being an adult? Totally overrated. I mean seriously, don't be fooled by all the hot shoes and the great sex and the no parents anywhere telling you what to do. Adulthood is responsibility. Responsibility, it really does suck. Really, really sucks. Adults have to be places and do things and earn a living and pay the rent. And if you're training to be a surgeon, holding a human heart in your hands, hello? Talk about responsibility. Kind of makes bikes and cookies look really, really good, doesn't it? The scariest part about responsibility? When you screw up and let it slip right through your fingers."
MEREDITH: "I guess we're adults. The question is, when did that happen, and how do we make it stop?"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Responsibility. It really does suck. Unfortunately, once you get past the age of braces and training bras, responsibility doesn't go away. It can't be avoided. Either someone makes us face it or we suffer the consequences. And still adulthood has it perks. I mean the shoes, the sex, the no parents anywhere telling you what to do. That's, pretty damn good."
Episode 6: "If Tomorrow Never Comes"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "A couple of hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. 'Never leave that 'til tomorrow,' he said, 'Which you could do today.' This is the man who discovered electricity. You’d think more of us would listen to what he had to say. I don’t know why we put things off, but if I had to guess, I’d say it had a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear is just of making a decision, because what if you’re wrong. What if you make a mistake you can’t undo. Whatever it is we're afraid of, one thing holds true. That by the time the pain of not doing the thing gets worse than the fear of doing it. It can feel like we're carrying around a giant tumor. And you thought I was speaking metaphorically."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "The early bird catches the worm; a stitch in time saves nine. He who hesitates is lost. We can't pretend we haven't been told. We've all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time, heard the damn poets urging us to ‘seize the day'. Still sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today's possibility under tomorrow's rug until we can't anymore, until we finally understand for ourselves like Benjamin Franklin meant. That knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake beats the hell out of never trying."
Episode 8: "Save Me"
MEREDITH: "You know when you were a little kid and you believed in fairy tales? That fantasy of what your life would be -- white dress, prince charming who’d carry you away to a castle on a hill. You’d lie in your bed at night and close your eyes and you had complete and utter faith. Santa clause, the tooth fairy, prince charming -- they were so close you could taste them. But eventually you grow up and one day you open your eyes and the fairy tale disappears. Most people turn to the things and people they can trust. But the thing is, it’s hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely because almost everyone has that smallest bit of hope and faith that one day they would open their eyes and it would all come true."
DEREK: "I'm a surgeon, I don't have any friends."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "But the thing is, it’s hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely, because almost everyone has that smallest bit of faith and hope that one day they would open their eyes and it would all come true. At the end of the day, faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don’t really expect it. It’s like one day you realize that the fairy tale is slightly different than your dream. The castle, well it may not be a castle. And it’s not so important that it’s happily ever after -- just that it’s happy right now. See, once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you. And once in awhile, people may even take your breath away."
Episode 9: "Who's Zoomin' Who?"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Secrets can't hide in science. Medicine has a way of exposing lies. Within the walls of the hospital, the truth is stripped bare. How we keep our secrets outside the hospital -- well, that’s a little different. One thing is certain, whatever it is we're trying to hide; we're never ready for that moment when the truth gets naked. That's the problem with secrets -- like misery, they love company. They pile up and up until they take over everything, until you don't have room for anything else, until you're so full of secrets you feel like you're going to burst."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "The thing people forget is how good it can feel when you finally set secrets free. Whether good or bad, at least they're out in the open, like it or not. And once your secrets are out in the open, you don't have to hide behind them anymore. The problem with secrets is even when you think you're in control, you're not."
Episode 1: "Raindrops Keep Failling on My Head"
ALEX: "Surgery is the only specialty at the hospital where we don't waste time getting to know the patients. They're slabs of meat, and we're butchers."
MEREDITH: "To be a good surgeon you have to think like a surgeon. Emotions are messy. Tuck them neatly away and step into a clean sterile room where the procedure is simple. Cut, suture, and close. But sometimes you’re faced with a cut that won’t heal. A cut that rips its stitches wide open. They say that practice makes perfect."
Episode 2: ""Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)""
MEREDITH: [narrating] "There's something to be said about a glass half full, about knowing when to say when. I think it's more of a floating line, a barometer of need. Of desire. It's entirely up to the individual, and it depends what's being poured. Sometimes all we want is a taste. Other times there's no such thing as enough, the glass is bottomless... all we want is more."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "I have an aunt who whenever she poured anything for you she would say 'Say when.' My aunt would say 'say when," and of course, we never did. We don't say when because there's something about the possibility, of more. More tequila, more love. More anything. More is better."
ADDISON: "Sometimes people do desperate things to get someone's attention. But there are two sides to every story."
CRISTINA: "When you're feeling emotional... sometimes it's hard to keep a level head and consider all the facts."
Episode 3: "Make Me Lose Control"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Nobody likes to lose control, but as a surgeon there's nothing worse. It's a sign of weakness, of not being up to the task. Still there are times when it just gets away from you, when the world stops spinning, when you realize your shiny little scalpel isn't gonna save you. No matter how hard you fight it, you fall. It's scary as hell. Except there's an upside to the free fall. It's the chance you give your friends to catch you."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Surgeons are control freaks. With a scalpel in your hand, you feel unstoppable. There's no fear, there's no pain. You're 10 feet tall and bulletproof. And then you leave the O.R. All that perfection, that beautiful control, just falls to crap."
Episode 4: "Deny, Deny, Deny"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "The key to surviving a surgical internship is denial. We deny we're tired, we deny that we're scared, we deny how badly we want to succeed. And most importantly, we deny that we're in denial. We only see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe, and it works. We lie to ourselves so much that after a while the lies start to seem like the truth. We deny so much that we can't recognize the truth... right in front of our faces."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting us in the ass. And when the dam bursts, all you can do is swim. The world of pretend is a cage, not a cocoon. We can only lie to ourselves for so long. We are tired, we are scared, and denying it doesn't change the truth. Sooner or later we have to put aside our denial and face the world, head on, guns blazing... Denial. It's not just a river in Egypt. It's a freakin' ocean. So how do you keep from drowning in it?"
Episode 6: "Into You Like a Train"
MEREDITH: [drunkenly narrating] "In general, people can be categorized in one of two ways. Those who love surprises and those who don't. I don't. I've never met a surgeon that enjoys a surprise, because as surgeons, we like to be in the know. We have to be in the know, because when we aren't, people die and lawsuits happen. Okay, I think I'm rambling. My point, actually, and I do have one, has nothing to do with surprises or death or lawsuits, or even surgeons. My point is that whoever said 'What you don't know can’t hurt you,' was a complete and total moron. Because for most people I know, not knowing is the worst feeling in the world." [sees passengers impaled on metal pole] "Okay, fine. Maybe the second worst."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "As surgeons, there are so many things we have to know. We have to know we have what it takes. We have to know how to take care of our patients... and each other. Eventually, we have to figure out how to take care of ourselves. As surgeons we have to be in the know, but as human beings, sometimes it's better to stay in the dark. In the dark there may be fear, but there's also hope."
Episode 7: "Something to Talk About"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Communication. It's the first thing we really learn in life. The funny thing is, once we grow up, learn our words and really start talking, the harder it becomes to know what to say. Or how to ask for what we really need."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "At the end of the day, there are some things you just can't help but talk about. Some things we just don't want to hear, and some things we say because we can't be silent any longer. Some things are more than what you say. They're what you do. Some things you say because you have no other choice. Some things you keep to yourself. And not too often, but every now and then, some things simply speak for themselves."
Episode 8: "Let It Be"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "For extra credit, Mrs. Snyder used to make us act out all the parts. Sal Scafarillo was Romeo. As fate would have it, I was Juliet. Most of the girls were green with envy. I wasn't. I told Ms. Snyder that Juliet was an idiot. For one thing, she falls for the one guy she knows she can't have... Everyone thinks it's so romantic: Romeo and Juliet, true love... how sad. If Juliet was stupid enough to fall for the enemy, drink a bottle of poison, and go to sleep in a mausoleum, then she deserved everything she got."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Mrs. Snyder explained to me that when fate comes into play, choice sometimes goes out the window. Maybe Romeo and Juliet were fated to be together, but just for a while, and then their time passed. If they could have known that beforehand, maybe it all would have been okay. I told Mrs. Snyder that when I was grown up, I'd take fate into my own hands. I wouldn't let some guy drag me down. Mrs. Snyder said that I'd be lucky if I ever had that kind of passion with someone, and if I did, we'd be together forever. Even now, I believe that for the most part, love is about choices. It's about putting down the poison and the dagger and making your own happy ending... most of the time. And sometimes, despite all your best intentions, fate wins anyway."
Episode 9: "Thanks for the Memories"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Maybe we're not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we're thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we'll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate."
Episode 10: "Much Too Much"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "How do you know how much is too much? Too much too soon. Too much information. Too much fun. Too much love, or too much to ask of someone? When is it all just too much for us to bear?"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "When you're a kid, it's Halloween candy. You hide it from your parents and you eat it until you get sick. In college, it's the heavy combo of youth, tequila and well... you know. As a surgeon, you take as much of the good as you can get because it doesn't come around nearly as often as it should. Because good things aren't always what they seem. Too much of anything, even love, is not always a good thing."
Episode 11: "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Forty years ago, the Beatles asked the world a question. They wanted to know where all the lonely people came from. My theory is that a great many of the lonely people come from hospitals. More precisely, the surgical wing of hospitals. As surgeons, we ignore our own needs so we can meet our patients' needs. We ignore our friends and families so we can save other people's friends and families. Which means that, at the end of the day, all we really have is ourselves. And nothing in this world can make you feel more alone than that."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Four hundred years ago, another English guy had an opinion on being alone. John Donne. He thought we were never alone. Of course it was fancier when he said it. No man is an island entire onto himself. Boil down that island talk and he just means that all anyone needs is someone to step in and let us know we're not alone. And who's to say that someone can't have four legs. Someone to play with, or run around with, or just hang out."
Episode 12: "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"
CRISTINA: [to Justin] "I think you should decide to live. Live so you can become a doctor, and you can find a way to do heart transplants without someone having to die. Live so you can grow up and have kids and raise them not to believe in Santa. That would piss your mom off. Just decide to live. Because in your case, dying really isn't the best revenge."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "There's an old proverb that says you can't choose your family. You take what fate handa you. And like them or not, love them or not, understand them or not, you cope. Then there's the school of thought that says the family you're born into is simply a starting point. They feed you, clothe you, and take care of you until you're ready to go out into the world. There you find your own tribe."
Episode 13: "Begin the Begin"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Fresh starts thanks to the calendar they happen every year. Just set your watch to January, our reward for surviving the holiday season. Bringing on the great tradition of new years resolutions, put your past behind you and start over. It’s hard to resist the chance for a new beginning, a chance to put the problems of last year to bed."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Who gets to determine when the old ends and the new begins? It’s not on the calendar, it’s not a birthday, it’s not a new year. It’s an event, big or small, something that changes us. Ideally, that gives us hope, a new way of living and looking at the world, a way of letting go of old habits, old memories. What's important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning, but it's also important to remember that, amid all the crap, there are a few things worth holding on to."
Episode 14: "Tell Me Sweet Little Lies"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "As doctors, we're trained to be skeptical, because patients lie to us all the time. The rule is, every patient is a liar until proven honest. Lying is bad. Or so we are told constantly from birth. Honesty is the best policy, the truth shall set you free, I chopped down the cherry tree. Whatever. The fact is, lying is a necessity. We lie to ourselves because the truth... the truth freaking hurts."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "No matter how hard we try to ignore or deny it, eventually the lies fall away, like it or not. But here's the truth about the truth. It hurts. So we lie."
Episode 15: "Break on Through"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "In general, lines are there for a reason. For security, for clarity. If you choose to cross the line, you pretty much do so at your own risk. So why is it that the bigger the line, the greater the temptation to cross it? We cant help ourselves. When we see a line we want to cross it. Maybe it’s the thrill of the unfamiliar, a sort of personal dare. The only problem is once that you’ve crossed, it’s almost impossible to go back. But, if you do manage to make it back across the line, you find safety in numbers."
Episode 16: "It's the End of the World..."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "It’s a look patients get in their eyes... Some kind of sixth sense, when the great beyond is headed for you, you feel it coming. What's the one thing you’ve always dreamed of doing before you died?"
Episode 17: "(As We Know It)"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "In hospitals, they say you know when you’re going to die. Some doctors say it’s a look patients get in their eyes. Some say there’s a scent, a certain smell. Some say it’s some kind of sixth sense. When the great beyond is headed for you, you feel it coming. If today were your last day on Earth? How would you spend it?"
Episode 18: "Yesterday"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "I've heard that it’s possible to grow up, I've just never met anyone who’s actually done it. Without parents to defy, we break the rules we make for ourselves. We throw tantrums when things don’t go our way. We whisper secrets with our best friend, in the dark. We look for comfort where we can find it. And we hope against all logic, against all experience, like children, we never give up hope."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, here’s what I've decided. There's no such thing as a grown-up. We move out, we move away from our families. But the basic insecurities, the fears and all the old wounds just grow up with us. Just when you think life has forced you to truly become an adult, your mother says something like that. We get bigger, taller, older. But, for the most part, we're still a bunch of kids, running around the playground, trying desperately to fit in."
Episode 19: "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"
GEORGE: [narrating] "Karma. One way or another it will leave us to face ourselves. We can look our karma in the eye or we can wait for it to sneak up from behind. But karma will always find us. The truth is, as surgeons, we have more chances than most to set the balance in our favor. Yet no matter how hard we try we can't escape our karma. It follows us home. I guess we can't really complain about our karma. It's not an affair. It's not unexpected. It just... evens the score. And even when we're about to do something that we know will tempt karma to bite us in the ass... well, it goes without saying. We do it anyway."
Episode 20: "Superstition"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "My college campus has a magic statue. It’s a tradition for students to rub its nose for good luck. My freshman roommate really believed in it and insisted on rubbing its nose before every exam. Studying might have been a better idea. She flunked out her sophomore year. But we all have little superstitious things that we do. If it's not believing in magic statues, it's avoiding sidewalk cracks or always putting our left shoe on first. Knock on wood. Step on a crack, break your mother's back. The last thing we want to do is offend the gods."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Superstition lies in the space between what we can control and what we can't. Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck. No one wants to pass up a chance for good luck. But does saying it 33 times really help? Is anyone actually listening? Why do we bother doing those strange things? We rely on superstitions because we're smart enough to know we don't have all the answers.. and that life works in mysterious ways. Don't diss the juju, from wherever it comes."
Episode 21: "Band-Aid Covers the Bullet Hole"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "As doctors, as friends, as human beings, we all try to do the best we can. But the world is full of unexpected twists and turns. Just when you’ve gotten the lay of the land, the ground underneath you shifts. It knocks you off your feet. If youre lucky, you end up with nothing more than a flesh wound, something a band-aid will cover. But some wounds are deeper than they first appear, and require more than just a quick fix. With some wounds, you have to rip of the band-aid, let them breathe and give them time to heal."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "As doctors, patients are always telling us how they'd do our jobs. Just stitch me up, slap a band-aid on it and send me home. It’s easy to suggest a quick solution, when you don’t know much about the problem or you don’t understand the underlying cause or just how deep the wound is. The first step toward a real cure is to know exactly what the disease is to begin with. But that’s not what people want to hear... We're supposed to forget the past that led us here, ignore the future complications that might arise and go for the quick fix."
Episode 22: "Name of the Game"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "A good basketball game can have us all on the edge of our seats. Games are all about the glory, pain and the play-by-play. Then there are the more solitary games. The ones we play all by ourselves. The social games, the mind games. We use them to pass the time to make life more interesting... to distract us from what's really going on. There are those of us who love to play games, any games. And there are those of us who love to play a little too much."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "So go ahead. Argue with the ref, change the rules. Cheat a little, take a break and tend to your wounds. But play. Play. Play hard, play fast... play loose and free. Play as if there were no tomorrow. It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game... right?
Episode 23: "Blues For Sister Someone"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "A wise man once said you can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it. What he meant is nothing comes without a price. So before you go into battle, you better decide how much you're willing to lose. Too often, going after what feels good means letting go of what you know is right, and letting someone in means abandoning the walls you've spent a lifetime building. Of course, the toughest sacrifices are the ones we don't see coming, when we don't have time to come up with a strategy to pick a side or to measure the potential loss. When that happens, when the battle chooses us and not the other way around, that's when the sacrifice can turn out to be more than we can bear."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "The key to being a successful intern is what we give up. Sleep, friends, a normal life. We sacrifice it all for that one amazing moment, that moment when you can legally call yourself a surgeon. There are days that make the sacrifices seem worthwhile. Then there are the days where everything feels like a sacrifice. And then there are the sacrifices that you cant even figure out why you're making."
Episode 24: "17 Seconds"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "In life we're taught that there are seven deadly sins. We all know the big ones... gluttony, pride, lust. But the thing you don't hear much about is anger. Maybe it's because we think anger is not that dangerous, that you can control it. My point is, maybe we don't give anger enough credit. Maybe it can be a lot more dangerous than we think. After all, when it comes to destructive behavior, it did make the top seven."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "So what makes anger different from the six other deadly sins? It's pretty simple really. You give in to a sin like envy or pride, and you only hurt yourself. Try lust or coveting and you'll only hurt yourself and one or two others. But anger is the worst... the mother of all sins... Not only can anger drive you over the edge, when it does, you can take an awful lot of people with you."
DENNY: [to Izzie] "A kiss is worth a thousand words."
Episode 26: "Damage Case"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "We all go through life like bulls in a china shop. A chip here, a crack there. Doing damage to ourselves, to other people. The problem is trying to control the damage we've done, or thats been done to us. Sometimes the damage catches us by surprise. Sometimes we think we can fix the damage."
Episode 27: "Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response"
[the cast, narrating]
MEREDITH: "Human beings need a lot of things to feel alive."
DEREK: "But we only need one thing"
RICHARD: "To actually be alive."
CRISTINA: "We need a beating heart."
ADDISON: "When our heart is threatened"
ALEX: "We respond in one of two ways."
GEORGE: "We either run or-"
IZZIE: "We attack."
RICHARD: "There's a scientific term for this."
ADDISON: "...or flight."
MIRANDA: "It's instinct."
MEREDITH: "We can't control it."
IZZIE: "Or can we?"
Episode 1: "Time Has Come Today"
MEREDITH [narrating]: "Time waits for no man. Time heals all wounds. All any of us can wants, is more time. Time to stand up. Time to grow up. Time to let go."
Episode 2: "I Am a Tree"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "At any given moment, the brain has 14 billion neurons firing at a speed of 450 miles per hour. We don’t have control over most of them. When we get a chill... goose bumps. When we get excited... adrenaline. The body naturally follows it’s impulses, which I think is part of what makes it so hard for us to control ours. Of course, sometimes we have impulses we would rather not control, that we later wish we had."
MEREDITH: [narrating] The body is a slave to it's impulses. But the thing that makes us human is what we can control. After the storm, after the rush, after the heat of the moment has passed, we can cool off and clean up the messes we made. We can try to let go of what was. Then again..."
Episode 3: "Sometimes a Fantasy"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Surgeons usually fantisize about wild and improbable surgeries. Someone collapses in a restaurant, you splice them open with a butter knife, replace a valve with a hollowed out stick of carrot -- but every now and then some other kind of fantasy slips in. Most of our fantasies resolve when we wake, vanished to the back of our mind, but sometimes we're sure if we try hard enough -- we can live the dream."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "The fantasy is simple. Pleasure is good, and twice as much pleasure is better. That pain is bad, and no pain is better. But the reality is different. The reality is that pain is there to tell us something, and there's only so much pleasure we can take without getting a stomach ache. And maybe that's okay. Maybe some fantasies are only supposed to live in our dreams."
Episode 5: "Oh, The Guilt"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "We are left with a choice. Either let the guilt throw you back into the behavior that got you into trouble in the first place, or learn from the guilt and do your best to move on."
Episode 6: "Let the Angels Commit"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "To make it -- really make it -- as a surgeon, it takes major commitment. We have to be willing to pick up that scalpel and make a cut that may or may not do more damage than good. It's all about being committed, because if we're not? We have no business picking up that scalpel in the first place."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "There are times when even the best of us have trouble with commitment, and we may be surprised at the commitments we're willing to let slip out of our grasp. Commitments are complicated. We may surprise ourselves by the commitments we're willing to make, true commitment, takes effort, and sacrifice. Which is why sometimes, we have to learn the hard way, to choose our commitments very carefully."
Episode 7: "Where The Boys Are"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "The truth with any kind of wound or disease is to dig down and find the source of the injury - and once you’ve found it, try like hell to heal that sucker."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "As surgeons, we are trained to look for disease. Sometimes the problem is easily detected, most of the time we need to go step by step. First, probing the surface looking for any sign of trouble. Most of the time, we can't tell what's wrong with somebody by just looking at them. After all, they can look perfectly fine on the outside, while their insides tell a whole other story."
Episode 9: "From a Whisper to a Scream"
CRISTINA: [narrating] "As doctors, we know everybody's secrets. Their medical histories. Sexual histories. Confidential information that is as essential to a surgeon as a ten-blade, and every bit as dangerous. We keep secrets, we have to, but not all secrets can be kept."
CRISTINA: [narrating] "In some ways, betrayal is inevitable. When our bodies betray us, surgery is often the key to recovery. When we betray each other, the path to recovery is less clear. We do whatever it takes to rebuild the trust that was lost. And then there are some wounds, some betrayals... that are so deep, so profound that there is no way to repair what was lost. And when that happens, there's nothing left to do but wait."
Episode 10: "Don't Stand So Close to Me"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, all we really want is to be close to somebody. So this thing where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care about each other, it's usually a load of bull. So we pick and choose who we want to remain close to, and once we've chosen those people, we tend to stick close by. No matter how much we hurt them. The people that are still with you at the end of the day, those are the ones worth keeping. And sure, sometimes close can be too close. But sometimes, that invasion of personal space, it can be exactly what you need."
Episode 13: "Great Expectations"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "No one believes that their life will turn out just kind of okay. We all think we are going to be great. And from the day we decide to be surgeons, we are filled with expectation. Great expectations of who we will be, where we will go. And then... we get there."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "We all think we’re going to be great and we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But sometimes expectations sell us short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You got to wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady. Standing. Still, the expected's just the beginning, the unexpected is what changes our lives."
Episode 14: "Wishin' and Hopin'"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "As surgeons, we live in a world of worse case scenarios. We cut ourselves off from hoping for the best because too many times the best doesn’t happen. But every now and then something extraordinary occurs and suddenly best case scenarios seem possible. And every now and then something amazing happens, and against our better judgment we start to have hope."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "As doctors, we're trained to give our patients just the facts. But what our patients really want to know is - will the pain go away? Will I feel better? Am I cured? What our patients really want to know is - is there hope? But, inevitably, there are times when you find yourself in the worst case scenario. When the patient's body has betrayed them and all the science we have to offer has failed them. When the worst case scenario comes true, clinging to hope is all we've got left."
Episode 15: "Walk On Water"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Disappearances happen in science. Disease can suddenly fade away, tumors go missing, and we open someone up to discover the cancer is gone. It's unexplained. It’s rare, but it happens. We call it mis-diagnosis. Say we never saw it in the first place, any explanation but the truth. That life is full of vanishing acts. If something that we didn’t know we had disappears... do we miss it?"
Episode 16: "Drowning On Dry Land"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Like I said, disappearances happen. Pains go phantom. Blood stops running and people, people fade away. There's more I have to say, so much more, but... I disappeared."
Episode 17: "Some Kind of Miracle"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "At the end of a day like this, when so many prayers are answered and so many aren’t, we take our miracles where we find them. We reach across the gap and sometimes, against all odds, against all logic, we touch."
Episode 18: "Scars and Souvenirs"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "People have scars. In all sorts of unexpected places. Like secret roadmaps of their personal histories. Diagrams of all their old wounds. Most of our wounds heal, leaving nothing behind but a scar. But some of them don't. Some wounds we carry with us everywhere and though the cut's long gone, the pain still lingers."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "What's worse, new wounds which are so horribly painful or old wounds that should've healed years ago and never did? Maybe our old wounds teach us something. They remind us where we've been and what we've overcome. They teach us lessons about what to avoid in the future. That's what we like to think. But that's not the way it is, is it? Some things we just have to learn over and over and over again."
Episode 19: "My Favorite Mistake"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Surgeons always have a plan. Where to cut, where to clamp, where to stitch. But, even with the best plans complications can arise, things can go wrong. And suddenly you're caught with your pants down."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "The thing about plans is they don't take into account the unexpected, so when we're thrown a curve ball, whether its in the O.R. or in life, we have to improvise. Of course, some of us are better at it than others. Some of us just have to move on to plan B, and make the best of it. And sometimes what we want is exactly what we need. But sometimes, sometimes what we need is a new plan."
Episode 20: "Time After Time"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "A patient's history is as important as their symptoms. It's what helps us decide if heart burn's a heart attack... if a headache's a tumor. Sometimes patients will try to re-write their own histories. They'll claim they don't smoke, or forget to mention certain drugs... which in surgery can be the kiss of death. We can ignore it all we want, but our history eventually always comes back to haunt us."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Some people believe that without history, our lives amount to nothing. At some point we all have to choose: do we fall back on what we know, or do we step forward to something new? It's hard not to be haunted by our past. Our history is what shapes us... what guides us. Our history resurfaces time after time after time. So we have to remember sometimes the most important history is the history we’re making today."
Episode 21: "Desire"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "As interns, we know what we want, to become surgeons. And we'll do anything to get there. Suffer through killer exam, endure 100-hour weeks, Stand for hours on end in operating rooms, you name it, we'll do it."
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Too often, the thing you want most is the one thing you can't have. Desire leaves us heartbroken, it wears us out. Desire can wreck your life. But as tough as wanting something can be. The people who suffer the most, are those who don't know what they want."
Episode 22: "The Other Side of This Life"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "The dream is this - that we'll finally be happy when we reach our goals - find the guy, finish our internship, that's the dream. Then we get there. And if we're human, we immediately start dreaming of something else. Because, if this is the dream, then we'd like to wake up. Now, please!"
Episode 22: "The Other Side of This Life"
MEREDITH: [narrating] "Maybe we accept the dream has become a nightmare. We tell ourselves that reality is better. We convince ourselves it's better that we never dream at all. But, the strongest of us, the most determined of us, holds on to the dream or we find ourselves faced with a fresh dream we never considered. We wake to find ourselves, against all odds, feeling hopeful. And, if we're lucky, we realize in the face of everything, in the face of life the true dream is being able to dream at all."
Episode 23: "Testing 1-2-3"
MEREDITH [narrating]: "A surgeon's education never ends. Every patient, every symptom, every operation... is a test. A chance for us to demonstrate how much we know. And how much more we have to learn."
Episode 24: "Didn't We Almost Have it All"
RICHARD: [narrating] "Being Chief... is about responsibility. Every single surgical patient in a hospital is your patient. Whether you're the one who cut them open or not. The scalpel stops with you. You need to be able to look at her family. And to tell them your team did everything they could to save someone's life. The husband, the wife. Taking care about the people's families. And responsibility... it makes you... you take care of the people's families. But you sacrifice your own."
Episode 1: "A Change is Gonna Come"
Meredith: [narrating] In the practice of medicine, change is inevitable. New surgical techniques are created, procedures are updated, levels of expertise increase. Innovation is everything, nothing remains the same for long. We either adapt to change, or ... we get left behind.
Meredith: [narrating] Change; we don’t like it, we fear it, but we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change or we get left behind. And it hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn’t is lying. But heres the truth: the more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh, sometimes change is good. Oh, sometimes, change is ... everything.
Episode 2: "Love/Addiction"
Meredith: [narrating] In the hospital, we see addiction every day. It's shocking how many kinds of addiction exist. It would be too easy if it were just drugs and booze and cigarettes. I think the hardest part of kicking a habit is wanting to kick it. I mean, we get addicted for a reason, right? Often, too often, things that start out as just a normal part of your life at some point cross the line to obsessive, compulsive, out of control. It's the high we're chasing, the high that makes everything else fade away.
Meredith: [narrating] Still, they say you don’t kick the habit until you hit rock bottom, but how do you know when you’re there? Because no matter how badly a thing is hurting us, sometimes letting it go hurts even worse.
Episode 3: "Let the Truth Sting"
Meredith: [narrating] Doctors give patients a number of thing. We give them medicine, we give them advice and, most of the time, we give them our undivided attention. But, by far, the hardest thing you can give a patient is the truth. The truth is hard. The truth is awkward and very often the truth hurts. I mean, people think they want the truth. But do they really?
Episode 4: "The Heart of the Matter"
Meredith: [narrating] In life, only one thing is certain, apart from death and taxes. No matter how hard you try, no matter how good your intentions, you are going to make mistakes. You’re going to hurt people. You’re going to get hurt. And if you ever want to recover... there’s really only one thing you can say.
Meredith: [narrating] Forgive and forget. That’s what they say. It’s good advice, but it’s not very practical. When someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back. When someone wrongs us, we want to be right. Without forgiveness, old scores are never settled… old wounds never heal. And the most we can hope for, is that one day we’ll be lucky enough to forget.
Episode 5: "Haunt You Every Day"
Meredith: [narrating] There’s a reason surgeons learn to wield scalpels. We like to pretend we’re hard, cold scientists. We like to pretend we're fearless. But the truth is we become surgeons because somewhere deep down we think we can cut away that which haunts us. Weakness, frailty, death.
Meredith: [narrating] It isn't just surgeons. I don't know anyone who isn't haunted by something or someone. And whether we try to slice the pain away with a scalpel or shove it in the back of a closet ... our efforts usually fail. So the only way we can clear out the cobwebs is to turn a new page or put an old story to rest.... finally, finally to rest.
Episode 6: "Kung Fu Fighting"
Meredith: [narrating] "There’s this thing about being a surgeon. Maybe it’s pride or maybe it’s just about being tough. But a true surgeon never admits they need help, unless absolutely necessary. Surgeons don’t need to ask for help because they are tougher than that. Surgeons are cowboys, rough around the edges, hard core… at least that’s what they want you to think."
Meredith: [narrating] "Deep down, everyone wants to believe they can be hardcore. But being hardcore isn’t just about being tough. It’s about acceptance. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to not be hardcore for once. You don’t have to be tough every minute of every day. It’s okay to let down your guard. In fact there are moments when it’s the best thing you can possibly do… as long as you choose your moments wisely."
Episode 7: "Physical Attraction, Chemical Reaction"
Meredith: [narrating] Before we were doctors, we were med students, which meant we spend a lot of time of studying chemistry. Organic chemistry, biochemistry, we learned it all. But when you're talking about human chemistry only one thing matters: either you've got it or you don't.
Meredith: [narrating] Chemistry. Either you've got it, or you don't.
Episode 8: "Forever Young"
Meredith: [narrating] There comes a point in your life, when you’re officially an adult. Suddenly, you’re old enough to vote, drink and engage in other adult activities. Suddenly, people expect you to be responsible, serious, a grown-up. We get taller, we get older. But do we ever really grow up?
Meredith: [narrating] In some ways we grow up; we have families... we get married, divorced... but for the most part we still have the same problems that we did when we were fifteen. No matter how much we grow taller, grow older, we are still forever stumbling... forever wondering, forever... young.
Episode 9: "Crash Into Me, Part I"
Meredith: [narrating] We go into medicine because we want to save lives. We go into medicine because we want to do good. We go into medicine for the rush... for the high... for the ride. But, what we remember at the end of most days are the losses. What we lay awake at night replaying is the pain we caused or failed to cure. The lives we ruined or failed to save. So the experience of practicing medicine rarely resembles the goal. The experience too often is ass backwards and upside down.
Episode 10: "Crash Into Me, Part II"
Meredith: [narrating] Some days ... the whole world seems upside down. And then somehow, and probably, and when you least expect it, the world rights itself again.
Episode 12: "Where The Wild Things Are"
Meredith: [narrating] There’s a little animal in all of us and maybe that’s something to celebrate. Our animal instinct is what makes us seek comfort, warmth, a pack to run with. We may feel caged, we may feel trapped, but still as humans we can find ways to feel free. We are each other’s keepers, we are the guardians of our own humanity and even though there’s a beast inside all of us, what sets us apart from the animals is that we can think, feel, dream and love. And against all odds, against all instinct, we evolve.
Meredith: [narrating] We like to think that we are rational beings; humane, conscientious, civilized, thoughtful. But when things fall apart, even just a little, it becomes clear we are not better than animals. We have opposable thumbs, we think, we walk erect, we speak, we dream, but deep down we are still routing around in the primordial ooze; biting, clawing, scratching out an existence in the cold, dark world like the rest of the tree-toads and sloths.
Episode 13: "Piece of My Heart"
Meredith: (narrating) Giving birth may be all intense and magical and stuff, but the act itself: it's not exactly pleasant. But it's also a beginning... of something incredible. Something new. Something unpredictable. Something true. Something worth loving. Something worth missing. Something that will change your life... forever.
Meredith: (narrating) Great surgeons aren't made. They're born. It takes gestation, incubation, sacrifice. A lot of sacrifice. But after all the blood and guts and gooey stuff is washed away, that surgeon you become: totally worth it.
Episode 14: "The Becoming"
Meredith: [narrating] It was a good day. Maybe even a great day. I was a good doctor, even when it was hard, I was the me in my head. There was a moment when I thought I cant do this, I cant do this alone. I close my eyes and imagine myself doing it, and I did, I blocked out the fear, and I did it.
Episode 1: "Dream a Little Dream of Me"
Meredith: [narrating] We all remember the bed time stories of our childhood. The shoe fit Cinderella, the frog was turned into a prince, sleeping beauty was awakened with a kiss. Once upon a time and then they lived happily ever after. Fairy tales. The stuff of dreams. the problem is, fairy tales don't come true. It's the other stories. The ones that start in dark and stormy nights and end in the unspeakable. The nightmares always seem to become the reality.
Meredith: [narrating] Reality. It's so much more interesting than living happily ever after.
Meredith: [narrating] Once upon a time, happier ever after. The stories we tell are the stuff of dreams. Fairy tales don't come true. Reality is much stormier. Much murkier. Much scarier.
Episode 2: "Here Comes the Flood"
Meredith: [narrating] As surgeons we are trained to fix what's broken. The breaking point is our starting line... at work. But in our lives the breaking point is a sign of weakness and we'll do everything we can to avoid it.
Meredith: [narrating] Bones break. Organs burst. Flesh tears. We can sew the flesh, repair the damage, ease the pain. But when life breaks down... when we break down... there's no science. No hard and fast rules. We just have to feel our way through. And to a surgeon there's nothing worse, and there's nothing better.
Episode 3: "Brave New World"
Meredith: [narrating] In 6500 BC, some guy looked at his friend and said, let's drill a hole in your head... that will make you feel better. And thus surgery was born. It takes a certain brand of crazy to think of drilling into someone's skull, but surgeons have always been a confident bunch. We don't always know what we're doing, but we act like we do. We walk into a country, plant a flag and start ordering people around. It's invigorating and terrifying.
Meredith: [narrating] We like to think we're fearless, eager to explore unknown lands and soak up new experiences, but the fact is, we're always terrified. Maybe the terror is part of the attraction. Some people go to horror movies. We cut things open. Dive into dark water. And at the end of the day, isn't that what you'd rather to hear about? If you've got one drink and one friend and 45 minutes. Slow rides make for boring stories. A little calamity. Now that's worth talking about.
Episode 4: "There's No 'I' in Team"
Meredith: [narrating] I am a rock. I am an island. That's the mantra of pretty much every surgeon I've ever met. We like to think we're independent, loners, mavericks. That all we need to do our jobs is an OR, a scalpel, and a willing body. But the truth is not even the best of us can do it alone. Surgery like life is a team sport. And eventually, you've got to get off the bench and decide... what team are you batting for?
Meredith: [narrating] The thing about choosing teams in real life, it's nothing like it used to be in gym class. Being first picked can be terrifying. And being chosen last isn't the worst thing in the world. So we watch from the sidelines clinging to our isolation. Because we know as soon as we let go of the bench ... someone comes along and changes the game completely.
Episode 5: "Life During Wartime"
Meredith: [narrating] Some wars result in complete and total victory. Some wars end with a peace offering. And some wars end in hope... But all these wars are nothing compared to the most frightening war of all. The one you have yet to fight.
Meredith: [narrating] For a surgeon, every patient is a battlefield. They're our terrain. Where we advance, retreat, try to remove all the land mines... and just when you think you've won the battle, made the world safe again. Along comes another land mine.
Episode 11: "Wish You Were Here"
Meredith (voiceover): We all get at least one good wish a year. Over the candles on our birthday. Some of us throw in more. On eyelashes, fountains, lucky stars, and every now and then, one of those wishes comes true. So what then? Is it is as good as we'd hoped? Do we bask in the warm glow of our happiness? Or, do we just notice we've got a long list of other wishes waiting to be wished?
Meredith (voiceover): We don't wish for the easy stuff. We wish for big things. Things that are ambitious, out of reach. We wish because we need help and we're scared and we know we may be asking too much. We still wish, though, because sometimes they come true.
Episode 12: "Sympathy for the Devil"
Meredith (narrating): My mother used to say this about residency, "It takes a year to learn how to cut. It takes a lifetime to learn not to." Of all of the tools on the surgical tray, sound judgment is the trickiest one to master. And without it, we're all just toddlers running around with ten blades.
Meredith (narrating): We're human. We make mistakes. We misestimate. We call it wrong. But when a surgeon makes a bad judgment call, it's not as simple. People get hurt. They bleed. So we struggle over every stitch. We agonize over every suture because the snap judgments, the ones that comes to us quickly and easily without hesitation, they're the one that haunts us forever.
Episode 13: "Stairway to Heaven"
Denny (narrating): I believe in heaven. I also believe in hell. I've never seen either but I believe they exist. They have to exist. Because without a heaven, without a hell, we're all just headed for limbo.
Denny (narrating): Heaven. Hell. Limbo. No-one even knows where we're going. Or what's waiting for us when we get there. But the one thing we can say, with absolute certainty, is that there are moments that take us to another place. Moments of Heaven on Earth. And maybe for now, that's all we need to know.
Episode 14: "Beat Your Heart Out"
Meredith (narrating): Any first year med student knows that an increase heart rate is a sign of trouble. A racing heart can indicate anything from a panic disorder to something much, much more serious. A heart that flutters, or one that skips a beat, could be a sign of secret affliction or it could indicate romance which is the biggest trouble of all.
Meredith (narrating): It seems we have no control what so ever over our own hearts. Condition can change without warning. Romance can make the heart pound just like panic can. And panic can make it stop cold in your chest. It's no wonder doctors spend so much time to keep the heart stable, to keep it slow, steady, regular to stop the heart from pounding out of your chest from the dread of something terrible or the anticipation or something else entirely.
Episode 15: "Before and After"
Meredith (narrating): Every patient's story starts the same way. It starts with them being fine, it starts in the before. They cling to this moment, this memory of being fine, this before, as though talking about it may somehow bring it back. But what they don't realize is that they're talking about it to us, their doctors and that means there's no going back. By the time they see us, they're already in the after. And while every patient's story starts the same way, how the story ends depends on us, on how well we diagnose and treat. We know the story hinges on us and we all want to be the hero.
Episode 16: "An Honest Mistake"
Meredith (narrating): There's this thing that happens when people find out you're a doctor. They stop seeing you as a person and begin to see you something bigger than you are. They have to see us that way, as gods, otherwise we're just like everyone else, unsure, flawed, normal. So we act strong, we remain stoic. We hide the fact that we're all too human.
Meredith (narrating): Patients see us as gods or they see us as monsters. But the fact is, we're just people. We screw up, we lose our way. Even the best of us, have our off days. Still we move forward. We don't rest on all the rules or celebrate the lives we've saved in the past. Because there's always some other patient that needs our help. So we force ourselves to keep trying, to keep learning. In the hope that, maybe someday we'll just come a little bit closer to the gods our patients need us to be.
Episode 17: "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"
Meredith: [narrating] Every surgeon I know, has a shadow. A dark cloud of fear and doubt, that follows even the best of us into the OR. We pretend the shadow isn't there. Hoping that if we save more lives, master harder techniques, run faster and farther, it'll get tired and give up the chase. But, like they say, you can't outrun your shadow.
Meredith: [narrating] Every surgeon has a shadow. And the only way to get rid of a shadow,is to turn off the light. To stop running from the darkness, and face what you fear. Head on.
Episode 18: "Stand By Me"
Meredith (narrating): Surgeons aren't known for being warm and cuddly. They're arrogant, impatient, mean as often as not. You'd think they wouldn't have friends cos who could stand them? But surgeons, are like a bad cold. Nasty, but persistent. Surgeons: nasty, aggressive, unstoppable, just the kind of people you want on your side when you're really screwed.
Meredith (narrating): Practicing medicine doesn't lend itself to the making of friends. Maybe because life and mortality are in our faces all the time. Maybe because in staring down death everyday, we're forced to know that life, every minute is borrowed time. And each person, we let ourselves care about is just one more loss somewhere down the line. For this reason, I know some doctors who just don't bother making friends at all. But the rest of us, we make it our job to move that line. To push each loss as far away as we can.
Episode 19: "Elevator Love Letter"
Alex (narrating): Surgeons are all messed up. We're butchers, messed up knife happy butchers. We cut people up, we move on. Patients die on our watch, we move on. We cause trauma, we suffer trauma. We don't have time to worry about all the blood and death and crap it really makes us feel.
Alex (narrating): Doesn't matter how tough we are, trauma always leaves a scar. It follows us home, it changes our lives, trauma messes everybody up, but maybe that's the point. All the pain and the fear and the crap. Maybe going through all of that is what keeps us moving forward. It's what pushes us. Maybe we have to get a little messed up, before we can step up.
Episode 20: "Sweet Surrender"
Meredith: [narrating] Defeat isn't an option. Not for surgeons. We don't back away from the table till the last breaths long gone. Terminal's a challenge. Life threatening's what gets us out of bed in the morning. We're not easily intimidated. We don't flinch, we don't back down, and we certainly don't surrender. Not at work anyway.
Meredith: [narrating] To do our jobs we have to believe defeat is not an option. That no matter how sick our patients get, there's hope for them. But, even when our hopes give way to reality and we finally have to surrender to the truth, it just means we've lost today battle. Not tomorrows war. Here's the thing about surrender, once you do it, actually give in, you forget why you were eve fighting in the first place.
Episode 21: "No Good at Saying Sorry (One More Chance)"
Meredith: [narrating] Remember when we were little, and we would accidentally bite a kid on the playground? Our teachers would go "Say you're sorry." And we would say it, but we wouldn't mean it. Because the stupid kid we bit, totally deserved it. But, as we get older, making amends isn't so simple. After the playground days are over, you can't just say it. You have to mean it. Of course, when you become a doctor, sorry is not a happy word. It either means you're dieing and I can't help. Or, it means this is really gonna hurt.
Episode 21: "No Good at Saying Sorry (One More Chance)"
Meredith: [narrating] As doctors we can't undo our mistakes, and we rarely forgive ourselves for them. But, it's a hazard of the trade. But, as human beings we can always try to do better. To be better. To right a wrong. Even when it feels irreversible. Of course, I'm sorry doesn't always cut it. Maybe because we use it so many different ways. As a weapon. As an excuse. But, when we are really sorry, when we use it right. When we mean it. When our actions say what words never can. When we get it right "I'm sorry" is perfect. When we get it right, "I'm sorry" is redemption.
Episode 23: "Here's to the Future"
Meredith (opening voiceover): When something begins, you generally have no idea how it's going to end. The house you're going to sell becomes your home, the roommates you were forced to take in become your family and the one night stand you were determined to forget becomes the love of your life.
Meredith (closing voiceover): We spend our whole lives worrying about the future, planning for the future, trying to predict the future, as if figuring it out will cushion the blow. But the future is always changing. The future is the home of our deepest fears and wildest hopes. But one thing is certain when it finally reveals itself. The future is never the way we imagined it.
Episode 24: "Now or Never"
Meredith (opening voiceover): Doctors spend a lot of time focused on the future, planning it, working toward it. But at some point you start to realize your life is happening now. Not after med school, not after residency, right now. This is it. It's here. Blink and you'll miss it.
Meredith (closing voiceover): Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."
Episode 1: "Good Mourning"
Meredith (narrating): According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, when we're dying or have suffered a catastrophic loss, we all move through five distinct stages of grief. We go into denial because the loss is so unthinkable we can't imagine it's true. We become angry with everyone, angry with survivors, angry with ourselves. Then we bargain. We beg. We plead. We offer everything we have, we offer our souls in exchange for just one more day. When the bargaining has failed and the anger is too hard to maintain, we fall into depression, despair, until finally we have to accept that we've done everything we can. We let go. We let go and move into acceptance.
Meredith (narrating): In medical school, we have a hundred lessons that teach us how to fight off death, and not one lesson on how to go on living.
Episode 2: "Goodbye"
Meredith (narrating): The dictionary defines grief as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret. As surgeons, as scientists, we're taught to learn from and rely on books, on definitions, on definitives. But in life, strict definitions rarely apply. In life, grief can look like a lot of things that bear little resemblance to sharp sorrow.
Lexie: [narrating] Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone.
Mark: It isn't just death we have to grieve. It's life. It's loss. It's change.
Alex: And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime.
Izzie: That's how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can't breathe, that's how you survive.
Derek: By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won't feel this way. It won't hurt this much.
Bailey: Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way.
Owen: So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty.
Meredith: The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can't control it.
Arizona: The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes.
Callie: And let it go when we can.
Meredith: The very worst part is that the minute you think you're past it, it starts all over again.
Cristina: And always, every time, it takes your breath away.
Meredith: There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.
Episode 3: "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me"
Meredith (narrating): Paranoia gives you an edge in the OR. Surgeons play out worst-case scenarios in their heads. You're ready to close, you got the bleeder. You know it but there's that voice in your head asking. What if you didn't? What if the patient dies and you could have prevented it? So you check your work one more time before you close. Paranoia is a surgeon's best friend.
Meredith (narrating): We're all susceptible to it, the dread and anxiety of not knowing what's coming. It's pointless in the end, because all the worrying and the making of plans for things that could or could not happen, it only makes things worse. So walk your dog or take a nap. Just whatever you do, stop worrying. Because the only cure for paranoia is to be here, just as you are.
Episode 4: "Tainted Obligation"
Meredith (narrating): The thing about being a surgeon, everybody wants a piece of you. We take one little oath, and suddenly we're drowning in obligations. To our patients, to our colleagues, to medicine itself. So we do what any sane person would do. We run like hell from our promises, hoping they'll be forgotten. But sooner or later, they always catch up. And sometimes you find the obligation you dread the most isn't worth running from at all.
Meredith (narrating): We begin life with few obligations. We pledge allegiance to the flag. We swear to return our library books. But as we get older we take vows, make promises, get burden by commitments, to do no harm, to tell the truth and nothing but, to love, to cherish till death do us part. So we just keep running up the tap 'til we owe everything to everybody and suddenly ... what the.
Episode 5: "Invasion"
Meredith (narrating): When you get sick, it starts off with a single infection. One lone nasty intruder. Pretty soon the intruder duplicates. Becomes two. Then those two become four. And those four become eight. Then, before your body knows it, it's under attack. It's an invasion. The question for a doctor is, once the invaders have landed, once they've taken over your body, how the hell do you get rid of them?
Meredith (narrating): What do you do when the infection hits you, when it takes over? Do you do what you're supposed to and take your medicine? Or do you learn to live with the thing and hope someday it goes away? Or do you just give up entirely and let it kill you?
Episode 6: "I Saw What I Saw"
Meredith (narrating): In order to get a good diagnosis, doctors have to constantly change their perspective. We start by getting the patient's point of view, though they often don't have a clue what's going on. So we look at the patient from every possible angle. We rule things out. We uncover new information, trying to get to what's actually wrong. We're asked for second opinions, hoping we'll see something others might have missed. For the patient, a fresh perspective can mean the difference between living and dying. For the doctor, it can mean picking that you're picking a fight with everyone who got there before you.
Meredith (narrating): When we're headed toward an outcome that's too horrible to face, that's when we go looking for a second opinion. And sometimes, the answer we get just confirms our worst fears. But sometimes, it can shed new light on the problem, make you see it in a whole new way. After all the opinions have been heard and every point of view has been considered, you finally find what you're after - the truth. But the truth isn't where it ends, that's just where you begin again with a whole new set of questions.
Episode 7: "Give Peace A Chance"
Derek (narrating): Ask most surgeons why they became surgeons and they usually tell you the same thing. It was for the high, the rush, the thrill that comes from cutting someone open and saving their life. For me it was different, maybe it was because I grew up in a house with four sisters. No, definitely because I grew up in a house with four sisters because it was the quiet that drew me to surgery. The operating room is a quiet place. Peaceful. It has to be in order for us to stay alert, anticipate complications. When you stand in the OR, your patient open on the table, all the worlds noise, all the worry that it brings disappears. A calm settles over you, time passing without thought. For that moment, you feel completely at peace.
Derek: (closing narration) Ask most surgeons why they became surgeons and they usually tell you the same thing. The high, the rush, the thrill of the cut. For me it was the quiet. Peace isn't a permanent state. It exists in moments. Fleeting. Gone before we knew it was there. We can experience it at any time, in a stranger's act of kindness, a task that requires complete focus or simply the comfort of an old routine. Everyday we all experience these moments of peace. The trick is to know when they're happening so that we can embrace them, live in them. And finally let them go.
Episode 8: "Invest In Love"
Meredith: [narrating] It's impossible to describe the panic that comes over you when you're a surgeon and your pager goes off in the middle of the night. Your heart starts to race. Your mind freezes. Your fingers go numb. You're invested. There's someone's mum, someone's dad, someone's kid. And now it's on you because that someone's life is in your hands. Surgeons, we're always investing in our patients. But when your patient's a child, you're not just invested, you're responsible. Responsible for whether or not that child survives, has a future. And that's enough to terrify anyone.
Meredith: [narrating] They say the bigger your investment, the bigger your return. But you have to be willing to take a chance. You have to understand, you might lose it all. But if you take that chance, if you invest wisely the pay off might just surprise you.
Episode 9: "New History"
Meredith: [narrating] Sometimes the past is something you just can't let go of. And sometimes the past is something we'll do anything to forget. And sometimes we learn something new about the past that changes everything we know about the present.
Meredith: [narrating] Doctors live in a world of constant progress and forward motion. Stand still for a second, and you'll be left behind. But as hard as we try to move forward, as tempting as it is to never look back, the past always comes back to bite us in the ass. And as history shows us again and again, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
Episode 10: "Holidaze"
Meredith: [narrating] The best gift I ever got was for Christmas when I was ten - my very first suture kit. I used it until my fingers bled, and then I tried to use it to stitch up my fingers. It put me on the path to becoming a surgeon. My point is sometimes the best gifts come in really surprising packages.
Meredith: [narrating] Everyday we get to give the gift of life, it can be painful, it can be terrifying, but in the end it's worth it. Every time. We all have the opportunity to give. Maybe the gifts are not as dramatic as what happens in the operating room, maybe the gift is to try and make a simple apology, maybe it's to understand another person's point of view, maybe it's to hold a secret for a friend. The joy supposedly is in the giving, so when the joy is gone, when the giving starts to feel more like a burden, that's when you stop. But if you're like most people I know, you give till it hurts, and then you give some more.
Episode 12: "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked"
Meredith: (narrating) In surgery, the healing process begins with a cut, an incision, the tearing of flesh. We have to damage the healthy flesh in order to expose the unhealthy. It feels cruel and against common sense, but it works. You risk exposure for the sake of healing, and when it's over, once the incision has been closed, you wait. You wait and hope that your patient will heal. That you haven't in fact, just made everything worse.
Meredith: (narrating) Number one rule of surgery is limit exposure. Keep your hands clean, your incisions small, and your wounds covered. Number two rule of surgery is when rule number one stops working, try something else. Because sometimes you can't limit exposure, sometimes the injury is so bad you have to cut, and cut big.