This hunger is deeper than the aesthetic fascination; it goes back to my earliest years. I grew up in the hospital. Since I was born with spina bifida and had dozens of operations when I was 5 years old, I was constantly surrounded by white-clad doctors and white-uniformed nurses, each responsible for my body. Everyone made me fear what would happen next: did I go back for surgery? Sent to painful tests? Did i ever go home I had no authority to say no, so I learned to read the truth on adult faces no matter what their words might say. I studied their subtle signals with the passionate commitment of a Talmud scholar.