Dr. Oz: Why haven't you?
Oprah: Because the show became the great love of my life—not just the mistress. It filled everything. With each year, as you'll see, you have to keep raising the bar. Right now you are the leader of all the talk shows. In order to maintain that position, you have to keep reinventing. It becomes all-consuming. So you've got to decide where that fits into your life and where the rest of your life folds in.
Dr. Oz: Yes.
Oprah: You think season three is hard? Season seven's going to kick your handsome ass, sassafras! [Laughs] Now that you have the show, do you miss the operating room?
Dr. Oz: I do. Thursdays I'm still there, and I go diligently. But yes, I miss it. Especially the normalcy. You get to just be a heart surgeon, and it's a very Zen moment to hold the human heart.
Oprah: I can only imagine.
Dr. Oz: Everybody around you is focused on exactly what you're focused on. And everything you hear—like that "beep beep beep"—tells you something. "Boop boop" is bad—it means no oxygen. "Beep beep" is good. That choreographed dance is the art of surgery. It has always been a joy. That's why I still practice. It keeps me connected. And I love the fact that you can have a one-on-one with a person, hold their hands, look them in their eyes, and connect. That's what I try to do on the show. So surgery has trained me better than anything else to connect with people.
Oprah: But when you do surgery, you don't have relationships with patients.
Dr. Oz: Oh, yes I do! At 9 o'clock, I see the patient I'll be operating on the following week. Then I go to the operating room at 9:30 or 10 and operate till noon. I see three, four patients at lunch. I go back to the operating room in the afternoon, and then I go home. That evening I look through my briefing for the next day's show.
Oprah: Okay. Let's talk about Transformation Nation—you started it because you thought we as a country needed to improve our health.
Dr. Oz: We need a wholesale reevaluation of what health feels like. Most Americans don't even know what that is anymore. I want to tell people, "Listen, there are places where you can focus on your health, and it can actually be simple."
Oprah: Have you made any resolutions for this year?
Dr. Oz: My higher aspiration is to stimulate my brain by learning more Spanish. I've become so locked into being on top of all the medical stuff coming down the pike, and I want to stretch my brain in a different way. There are lots of directions I could have gone—it could have been taking up a musical instrument, or learning to dance—but I decided I want to learn Spanish. I'm going to try it this summer. We'll see.
Oprah: Si, señor! One year I, too, was going to learn Spanish. I was taking lessons at Harpo. I learned how to say, "You've done a really good job," because I wanted to be able to talk to the guys who were building a wall at my place in Santa Barbara. So I said to this one guy in Spanish, "You've done a really good job." And then Bob Greene, who was managing my property, walks by, takes one look at the wall, and goes, "Needs to come down." A stone happened to be off by an eighth of an inch!
Dr. Oz: Bob should have said, "Oprah's a very sarcastic woman!" So Oprah, tell me the other mistakes I'm going to make before I make them, if you don't mind....
Oprah: No, thank you. Let's just see how long the Spanish lasts.
Next: The two things you need to do to improve your life in 2012