Sixteen hours in the Operating Room could have been terrible. It could have been really busy (especially New Year’s Day), but it turned out to be pretty slow. Still, the shift was depressing, providing a sharp dose of perspective for everyone.

Toward morning we got a patient, the passenger in a motor vehicle accident. She wasn’t hurt especially bad physically. It was only a minor wound we had to fix. But,… well, the emotional part of it is very different. She lost both her husband and her 3-week old infant in the crash. And she wept and clutched a small blue sock as she went off to sleep.

Working in the Operating Room, we can sometimes get kind of callous toward people’s pain. We see it all the time. But we rush them off to sleep and then don’t see them again while they’re awake. We don’t deal with the aftermath. And how do you deal with the aftermath of losing so much?

Looking back, I can remember other losses we’ve seen. All of them tragic. I remember the 16-year old girl who died after an auto accident on her way to school. She ruptured something in her heart. We cracked her chest but could do nothing to stop the bleeding. That was in ’96 or ’97. After that, I remember the 24-year old guy who was in town to celebrate his birthday. Another auto accident. I remember the young girl with no family and a bad heart and how it just quit on her.


So, that was my New Year’s Day. A little perspective on what’s important.

I pray for our young patient. I hope the Lord will comfort her and bring her through her loss. I hope she has family and a church to help her and to care for her… to deal with the aftermath. I pray for her healing. And not only for hers.

I pray that the new year will find us all in the comfort of our Lord, and in the comforting of others.


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