I have had a lot of time to reflect on this past week in the operating theater aka what we in America call the operating room. I was going to add this to my gastro post, but the more and more I thought about it and processed what had occurred I realized it needed it’s own post. I think the biggest take away from this experience is life and death. In Ecclesiastes 3 vs 2 it says “a time to give birth and a time to die.”
When I think about all the surgeries and c-sections I saw this week I can only think of how life giving every single one of these surgeries were, but also how in one wrong step or wrong drug dose, or the patient having no surgery at all how it would be life taking. Patients with appendicitis, if they do not receive surgery immediately and their appendix ruptures, especially in a third world country, they will die. Each one of these appendectomies gave that person life, it gave that person another opportunity to continue on the path they are on, or maybe this surgery changed them, maybe after having the surgery they realized that life is short and I don’t want to continue doing what I was doing before, I want a new life.
I watched multiple orthopedic surgeries. It’s very hard to watch orthopedic surgery. It’s very aggressive. Orthopedic surgery is probably the most fascinating because it goes all the way to the bone. The surgeons has to cut through layers and layers of tissue in order to get to the bone. His hands have to be precise. He has to be careful around veins and arteries. When looking at the X-rays all the patients have had breaks some were not so clean and others were very clean. Clearly seen from an X-ray. I have never seen breaks like this before. Watching the surgeon with his magical hands cut to the bone to then have to put it back in alignment and in place was amazing. It is tedious work and we put our life in the hands of this surgeon who for hours tries to fix you and most of the time the surgeon does in fact fix you and give you new life. These patients came into surgery, in pain, often times young kids, you could hear crying from any room in the OR, and they left surgery, fixed, made new, and having the ability of a new life.
The other surgeries I watched were c-sections, and man oh man did they bring me joy. As babies were pulled out of the mothers womb and shown to the mom, tears were brought to my eyes. Watching them cut the umbilical cord and the baby being able to have new life without the mom, breathing on its own, it’s own blood, it’s own way of getting nutrients, everything is new. As they cleaned the baby up and weighed him or her I would pray to myself, thank you Lord for this child, I pray that they will be brave and that they will come to know you in a culture and society that is mostly Hindu. I wanted to scream happy birthday welcome to the world we love you. I wanted this child to know how loved they were, and how loved they will continue to be. I hope and pray they never lose sight of who they are or whose they are, as I hope and pray that for each one of us.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” Psalms 139:13-17
I hope we don’t forget that even if we didn’t have a “life changing” (all surgeries are life changing in a third world country, but our lives can change even without a surgery being performed) surgery that we have a new life. We are given a new life in Christ, and that new life is like waking up on the operating table after a huge surgery has occurred in our heart and we enter into this new life, but we have a choice we can continue doing what we were doing and slowly fall back into our old ways, or we can change the trajectory of our life and run after Jesus and his grace, mercy, love, and faithfulness.
2 Corinthians 5:17- This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Colossians 3:10- Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
Being in the OT gave me new life I fell in love with this life giving experience and I think as a nurse I have that opportunity everyday to give a little more life to each of my patients. I pray that my patients make it. That they get to live and continue living, but there is a time to die. And death is closer than we think. We often fear death, but I think we should rejoice in death, rejoice in the life that was lived, in the person that lived it, and in the reassurance we will see that person again when we all get to meet Jesus and he throws a banquet and a party for us because we are home for eternity.
We also have surgeries that are not life giving, where doctors and nurses try to save patients but they can’t. The patient doesn’t wake up from the operating table a new person ready for a new life, but instead wakes up to the face of Jesus (I pray that for everyone). Life ending experiences are hard, they hurt, there is grief, there is suffering, but we need to see there is hope. When Jesus’ life ended, he brought hope because in three days he rose again. We have hope in eternity because of Jesus, and with that hope we should live the best new life we can live, until there is a time for death.
These words do not do justice to anything I learned in the operating room. I learned more than I can process into words, and more than I will probably understand. I also don’t know how people can be in the medical profession and not believe in God. Everything about this profession is a spiritual experience, a place where you can be a light and a place where there are so many questions and so many things that are so intricate and perfect that we don’t understand. As I was talking to my mom the other day on the phone and I was having a slightly rough day I had told her the story of the joy I had watching a baby be born, she said heather on your rough days remember the joy of watching a baby be born, remember the joys of helping patients get better, that will help you get through the rough days, the good days make the hard ones worth it.