Tuesday, November 15, 2011


In Population 485, the author Michael Perry, who is also a rural EMT, described his attempt to rescue the victim of a car accident. He explained the pain a victim experiences when a breathing tube is inserted down the victim's nose. Further in the chapter, Perry graphically delineated the trauma of being shocked with defib paddles.
After reading the chapter, I set the book aside, momentarily appalled at the straightforward portrayal of anguish at the hand of rescue. In my mind, paramedics and doctors swoop in as the soothers of suffering—-not the inflictors of it. It had never occurred to me that to save my life one day, a medical professional might have to inflict pain, be it setting a broken bone, stripping the skin from a burn, or shooting electricity through my chest. To comfort myself, I rationalized, “In that moment I doubt I’ll mind how much they hurt me. I’ll be grateful for their efforts no matter how excruciating.”
Just before I continued reading the book, a deeper parallel jolted me.
In our age of anesthesia and epidurals, Advil and Lidocaine, we forget that hurting is sometimes necessary for healing and that life sometimes can’t be numbed. Being rescued is uncomfortable such as when a friend inserts the tube of truth into my collapsed mind, suffocating from self-centeredness. Or when God decides to reset my attitude or shock my heart back to beating when it’s grown dead toward Him and others. Or when He strips away layers of my soul, scorched from the sin of the world and myself.
I pray that in those moments, no matter how excruciating, I’ll realize how close to death I truly am and embrace the pain of the rescue.

1 comment:

  1. I've been on both sides of the situation you describe. You don't feel the first bite of the knife entering the flesh or the impact of the gulf club striking your head. The heat of the moment and suddenness washes away the pain. Satan seems to strike in those moments in your life. Deeply scaring your soul and covering it up with your own failures. I remember every moment of the event but none of the pain. I do remember all the pain caused by the doctors who struggled to save me. The chest tube, the staples, and the long agonizing helicopter ride are all vivid memories.

    I think God gets blamed a lot for the hardship and pain involved with healing the wounds that Satan slipped into our souls during times of spiritual weakness. Damage can be done in seconds that takes years to heal and may never be fully erased.

    Thank you for giving me a truth that I can reflect on the next time I feel pain in my leg from old wounds.