Lately, I have been on my surgery rotation for medical school.
This is a unique rotation because I am given the opportunity to observe many different procedures. Sometimes I can even “scrub in”, which is medical jargon for assisting the surgeon.
At the start of my day, I go to the locker room and don my scrubs for the day. I grab a giant hairnet and throw it over my beautiful locks. Then I put covers over my shoes to protect them from any blood spills. I walk out of the changing room and head for the surgical waiting area.
The surgical waiting area is unique because this is where the patients are brought minutes before the surgery. They are wheeled in on their gurney and are met with the anesthesiologist and nurses who discuss the procedure for them. They are given an IV which will be for the medication used to put them asleep.
Before the surgeon comes in there is a waiting period where the patient is all alone.
They sit there knowing, in just a few minutes, they will be having a very invasive procedure.
Today, these experiences had me thinking.
How easy it is to remain cold in these settings.
When I am in the surgical waiting area, I usually am thinking about how tired I am or how I wish I had breakfast.
When I am in the surgical waiting room, I usually am thinking about what I am going to do after the procedure. How long will it take? Will the surgeon ask me any questions?
I am so quick to forget the facts of those around me.
The fact that the woman beside me barely speaks English and does not understand what is going on around her.
The fact that the patient waiting for a very painful spine procedure looks filled with terror and is shivering.
The fact that the patient to my right had an invasive procedure many times before and was overwhelmed with despair.
These situations, though happening in a surgical waiting room, are very applicable to life itself. Those around us are in the midst of very desperate situations. Instead of putting ourselves in their situations and allow it to drive us to act for their betterment, we are quick to shy away.
We jump to turn inside ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to be an agent of change for our neighbor.
I believe this is all driven by fear. A fear response that pushes us to remain safe, comfortable, and cozy.
This week I challenge you to look for those around you that may be in their own surgical waiting room. Do not allow the fear of saying the wrong thing or putting yourself out there prevent you from being a light in a dark place.
Maybe someone is waiting for a test grade to come back in a class they are struggling with?
Maybe someone is having trouble finding a job after being laid off?
Maybe someone is just having a really bad day?
Allow the shell society has created around yourself to slowly melt away.
Empathize and act.
You do not have to feel anything.
You do not have to feel like you are going to change the world.
It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life.
All you really need to do is notice.