We sometimes get calls at work to be on standby for a trauma one from EMS or lifeflight. And it doesn't ever come in. It gets canceled. The OR can go back to business as usual and the trauma surgeon can proceed with the next case.
And there at the other end of the call, a nurse or a paramedic, probably covered in blood and sweat, is telling a family that their lives will never be the same. Somebody's life just ended and the entire world around them will be forever shifted.
Traumatic deaths remind me every time of how fragile our days are. How lucky we are to have them. How quickly things can shift. Traumatic survivals remind me what is real and necessary and important in life. It is a filter for the unnecessary. For excess.
A man a year out from his wife's Traumatic injury told me this week how her severe injuries and time in the ICU turned her inward, made her reevaluate her life and her self and her priorities. But for him and his sons, it pulled them toward each other. It erased for him all the triggers for fights that he used to think were important. He realized what was trivial. He is gentler. He lost his taste for argument. He learned the actual depth and strength of his family.
Tragedy surrounds us. Sometimes it feels like it engulfs us. Sometimes it feels like a rising storm that will never abate. But in all of this, there is, to me, a great sense of calm. A sense of the importance of living life while we have the chance, and of knowing that someday when it is shaken or broken or ended, it will somehow be okay.