Family Works

Speaking on trauma

Rob Coombs, ID.Min. Ph.D.
Posted 4/4/18

Being married to a surgeon sometimes means hearing the unwanted, juicy details of an average day's work.  I still …

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Family Works

Speaking on trauma


Being married to a surgeon sometimes means hearing the unwanted, juicy details of an average day's work.  I still vividly remember how my children would just cringe when Mom brought up an interesting surgery while we were trying to enjoy an evening meal. 

"You should have seen that guy's stomach.  I've never seen such a mess.  He was bleeding ... "  And then our children,  in unison, scream, "Mom! Please! We are trying to eat!"  But I hear about the juicy details later anyway.  

When my wife was a surgeon-in-training, working 100-plus hours every week as a resident,  I learned again and again how unnecessary most trauma is. 

Gunshot wounds either self-inflicted or inflicted by another are common Friday and Saturday night occurrences.  Alcohol is a familiar smell when people's bodies are scraped up off the road and surgeons are enlisted to try and put them back together. 

Children die because their thoughtless and irresponsible parents do not secure them in the family car with a seat belt. 

Drug addicts fall out of windows and curse and spit upon the doctor who has already been on her feet for 35 hours when she refuses to give massive doses of "pain" medication. 

And then there are the 14-year-old girls who have gone into premature labor.  Will these children born in such circumstances likely be keeping a resident awake on another night in 14 years?

After five years of residency, there are hundreds of stories that could be told, but my point here is not to tell the stories, but rather to emphasize how unnecessary most trauma is. 

Much of the tragedy we face in life is the direct result of our own irresponsible actions or the irresponsible actions of others.  Our lives individually and collectively would be so much better if we would simply remember to Choose Wisely. 

Wise choices lead to life while poor choices lead to trauma – sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, sometimes spiritual, but always trauma.

So choose wisely.  Live the life that God has intended for you.  Of course, accidents will still happen.  But, at least, if one should happen to you, you will not be keeping a weary-eyed surgeon awake for something unnecessary.

Rob Coombs is a professor with a doctor of ministry degree and a doctor of philosophy with an emphasis in Family Systems.


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