Last Friday I was in the OR for several scheduled cesarean sections. We had a nice woman lying on the bed talking to us a little for one in the middle of the day. After a bit as she noted how serious the rest of us were, she asked for someone to sing a song to lighten the mood. One of the nurses said the doctor will sing for you, and the next thing I knew I was standing as the center of attention, completely scrubbed and ready for surgery, near this woman’s head with smiling eyes looking at me expecting a performance. In my slight nervousness I scanned my memory banks for a song that I knew I could perform to its full potential and came up with a core memory from childhood. “Jesus Loves Me”. I cleared my throat and let it rip. Actually letting it rip sounds like how one might sing another of my core memory songs “You Give Love a Bad Name”. This time I let it rip a bit more like you can imagine Mr. Rogers singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”. More pleasant for the OR I hope. Later, as we finished the case she started speaking about her baby who had died a year ago. It was an intrauterine fetal demise, which means the baby died near his due date inside the uterus. She stated that they had buried her baby the same day and hour on which we were delivering by cesarean section her living baby. She said, “Its not a complete restoration, but it feels at least like a partial one.” I don’t know that anything can heal such scars, but I was glad to be a part of at least a partial alleviation of some pain.
My dad, a surgeon & medical missionary to Nigeria, was always singing. Sometimes his patients would sing to manage physical pain; other times to celebrate success. Music is powerful stirring the deepest memories, joys and heartaches. Keep singing. -marty