September 11th

Tomorrow is September 11th. A day that will live forever here in America. It was a day of sadness, shock, horror, disbelief but lended a hand to “triumph”, healing, love, care. Which ultimately led a lot of people to hate, judgment, etc.

I remember where I was that September day. I was getting off of work. I used to work night shift. I hung around a bit because one of our patient’s died at about 6:45. I hung around to give my condolences to his wife and his sister who were at bedside. They were all kind, and caring. Very together couple and family-so much so that I thought the wife and his sister were actual sisters.

They didn’t have the television on, so we had no clue. At that time, it would have been too early to know what was going to happen. I hugged them, wished my patient a peaceful journey and said my goodbye. I carried myself out the door and said bye to the day shift. This was well after 7:30am.

Walked out the door, to the parking garage, and then started my car. I had the radio on but I was not really paying any attention to it because I was deep in thought about this family that just lost their loved one to the big “C” word. Of course, once you start thinking about one patient dying of cancer, you think about your other ones too.

I went the back way home. It was really like every other day. Getting stopped behind school buses (at that time, they must be nearing the ends of their pick ups). Passing one stop sign and traffic light after another. I was probably about 5 minutes from home when I hear something on the radio. Something that was disturbing. “A plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City….” they carried on “we don’t know if it was a mistake, or if they lost control or what…” No one really had a thought process that someone would intentionally hit the WTC. I mean they were the core of NYC. Many people worked there from all ethnicities of life. At this point, there was not too much information. The radio announcers were just trying to describe what they were seeing.

I just thought to myself “wait, is this a plot of a movie?”

I pulled into a parking spot and ran into my apartment, turned on the tv. Just intime to “witness” the second plane hit the other building. My mouth dropped. Seeing flames shoot up. For a second I forgot about my patient that passed away this morning. I forgot about his family at bedside. I forgot about other patients. I forgot about everyone. I was just in the moment of watching this unfold.

I cannot imagine. I think I would probably jump too. The Post traumatic stress for whoever does survive that would be too much to bare in my mind.

As the morning went on, I couldn’t sleep. My phone rings. It was work. We went into Delta mode. We were close enough to NYC that they may need our hospital beds. As my co-worker said on the other line “what are you going to do during the day today? I doubt you’re going to sleep. Why not be around people?” So I agreed.

No sleep-I went back into work.

I went on to think about my patient that died this morning and felt sorrow for them. How do they grieve over their lost loved one on a personal level when we had this national sadness going on? I wonder how they were able to juggle it.

We did clear out people that did need to be there. One patient was actually upset that he was being discharged. Though at the same time, we were not doing anything special with him. Meaning nothing that we were doing, that he couldn’t do it at home. Perhaps though, perhaps he didn’t want to be alone now that I think about it.

In healthcare we tend not to want people placed in our beds because we figure, if our beds were empty-they were not sick. On a cancer ward, that was a good thing. But as a co-worker said by the end of the day and after a couple days….”it’s unfortunate that we were not needed….” For today-that was correct. It was unfortunate. That meant not as many survivors as they thought.

In my personal life, I didn’t know anyone that died in the WTC. However, I did belong to a Michael Jackson message board. Michael Jackson held both of his 30th Anniversary concerns in NYC, including the night before. Another fan was able to go. This was a fan that I did “chat” with a lot. He was nice, cool. His partner gave him the dream of a lifetime…seeing Michael Jackson live on stage. He, and his daughter went to the concert. It is my understanding that the following day-he must have went sightseeing. After Sept 11, he was MIA with his daughter. His partner came online to tell us he was missing.

I co-responded with him for a number of days after Sept 11th. There was no word. He was presumed dead. His partner felt so guilty. I tried to help sooth him, saying that John died a happy guy. I mean it’s a dream come true for him. Try not to feel guilty, etc.

Tomorrow marks 14 years. Hard to believe. I look around and ask if we have come together or are further apart as a nation? In some aspects, we’re together. In other aspects-not so much. Post 9/11, there are a lot of stereotypical people especially their judgments with people of Indian/Middle East descents. People who look like “Muslim”. Even today, it still happens. People pointing fingers at “illegal immigrants” or “Muslims”. When in actuality all types can create this kind of havoc. If Sept 11th should have taught us anything, it would and should be that America is not immune but that we should help each other. There were many different types that died that day at the hands of a selected few. We shouldn’t hate one another.

That brings us to today where it still happens. If it’s not cops, it’s blacks. If it’s not the South, it’s gays. If it’s not the North, it’s the Democrats. Ugh. In one sense, I’m glad I live in America because we have freedoms. Though they are slower to come by, we’re far more advanced than other countries. In another sense, I’m ashamed because we are not living up to our freedoms. We are trying to hold people against their freedoms. Perhaps in the long run we’ll come out ahead. Perhaps in the long run, we’re too blind by our own filters that 9-11 may happen again.

I hope all that were affected by 9-11 are coming along. I am sending good, healing thoughts. Nothing, not even time will take away the pain. But hopefully with continued time-we are able to come together more and not further apart.

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