Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Sunday, September 14, 2008

9/11 late

This week 9/11 passed for the first time with less notice on my part. That had a lot to do with it happened to be on the day that I opened a chunk of myself nobody is allowed into up for Dr. Mind and I was upset and distracted. I am doing my usual rememberance of the victims, re-reading a book written day-by-day as updates on the condition of his wife, one of the most severely burned victims, by a husband. She was the keynote speaker at the American Occupational Therapy Association conference a year or two later, and her story is amazing and to me is a symbol of the strength of our country.

I was reading another blogger's account of that day and realized I've never written my own down. And while I cannot imagine ever forgetting, I don't want to.

Like everything, to some extent my experience was colored by my illness. That part comes later in the story, and then continued as I developed depression from it, and had no clue how one was to handle such pain when it wasn't from an internal source.

Looking back, the day it happened was so confusing that my story is not as clear-cut as most people's. It started normally. I was a few minutes late for work because I ran into Walgreen's to buy black socks and a gel ice pack to sew into a protective pad for a patient's wheelchair. I was in there when the first plane hit, and out by the time it would have been on the news. I drove the remaining 10 minutes into work with a CD in, oblivious to the news. I still regret that.

When I walked in the office my co-workers gathered around begging for details of an event I knew nothing of. They'd heard what happened, and by then the 2nd tower had been hit. We had no way to stay up-to-date or even accurate because we were in a basement that blocked all tv or radio reception. The only way we could follow news was to watch the tvs in patient rooms and the lobbies as we passed through, and then we'd throw another bit of information at the rest of the staff. We heard so many inaccurate rumors. For some time we thought the Capitol had been bombed. I don't remember others, but I do remember how much we all wished we could just forget work and watch the TV.

I lived near an airport and I had a home health patient late that morning or early in the afternoon probably 5 miles from the airport. The trip to her house was so eery with that incredibly blue sky we all remember so clearly, and not a single plane except for an F16 once or twice. That home visit was one of the most pointless things I've done as a therapist as neither of us cared or focused on it. She didn't need therapy anyway. If she did I hope I didn't miss a need.

I don't remember working anymore that day. I think we were allowed to go home. I remember watching the tv and crying. Strangely this memory is wrong though; I remember sitting on my couch, and I didn't own that couch until the following spring. I don't know why my lack of this bit of context bothers me, but it does. It seems all the facts should be perfectly remembered that day.

I had trouble with my not-diagnosed bipolar during all the hours of watching the news in the next days. I am unable to watch CNN or other channels that use ticker tapes at the bottom of the screen while news goes on; it is sensory overload. So I had to keep searching for channels I could watch. I finally got most of my news off of ESPN of all places.

I remember realizing that one of the planes had been re-routed by the hijackers over (or very near) the city I lived in. I remember thinking how crazy that was, that if I'd looked up at the right time I could have seen it and have had no clue.

Even in the days following there was so much I didn't pick up. Later I listened to a book on tape written by a first responder about the rescue and digging through the rubble. I had no idea about how many people had jumped, nor that people had been killed by falling bodies. I didn't know that they never found even a piece of a file cabinet, much less other office equipment.

I don't know if it was me alone, like I said I was in my own hole this year. But it seemed there was so much less recognition of the events this year. That worries me. Surely we aren't going to start letting this be a done-and-over event so soon? I may have missed things. I don't watch tv. But it seemed strange.

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