The morning of 9-11 started out like many others for me, I was at work making my rounds, seeing my patients. As a nurse on a unit that is predominantly elderly I often hear things from my patients that can be a little off center of true. Sometimes their observations in unfamiliar surroundings become mingled with memories of their long ago pasts. This is what I thought was going on when I first encountered a patient talking about burning buildings and crashing planes.
When I got into my second patients room and asked how she was doing and what she was watching so intently on the TV she told me, "a plane just hit that building." I looked up over her shoulder as I listened to her breathing and kind of let it slide out of my thoughts, went on with my rounds and returned a bit later to her when she called. She said, "you know another one just hit another building"..........I thought she'd just forgotten what she already saw and was viewing it again not realizing it was the same accident.
It wasn't until I got into the next room and the family of another elderly patient looked up at me and said how awful it was that I actually snapped that this was something extraordinarily horrific and it was happening right here in our country.
From room to room that morning the TV's were on and people were talking about how horrible it was. What struck me most was a feeling of vulnerability. I told one of my co-workers, "welcome to a large part of our planets every day reality". I meant it then and still do, we have always felt so secure here in our country....at least in the memory of my generation. The tragedies on the nightly news seeming so far removed from our safe haven.
I looked around that afternoon, listened to an elderly man who was almost blind ask "was it the Japs"? And I was struck with the realization that these patients of mine had seen so much of war and destruction in their youth. Some of them had seen WWI, WWII, The Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.........and they still lived their lives out. The had families, had careers, saw the world change before them and now lived to see an attack on our homefront. I knew we would all go on as they had, saddened by what we would endure and strengthened by the testimonial of their ongoing lives.........if we chose to look around.
Life went on after 9-11, changed though it may be for us, it goes on just the same. I look to our elders for strength when it gets to be too much and know that we can still live our lives, maybe just not the way we thought we would.
Thanx for letting me share a little.
Tina L. Trauernicht