Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where Were You?

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaching I wanted to share my story of that day. Not one US citizen with normal mental capacity over the age of 20 can forget where they were or what they were doing that day. For me it started as just another day at work.

On 9/11/01 I had just finished welcoming a new life into our world. As a Labor & Delivery RN, most of my days were filled with happiness. Not all, but most. I had just finished my newborn assessment & had exited the delivery room when I saw nurses gathered around a TV in an empty room. The first plane had just hit and nobody was really sure what was going on yet. As we stood & watched a second plane hit the other tower, and we knew this was not an accident.

As we tried to process this, I was given a new assignment. A patient with a fetal demise was coming in to have her labor induced. As much as I wanted to continue watching, I had a new patient to admit, and one who was grieving for her own loss. Neither the patient nor her support person knew of the tragedy occurring in the outside world. They had enough grief of their own to deal with that day. Though I spoke with them a little about what was happening, they left the TV off and showed little interest. 

It was a long shift that day, dealing with a patient's grief while hiding my own. I was glad when the day was through & I could head home; I cried the entire way. A few months later I received a beautiful letter from the woman I cared for on that tragic day. She thanked me for the care I had given her & for making her feel as if nothing else was as important as her. In retrospect she realized how upset I must have been, yet I never took my focus off her care.

I treasure that letter. It is a reminder that no matter how big the problem is, it is the individual person that matters. That even when we are just doing our job we can make a profound impact on another life.


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