A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?

I had already seen four patients that morning, dispensing wound care in the homes of those North of my city. I swung into the office on my way South, to pick up some supplies and new orders. It was about 10:15 CST. That's when I heard.

As I walked into the office, Denise, the office manager informed me two planes had hit the World Trade Center in New York. I thought "Oh, two planes.......collision, debris hits buildings......." I gathered my supplies and orders and blithely left the building. At the next patient's home, the lady of the house was upset because The Price Is Right was being preempted. She had turned off her television. I did my job and moved on. The next patient had no television. Then, I was off to a community fifty miles East of town. I popped some Smokey Robinson in the tape deck, and set the cruise control on the home health assault vehicle forged eastward.

There, I watched in horror on my next patient's television as the twin towers fell again and again. I watched as tape was played over and over of the inferno erupting from the second crash. Events became clear. I knew the United States had been attacked. I did not know what was occurring at Barksdale AFB.

I left that patient's home after completing my work, and drove to my six year old daughter's school. I removed her from class, and took her with me to see the rest of my patients that day. At each home, as I cared for wounds, I caught another glimpse of the scorched and smoking wound that radically changed US history and foreign policy. I do not know why I removed my little girl from class that day. No, actually I do. I wanted her close. I wanted her to feel safe with her daddy nearby, and I wanted to know if death were to randomly visit me that day, she would be with me.

I thought about re-enlisting. I knew we would be going to war. There was no question of that. My body had changed over time though. I was no longer the young warrior I once was. September 11, 2001 was the day I realized I was becoming an old man.

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