Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where was I.

In surgery. Assisting in the largest ventral hernia repair I have ever done. The defect was so large that two of the largest meshes made had to be sewn together. I don't normally work Tuesdays, but had gone in because they were short handed. Surgery starts at my hospital at 7:15, so we were already started before the news broke. The case was a long and involved one, and as anesthesia personnel came into the room , and went , they brought news, much of it jumbled. First there was a fire at the WTC, then the second tower had exploded. Then a story that a helicopter had hit the Pentagon, then the same time the report that the Towers had collapsed and that a plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. Strangely the news that a plane had crashed in Pennsylvania shook me more than buildings being hit in New York and Washington, or even the news that the Towers had collapsed. New York and Washington, I could understand as targets, but Pennsylvania made it suddenly seem that everywhere or anywhere could be attacked. Of course no one knew the story, we didn't know that only four planes had been hijacked. I, at least, didn't know that all air traffic had been grounded. We didn't finish the surgery until late morning. By then, some semblance of the story was beginning to become clear. I sat in the break room, and watched the film of the towers collapse, and seldom have ever felt as alone. (I somehow missed the big unity moment everyone else had.) I remember hearing the talking heads talk about the search for survivors, and I remembered Oklahoma City. I was in an OR that day too, and I remember the word filtering out that they were finding no survivors in the part of the building that collapsed, only bodies.

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