Tag Archives: 9/11

In the hairy scary month of May

There was a time when the end of May sprang forth with new possibilities – the end of a college semester, a fresh season at Dewey Beach, the inaugural igniting of the Weber grill, white jeans unfolded after hibernation in the attic. The aroma of new-mown grass, the jingle of the Good Humor man turning the corner on to your block and the first sighting of the season’s fireflies used to be the sights, sounds and smells we soaked in on the eve of the first of June.

Decades later, I say to what was once my favorite month, Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out. Good riddance, Hasta la vista, Sayonara and every other cliché I can spit this day.

Since we last met in April, the only May flowers around here are the ones my husband was planting when he yelled out “Call 911!”

Not to worry, he’s okay. After a Memorial Day weekend stay in our neighborhood hospital, he was deemed to be suffering from benign positional vertigo. He is slowly getting back to work, though he can’t yet drive himself there.

The week before, the mister’s head was covered in electrodes for a 72-hour take-home EEG. Picture a 64-year-old man in a luau shirt, with colored wires running from the back of his head to a shoulder bag–out in public. It’s a miracle he wasn’t taken into custody.

While my husband suffered two medical emergencies and spent much of April and May with various docs for various ills, I had to get in on the fun. By Memorial Day, I had had 11 appointments with five specialists, undergone five diagnostic procedures for what is essentially an aching back, and gotten two dental crowns. I even had my piano tuned. That’s not code for anything. It just seemed like the thing to do.

We visited a friend who’s had two liver transplants since Christmas and remains in the ICU five months later; buried a cousin and a family friend; prayed for twin babies born four months premature, and offered there-theres to a friend suffering a fierce animal attack. And many moooore… including a friend who also spent Memorial Day weekend in the hospital with benign positional vertigo. This could be an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Oh right. It was.

So what have I learned from this period of trial?

  1. When your husband calls out “911!” he doesn’t mean finish taking in the groceries and bring him some grape juice and a cheese stick.
  2. When you walk into pain clinic and hear blood curdling screams, turn around and limp for your life.
  3. It is possible to make a daisy chain out of hospital bracelets.
  4. If you and your spouse get sick at the same time, make sure one of you can drive. But know this: There is a 10-minute stage of benign positional vertigo, between extended periods of total incapacitation, when a patient is able to hop in the car and drive to Baskin-Robbins. (You won’t read that on WebMD.)
  5. If one is carrying around a bag with electrical wires attached to one’s head, putting on a floppy hat isn’t going to make him look any less like a suicide bomber.
  6. When the slightest drop of self pity seeps in, remember the guy in the ICU.

As the great modern philosopher Michael Bublé once sang:

Golden haze,
Another morning feels like yesterday.
End of May
Now you’re gone and there are still bills to pay.

Medical bills, no doubt.


Filed under Health, Holidays

Mission possible

Last night, as my husband and I were about to turn off the TV and the lights, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer broke in to the end of a program we were watching about Alzheimer’s Disease. At 10:30 p.m., President Obama would address the nation and the world. As I suspect everyone did, we tried to guess what the matter might be.

Without a lot of thought, I said to my husband, “I wonder if they got Osama bin Laden.” My husband looked shocked, even got a little choked up. Then it hit me what a significant thing I had said. What a significant world event that would be.

About 10 minutes after my wild guess, the news was leaked. My heart stopped. Perhaps for the first time in years, my emotions from 2001 returned, as if by the flip of a switch. There are no words, only images—of watching the news, sobbing. Of rushing to the bus to meet my son and wanting us all to hide from danger.

I sit here this morning, reading the news accounts and watching images of those gathered around Ground Zero, and remembering our recent visit to the memorials, which reveal bin Laden’s act in a painfully personal way. I sit here in awesome admiration of the historic display of courage and excellence–in military operations, in national intelligence and in Presidential leadership–that changed our world yesterday and that we’ll continue to need in the future.

The last words I heard as I switched off the television last night reflected something I was feeling but dared not say out loud. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell read an e-mail from the daughter of a 9/11 victim: “It’s not natural to celebrate the death of someone. But somehow it feels natural tonight.”

We can’t help but re-live September 11, 2001, today. Perhaps it’s overly altruistic, but maybe—just maybe—the celebrated destruction of this evil doer will compel us to come together as a nation and a world—the way we did when he committed his most evil deed almost 10 years ago.

Let the healing begin.


Filed under News, Politics