I showered,dressed for work,fed the cats.I worked as a Vitas Hospice RN Case Manager in southeast Texas and sat down in front of my television with my Dr.Atkins diet shake to watch the morning news.I never dreamed I would end up watching the worst tragedy in the history of the United States since the Civil War. I was watching the news cast and I remember the look of shock on the two anchor peoples faces as the first plane hit the tower of the World Trade Center, then the second tower exploded. I remember thinking,briefly, that it must be a trailer for a movie.
The shocked look on the anchors faces told me it was real.I sat there, numb and watched the news cast until my pager went off. The message was from my Team Manager we were summoned out of the field and into the office by our team manager.I continued to sit there as the rest of the horrible events played out over the screen and the reports were beginning to come into the station.
I left my apartment and drove to our office,still in shock I think.I discovered as I opened the door and went inside that what I had seen was all too real.Lynn,my team manager had a small television on.Me and the rest of the team of nurses sat there with tears running down our faces as the television revealed the entire horrible,inconceivable event on the small screen.
the main office of Vitas issued a message that the office was closed for the day and absolutely no nurses were to go out in the field.All of the families with patients at home were notified by the main office that the nurses would call later and check on the patients.
Any patients having emergencies would be transported by ambulance to our in-patient unit in north Houston.Nursing home patients had their own staff and were notified the Vitas nurses would not be out in the field making visits. At the time no one had any idea how many cities might be targeted and the south Houston area was known as the main area for oil and gas refineries.
By one pm,our time,our team manager told us that we were to go home and call our hospice families and nursing homes to check on our patients and families who had patients at home.
I don't remember the drive home,but I remember sitting down in front of my television and watching the continuous coverage of the awful,heartbreaking events.It still didn't seem real. The footage of the planes, the explosions,the people leaping out of windows trying to escape the inferno and the people on the streets running for their lives still looked like scenes from a movie.
The true extent of the horror was being revealed in front of my eyes on my big screen television by new footage and copy read by shell shocked appearing reporters and trusted tearful news anchors. The rest of the afternoon and night is a blur of speculation,news reports,interviews of shell shocked people,new footage and tragic reports.
I don't remember when I finally went to bed or if I slept. However;I will never forget that day and the images I saw. The planes, the explosions, the collapse of the towers and the shock on the faces of New Yorkers running for their lives,the grim heroic faces of the police,the firemen,and emergency personnel.No American old enough to remember that day will ever forget where they were on that day and what they saw and the emotions they experienced.