Friday, May 19, 2017

Triage

Yesterday, as hundreds of pedestrians milled and lounged at tables in hot, busy Times Square, a car plowed into the crowd, injuring 22 people and killing one, a young woman, 18, who was visiting the city from Michigan. The driver was drunk, high on PCP, and is in custody. That poor teenager's 13-year-old sister was among the injured. These two girls were just walking along one day and hell rained down.

As soon as I heard what was happening, I knew my son would be on the scene, one of the FDNY first responders attending to the wounded, even before it was clear whether this was an ongoing terrorist attack or a lone ranger lunatic. Bomb squads swept the area as my son and his fellow EMTs and paramedics performed triage and ferried victims to nearby hospitals. I texted my son: "Call me when you can." A couple of hours later he did call. "I'm safe," he told me, "and most of the injured are stable now." "That's what I wanted to know," I said, to which he replied, "I figured."

I am still getting used to the fact that whenever anything like this happens in the city, my son will be rushing toward it, lights flashing and sirens blaring, and I will be just another citizen mother watching the news channels, praying.

In the midst of the chaos, I had to travel to midtown myself to meet with my editor on the book I'm co-writing. My son said, "You better reschedule your meeting. There's no way you can get in here. All the roads are blocked off." I decided to try anyway, because until I could sit down with the editor and go over the proposed chapter outline, I was stuck, unable to begin. I did manage to make it past all the yellow police tape to the publisher's office, which was a hushed, air-conditioned world completely removed from the pandemonium and gridlock on the street outside.

It was a good meeting. I really like my editor. She says she's tough, but I welcome tough. I finally have clarity on how to move forward. One slight wrinkle is that a project I thought had fallen through has come back around, so I'm juggling again. This is a good problem to have, though I confess I was looking forward to diving into writing the book, my focus undivided. On the other hand, it's always better when I'm super busy. My brain chatter goes a little haywire when I have time on my hands. Who am I kidding? A lot haywire. Of course, these are small problems compared to those facing a family from Michigan today.


8 comments:

  1. I can't imagine how you must feel when anything happens in that city that might require your son to act.
    I can't imagine how that family from Michigan must feel.
    Good for you on the work! And yes, that should keep the brain-chatter quiet for awhile.

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  2. Ms Moon said it all. So many peoples' lives affected every time. Thank goodness for work.

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  3. How scary, and yet how proud you can be of your son and his very necessary work. I can understand the need to be busy!

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  4. I could never put myself in your shoes. It must be frightening to know that your little one (and they're always our "little ones", forever and ever) is there, risking his life. Respect to you.

    Greetings from London.

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  5. It's that feeling when your stomach drops for a moment, but you gotta' keep the faith - that's a hard one. But thank God he's ok. I love his response, he knows his mama well.

    Oh how I wish I could stop the brain chatter...maybe I'll write a book :)

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  6. I have immense respect for your son taking on this job, and I'm sorry for the tragedy and all concerned. The work ahead of you sounds challenging but wonderful.

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  7. Yesterday an out-of-control car clipped me and then proceeded and rammed into another car very badly. It was an awful scene and right in front of the fire station that used to be my precinct. I calmly parked and shouted out, "Bad accident out here, please help," and they did. Several asked if I'm ok, what I needed, but I just gestured to the others and checked my truck's damage. I was calm because they were right there, calmly handling everything.

    So very very grateful for your son and the others of his tribe.

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  8. I think I, too, will think of your son now whenever I see "news" from the great city of New York. You must be so proud of me, albeit worried, too! My Henry is still expressing interest in becoming a paramedic. I'd love to connect the two of them one of these days. Do you think that could happen?

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