Apr 19 2013

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Not A Normal Week Here

[important]You can donate to The One Fund Boston, a 401(c)(3) non-profit set up jointly by Massachusetts Governor Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino to directly benefit victims of the Marathon bombings. Some may not have adequate insurance, or their injuries will stop them from working in their chosen professions. In just one example, a woman who lost both legs is a hair stylist, which requires standing all day, plus she and her daughter, also injured, live on a second floor. Funds will help victims regain their lives, to whatever extent possible.[/important]

[important]Monetary donations for the the American Red Cross West, Texas Disaster Fund can also be made online at redcross.org or by texting RED CROSS to 90999 to donate $10.[/important]


I live about 30 miles south of Boston, and to say this week has been stressful is the least of it. Sunday was “e-file our income tax” day, which I dread and procrastinate every year, even though we nearly always get a refund. It gives me headaches. I don’t really know why.

Monday was the Boston Marathon. I watched the beginning of the race, then turned to other projects. Then I got an email alert about bombs at the finish line. Such dissonance. Bombs and finish lines don’t go together.

I turned on the TV, and saw mangled people. Lots of them. I had a visceral response seeing Jeff Bauman in a wheelchair, being run by several people to the medical tent. His legs were mostly not there. Of all the people I saw, I wanted to know if he made it. (I still don’t really understand why him. I don’t know him at all.) A day later, when the names of the three who died were announced, I learned he was still in critical condition, requiring more surgery.

As it turns out, from the moment he awakened, he provided key information to law enforcement that directly led to identifying the suspects, one of whom is still at large as I write this. Jeff has a long recovery ahead of him.

On Wednesday, the overnight news rightly fixated on a devastating explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. They still haven’t accounted for everyone who is missing, there were 200 injuries, and at least 50 homes destroyed. I don’t personally know anyone there, either, but the instant life-changing trauma visited upon a town of 2,800 people was shocking.

Since last night (Thursday) Boston and surrounding areas have been locked down after a shoot out at MIT in Cambridge, which moved to and escalated in Watertown, leaving one suspect dead, the other still on the run. Yesterday, I had a very important doctor appointment in the heart of Boston where everything’s locked down today. I’m very grateful that my appointment was not set for today. But Boston’s normal nightmare traffic was complicated by President Obama’s visit to the memorial service and a hospital, which I do not begrudge him at all because he should have been there. It was still very stressful, and I wasn’t even driving!

All this to say, it’s not over yet, for anyone — the wounded, the cops, other first responders, people injured or who lost their homes and jobs in Texas, or for people on lockdown. My mind is not cooperating in pulling up favorite tweets or wrestling with Pinterest, and I’ve stopped trying to force it. I know I’ve watched far too much wall-to-wall TV news this week. I’ve been triggered numerous times, and felt relentlessly helpless to make any difference at all. Is anyone else feeling this way?

If you’ve had troubled sleep this week, this Boston Globe post titled “Sleep elusive for many in wake of bombing” may offer help. “Sleep specialists say insomnia and nightmares are normal in the first several days after such a traumatic event, and many people may be making problems worse by use of alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine.” You can learn more positive ways to get your sleep schedule back on track.

One way to not feel so helpless and ineffective is to donate to The One Fund Boston or to the American Red Cross specifically for West, Texas, both also linked at the top of this post.

It’s a start.


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