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Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Bloody Thanksgiving

At work today we have been following CNN for updates on what is going on with the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. It was really hard to read about what was happening knowing we couldn't do anything. But it made it almost even more important to be as good as possible to one another and our patients.

As the standoff continues I found this article on CNN about the effect of social media (mostly Twitter), and how it was used as the terror unfolded. At first, as one would expect, Twitter updates helped to mobilize volunteers and resources to the hotels. But then it became a security breech. People began urging others to stop tweeting because the terrorists were allegedly also using the site to preempt government reactions.

I'm not sure what the whole thing means for the present situation or for the future. But something I found fascinating in a less socially conscious and more writer-conscious way was that this same article mentioned that captives in the hotel were blogging about their situation as they lived it. Which reminded me of a news story from the year 2000 which you may have heard of, which was about the discovery of a message that a dying man in a submarine penned to his wife: I Am Writing Blindly. We read the article about this captain and his message in my Junior Year AP writing class and discussed the "need" to write. Is it a need to create? or a need to communicate? Is it narcissism or the constant search for connection and confirmation? Is it documentation so that we can feel we've left some proof of ourselves? Or to help those after us learn from our lives? Or is it everything?


On a bit of a lighter note: as we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner today one of the nurses quipped, "now everyone chew very carefully and then swallow slowly because I'm on lunch." The homeless patients around us chuckled appreciatively. We don't usually eat with them but something about this holiday really makes you want to get together. It was just like eating with any other family. We joked and laughed. We shared food. We loosened our belts and laughed some more. Some homeless folks who are not currently here getting medical treatment showed up just to visit friends or family. Friends were reunited and it was really amazing to watch. Afterwards staff and patients alike rested all together in the rec room watching football while others played checkers or cards in the Atrium. It was a relaxing, beautiful day. And although it's not an easy day for many, "I hate the holidays," admitted one man, "how can I not?" it seems like everyone here made the absolute best of it. And that was an awesome blessing.

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