my thoughts, which might not mean anything, but it’s my blog so here we go.
As many of you know, it’s been a bit of a trying few days in here in NYC. (I was going to say a trying week…but it hasn’t even been a week yet, crazy.) Those of us who were smart prepared by heading to the grocery store over the weekend to stock up on last minute goods, although I thought it was a bit humorous how many perishable items people were buying. Who knows how many of them ended up losing power.
I’ve been lucky through this…I live in an area of the city where I didn’t lose power, water, or (omg, so important) internet or cell phone service. I can walk to work, and I did…to my hospital that never lost power (although we heard the generators rumbling from time to time) and didn’t have to evacuate.
I don’t talk about it too much, but being a nurse isn’t always my favorite thing in the entire world. It’s tiring, mentally, physically, emotionally…and I can’t fully explain it to anyone who isn’t a nurse. I could try, but it never fully comes across. Some people recommend looking at other jobs, but I do have some nice perks (three days per week of work?) and after working at the bedside literally helping people (although it doesn’t always seem like that…), I’m not sure I could take anything as seriously.
Although nursing isn’t always at the top of my list, I do love my nurses and the people I work with. We knew the hurricane was coming, and for most of us, the question wasn’t, “Can I get to work?” it was more like, “How do I get to work? Do you need me to come in extra?” I work night shift, and we watched the news all night in patients’ rooms…NYU’s evacuation, the mass flooding, the electricity going out, trees down, destruction everywhere. When NYC woke up, none of their surprise was news to us. We came into work early to make sure we could get there (some of us brought helmets in case of falling trees…) and some slept at the hospital so they could continue to work.
This is also how we got through our shifts this week…
I have friends who don’t have power or water, and they don’t know when they’ll get it back. All week at work the question was flying, “Do you need a place to stay?” I haven’t seen the worst of it because I’ve been at work and in my safe little apartment. At work last night, we prepared to accept more patients who are being evacuated from hospitals who have generators that have failed (Bellevue, Montefiore)…I’m in an ICU so we didn’t really get any patients, although there are plenty of med/surg patients and patients needing dialysis going around.
We could have had it so much worse (at my hospital…and I understand it’s not over yet), and I have so much respect for those nurses who carried vented patients requiring pressor support down fifteen flights of stairs with the help of FDNY…if you’ve ever tried to move an ICU patient just in their own bed, you would understand how crazy it would be to carry these patients down flights of stairs.
I don’t remember where I was going with this, nor am I any good at transitions, but…
Lots of people ask me about the marathon. I’ve thought about it and brought it up a lot on my own. I deferred before any of this happened for reasons not related to the hurricane. But now…well, everyone has their opinion. So I might as well give you mine, which despite my huge blog presence (not true…) doesn’t really make a difference and Bloomberg/Mary won’t be referencing me for my opinion anytime soon.
I don’t think the marathon should be run. I think it’s too soon. Some people are citing 9/11 as a reference, which I think it definitely a different situation. I wasn’t here for that, and yes, the marathon did go on…just under two months later. Less than a week later? I’m not so sure about that one. Trees are down, Brooklyn is basically another country right now, and Staten Island, including the start area, is destroyed.
I’ve run ten marathons, which I think is enough to give me perspective on what goes into training. People have been training for months, others have been waiting out the lottery, doing 9+1, or raising money for charity to get into the marathon. I understand the disappointment and realize what loss would occur to each runner individually if the marathon is not run. Financial implications as well.
But…have you looked around the city? Areas are still under water, trees are down everywhere, lower Manhattan doesn’t have electricity or water…and people are robbing stores just for food. Some people are complaining that the recovery actions aren’t happening fast enough…again, I’m lucky to not really be affected. I understand that NYRR is a private organization, but it uses tons of public resources to put on the show. You know how people were upset about the cost of the race? How NYPD increased their fees to help with the marathon?
That’s the same NYPD that should be out helping people. Manpower is manpower, and extra cops probably aren’t going to magically appear to put on the marathon and help people still recovering from the disaster of this week. It’s a matter of numbers in my opinion.
I don’t necessarily think it’s on the shoulders of NYRR to allocate food/water/funds to the relief effort. The marathon does bring a lot of money into the city, but with displaced people filling hotels and public transportation hanging on, what will this do to the city? I have no idea, but I hope it doesn’t take away from those who are already in need.
Some people argue that continuing with the marathon will be a show of resilience and the ability of New Yorkers to bounce back after disaster. I wasn’t here after 9/11, but the marathon was the first big event that the city put on after the attack, and it did bring the city together. But it’s been days. Not that everyone after 9/11 was better after the few weeks, but…days. It just doesn’t seem right to me. (Also, I still don’t feel right making this comparison.) People are still devastated. People are out of their homes, don’t have power, got flooded, etc etc etc etc. I know a lot of the city comes out for marathon, but I’m sure the number of people who really care about the marathon right now is much more minimal than ever. Most of my friends in the city are runners, many of who are running the marathon, so I have a skewed view of what people think, and many people think the marathon will be good for the city. I’m not so sure it will.
As for myself, I’m not running, but I’ve already said that. It doesn’t seem like marathon week…at all. Maybe because I’ve been in night shift/hurricane hibernation. But the excitement doesn’t really seem to be around, or I’m not around people who are excited about the marathon. They say the marathon is going to go on, and at this point I’m assuming it will although I don’t fully understand the logistics of it. I don’t really support the idea of the marathon continuing on, and it will definitely have a different feel that years past.
Mainly, I was aghast at the number of people who woke up on Tuesday morning wondering if the marathon would still be held and why NYRR/the city hadn’t made a decision yet. Many people are trying to fly in. Others just want to know. But…priorities, please?
If the marathon is going to go on…then I think people should run it. I believe in putting trust in people who probably know more about the situation than I do, and if they decide to put the marathon on, people shouldn’t feel bad about running it. I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision, and runners will basically have it made for them. I won’t feel bad about being out there cheering, and I still look forward to seeing everyone
struggle rock mile 23.
So in summary (so many words…), thank to you all the nurses/emergency workers who have been helping us through this week. While I’m not sold on continuing with the marathon, I can’t wait to cheer for runners at one of the greatest marathons in the world.