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Monday, August 07, 2006


At work today I reflected on the events of the last week and found them to be exhaustingly blurry. Since the attack on the Jewish Federation Building on Friday, July 28th, Jewish Family Service has shifted into overdrive trying to provide for the needs of the victims and their families. I devoted 120% of my work week to trying to assess and meet those needs. My supervisors and colleagues have also been canceling vacations, working tons of overtime hours, stretching their job descriptions and supporting one another nobly. There's been a collective adrenaline buzz keeping the place afloat, but the high is wearing off and the frustration of trying to decipher the hundreds of little notes I've written myself in the last week is disconcerting.

Much of my time has been spent down at the hospital, where I had no idea how many people would be carted past me in varying states of unhealth. I'm glad I don't work in an ICU, and I have all the respect in the world for people who can handle that environment. After a while, I guess you don't notice the breathing tubes, monitoring equipment pulsing and humming with importance, and the strikingly unflattering views you get of exposed buttocks and bellies... gauzed and bloody or sutured with tight black spidery stitches. It wigs me out.

And then my family called. I had forgotten to email or phone them and let them know I was fine. They weren't sure about the difference between the Jewish Federation and Jewish Family Service, so they all feared that I was in the middle of the gunfire. After I assured them, I found out my folks had just gotten out of the ER after a harrowing car crash. They were driving up from their home in Todos Santos, Mexico to San Diego when THIS happened. They were taken to a Mexican ER where my Dad was treated. And thankfully was fine (and relieved to find out the bill was only $250.) (Thanks for the photos Mom.)

It was when my mother choked back a sob of relief after hearing that I was okay that the impact of what was happening hit me. I thought about the families I was working with, and thought about how they didn't get a reprieve. Their children had been shot, and in one case, killed. That was the only time I let myself feel the overwhelming emotional reverberations of how these people have had their lives devastated. And after that, I felt, like all the professionals around me, that I needed to stand up and be calm and helpful in a chaotic environment. Hopefully it's working and we really are helping.

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At 8/07/2006 10:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do very good work John, very needed and appreciated and valued. And I knew you weren't in the building (most likely) but I was scared for you anyway. The thread that holds us all here is gossamer at best.

I know this week has taken a toll, has emptied you, but you stand back up each time. Good on ya.


At 8/10/2006 11:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello John
The latest word on your old mans foot it that it will need surgery, and it will be 10-12 weeks before he can walk on it again.

Google has a blogger also ( I have no idea if it is any good) You can see it at the following url:

Hang in there with the heavy lifting at work.


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