Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bellevue runs in my veins, so I cry.


This is an impromptu post, mostly because I need to vent. Not anger, but other things.

Sandy rolled in and knocked my second hometown off its feet. I spent over 16 years in New York, and still have family and many friends there. I've been anxiously watching the news, emailing, calling. It's a little like seeing someone punch your best friend in the face, but you're actually watching a video monitor the whole time.

I went to NYU School of Medicine and did my training at NYU Langone Center (back then we called it Tisch) and Bellevue hospital. I was an attending physician at Bellevue for five years before I relocated. With good and bad memories (but mostly good), I still collectively think of these hospitals as the place where I grew up. And not just as a doctor.

So to see them going through this devastation hurts me in a way that is so hard to describe.


This is where I fell in love, and found my future husband.

This is where my first child was born.

This is where I made friendships that are steely-strong, to this very day.

This is where we stood together in a silent scream, on 9/11.

This is where I saved some lives, and some lives saved me.

Maybe I'm being overly emotional. Maybe it's the distance, because I'm here and there's nothing I can do.

My friends and colleagues at Bellevue and NYU are dealing with the aftermath of Sandy, and countless underserved, poor, at-risk patients who rely on Bellevue for their healthcare just lost their hospital for who knows how long.

My heart aches. I will keep watching the news, waiting for my friend's emails, and hoping that they will slowly erase the effects of Sandy. I'm looking to see what I can do to help, besides this. This utter helplessness I feel.

31 comments:

Shelly said...

As one who has come through too many hurricanes in my lifetime, my heart and prayers truly go out to those affected by Sandy.

I was moved by the bravery of the physicians, nurses, and emergency workers in evacuating the ill from the hospitals. What bravery!

Angela Felsted said...

Lydia, I am so sorry. It is so hard to feel helpless at a time like this. (((hugs)))

Mrs. Silverstein said...

It's really hard, being away from the city while this is going on. I only lived there for five years...but we just moved two months ago. Our apartment was in "the dark zone" of Manhattan, and I feel like a partitioned computer, with a small part of my brain figuring out where we would go, what we would do, and what to do about the dozen or so elderly Italian ladies who were our neighbors in the building. I'm anxious for the owners and employees of the many, many local businesses we loved--our tea shop, our favorite restaurant, our beloved bookstore--whose businesses have been without power for days and are not likely to regain power for a few days more. I'm worried about my former students--most of whom lived in Queens, some of whom I know lived in evacuation zones. I know some of my former colleagues lived right on the water. In my head, I'm tracing the route I would use to get from the powerless Greenwich Village to Jamaica, Queens using the cobbled-together pieces of MTA that are up and running tomorrow, when teachers have to report for the first time in a week. I'm hugely grateful that we moved just before this disaster struck, but I feel sad and guilty that I'm not there to tough it out with my friends and neighbors.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lydia it's difficult when you're so far away. I feel for everyone - our state gets hurricanes often so I know what they are facing. Just continue to pray for them.

Taryn Tyler said...

You're not being over emotional. If any of the places I've lived in had been hit I'd be devastated. The world around you seeps into your blood and it sounds like Bellevue surrounded you for a long time. It's hard to see something like that damaged even apart from worrying about friends who still live there.

Bryan Russell said...

I emailed all my New York friends. It's hard watching from a distance, divorced from the physicality of what's happening.

I hope the hospitals get back on their feet.

Richard said...

I don't have any personal connection to New York or New Jersey, no friends there. But I'm still stunned by the enormous effects of this storm. I can't imagine going through it (even though I live in N.E. Florida. We fled a hurricane a few years before Katrina and drove all the way to Alabama before finding lodging. That same area [Orange Beach] got slammed by Katrina [I think it was, or Ivan, can't keep up with them all].) My daughter lives in New Orleans, so there's a concern there. Another of my daughters lived in Pensacola, Fla, during one of the hurricanes, and stayed with us while it hit her area hard. This is something we'll have to deal with from now on. Seems like, all of a sudden, it's a monumental problem compared to the past.

Kristen Wixted said...

I felt like that on 9/11. I had to go to New York for a day and just walk around. It didn't do anyone a bit of good but me.
I hope you get some news from friends soon that helps you feel better.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

It's one of the worst feelings to be unable to really do anything about a disaster. Yes, we can donate time, money, etc, but what we want is to make the hurt go away and some hurts are too deep.
I came from NY. My family from Brooklyn, but my early years were on Long Island. Although I live across the country I ache for what people are going through.
(hugs)

mooderino said...

As terrible as it's been I think it's a relief to see the authorities deal with the disaster areas so quickly and without making undue fuss. Feels like people know what they're doing, which is what you want at these times.

Hopefully there won't be too many lost lives.

mood

Carrie Butler said...

Still praying for everyone over there. :(

Natalie Aguirre said...

So sorry Lydia. It's so much more personal for you than some of us who don't have connections there. Hope your family and friends are safe and get through this ordeal.

Kelly Polark said...

It really is mind numbing that such devastation occured in NY again. Hugs to you. I hope your friends and family there are safe.

Jai Joshi said...

I'm so sorry for what you're going through, and what Bellevue and the east coast is going through.

I've found it inspiring to see the courage and resilience of the people at Bellevue. The way they lost power but still kept going and evacuated and didn't lose one life, not even from the critical care patients. When I think of how much strength and determination that must have needed, it awes me and gives me faith in humanity, that there are people in the world willing to give everything to help others.

Jai

Krispy said...

Sorry for what you're going through, and don't apologize. Your feelings are totally warranted; like you said, it's your second hometown! Of course you care and feel for it.

I hope your friends and family are doing okay and safe!

Donna Hole said...

I have seen some of the devastation on the news; it is very sad.

......dhole

Karen Lange said...

I don't think you're being overly emotional. I can relate - I grew up in a southern NJ shore community, then lived just offshore until 8 years ago when we moved to KY. Watching pics pop up on Facebook and the news is difficult. Like you, we have friends and family and experiences there, and it's hard to get my head around it all. Glad though, that things are slowly returning to normal. Thoughts and prayers go out to those involved.

aliya said...

I remember you falling in love with your husband. When I read they had to evacuate the hospital, words could not describe my horror for everyone. Impressive how they have pulled off everything.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Lydia, I think we all feel horrible watching this from afar, but I don't have those personal connections you have, which must make it so much worse. I'm glad you shared your feelings with us.

February Grace said...

So sorry, Lydia. *hugs*

bru

bethchristopher.com said...

I'm sorry you're hurting, Lydia, along with so many others. Sending a big hug.

Donna Siracuse-Lee said...

Lydia, what a beautiful tribute to our alma mater. When Henri and i saw the pictures of the fuel brigade on the stairs of Bellevue it brought out feelings of both sadness and pride--pride that that the doctors and nurses who work there will roll up their sleeves and just take the necessary action to care for patients no matter what the circumstances. Our Bellevue training has made us all stronger as doctors and as people. It makes me miss the days of being surrounded by such dedication. It brought years to my eyes as I tried to explain it to my kids. Hope you and the family are well. --Donna Siracuse-Lee
MD NYU '98

Denise Covey said...

Sandy has certainly shattered lives. I feel for you Lydia and am so sorry it hit you so hard. Your utter helplessness will go and you will find your way through this.
Our city faced so much destruction a year ago with massive floods, but it's pretty much back to normal now thanks to thousands of organised willing helpers.:D

Heather said...

I don't think you're being over emotional at all honey. It's terrible and sad and we're allowed to feel the full force of that and support one another. (((hugs)))

A Lady's Life said...

Oh it is terrible what happened on the east coast
It's terrible when it happens anywhere.
People lose everything except their lives and then they have to find new places to live and rebuild.
Something definitely is going on.

World House Medicine said...

You words are balm.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

So sorry. I know it is difficult when you can't be there with your friends to support them.

Steph said...

I hope everyone that you're thinking of is ok. Natural disasters are absolutely devastating.

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Elizabeth Hale said...

Beautiful post, Lydia. I feel exactly the same way. I hope to see you at the reunion in April!
Liz Hale

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