On September 10th, 2001, I spent most of the day prone on the bathroom floor. I rose occasionally to vomit. During these hours I was also crying for what appeared to be no reason at all. Not only was I feeling very nauseated, but I was also in a deep despair that came literally out of nowhere. Everything had been fine. No serious dilemmas, no major issues of any kind to illicit such a reaction. I couldn’t explain to my boyfriend (now my husband) what was wrong. I had no idea. And frankly, I was worried. I hadn’t eaten anything strange, but I did consider food poisoning. But with the emotional symptoms…I did have a concern I may be pregnant – even though I didn’t have much of a reason to worry about it. Later that day I called my Dr. and scheduled an appointment for first thing the next morning. I felt so sick up until then, that I was worried about even making it to the appointment.
I was driving across town to my Dr’s office and listening to Bob and Brian on Lazer 103. They broke out of ‘character’ and announced just as they themselves were learning – a plane had hit the World Trade Center and seconds later, another. The throat lumps in their familiar and usually soothing voices were almost visible through the airwaves. I was just dumbstruck. It was like I was just watching a program or that it wasn’t real in some way – perhaps a joke. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, the Pentagon had also been hit.
I cannot explain it very well, but as soon as I heard this news – all the nausea and despair I had been feeling the previous 24 hours just lifted. That’s it. I actually felt it lift out of me like one big breath. It sounds strange, you would think it would have made it worse, but instead, it was simply gone.
I walked into the office and I could tell they were not completely up on what was happening. I asked the receptionist if she had heard about the crashes. She was like, “yea, I heard the WTC was hit.” I told her it was hit twice and now the Pentagon. Her expression and demeanor changed quickly. After all, a terrible plane wreck beckons a much different feeling than your country possibly being attacked.
I went about my appointment including blood work. As far as they could tell, nothing was physically wrong with me. And no, I was not pregnant.
I began to drive to work. I was working in Menomonee Falls at the time and had a very long commute as the main freeway to get there was under construction. As I was about to get onto the highway to head north, I turned the car around. I had to go home. I was truly afraid to be so far from home not knowing what was happening to our country – possibly to the world. I called my boss the when I returned home and told him I wasn’t comfortable going to work that day. I was let go the day after with a minimal severance. I didn’t even care.
Like the rest of the world, my eyes were glued to the TV for the following days. I felt such fear and sadness for what had happened. But to this day, I cannot really explain the symptoms I had in the hours preceding the attack. My only guess – considering I have had several other similar occurrences prior to tragedies since then – that it was some kind of precognitive empathic reaction.
I did not know anyone involved in the attacks. But it will certainly be a time I will never forget – as much as I’d like to.