Op-Ed: The pandemic, Hurricane Ian and me — a doctor whose friends say I have PTSD, and a woman on a mission to bring back the power of love
The first time I looked at the news of Irma’s landfall and felt the way I felt in that time of her storm, my heart raced. I sat up in bed as my family huddled around me, and I watched them through the window, imagining their horror as the giant waves crashed against the shore with a loud BOOM.
The second time, I cried myself to sleep as my neighbors in Barbados tried to come to terms with the storm while I, safely ensconced in my air-conditioned apartment, watched the storm from a safe distance.
This particular storm, of course, is a far cry from what Hurricane Irma dealt out on our southern shores, but that’s the way it was in Florida: a giant power of fear, with an overwhelming sense that something was going to happen to us that was worse than what happened to us. In my mind, Irma was a different storm — the fear was now amplified, with an accompanying sense of helplessness. I was worried for my friends in Barbados, but I couldn’t do anything for them.
The third time I saw the news, it was to learn that I, too, died; Irma had passed over us in Florida with catastrophic consequences: my mother, my sister, my nieces, my father, my girlfriend, my children, my dog, the police, all of us dead within a few hours.
Not wanting to watch the horrifying images of my friends and family dying go viral on social media, I turned the TV off. But that’s when I became a true professional: I could tell the stories of others all day long without any social media distractions. But in the wake of the storm, with my parents and my sister still nowhere to be found, it was time to make my own stand.
I thought of the woman I had been attracted to in high school — and for the first time, looked in the mirror and wondered if perhaps I wouldn’t be as happy with a woman like that as I had been with my high school boyfriend. I didn’t