I am on the HAZMAT team here at the hospital. Basically, if there is a dirty bomb or something and there are a bunch of people who need to be decontaminated before they go into the hospital, then we go in, set up a tent and help people wash themselves (or we wash them for the non-ambulatory patients.) It is a deceptively simple task, and super important. The drills are always a good time. BUT Friday I realized that there is a real possibility that we could be called out. People's lives could be at stake. Real people and real violence can occur. It was scary and humbling. We were not called out Friday, there was no need, but we did get a phone message that said "The HAZMAT team has not be activated." I swear to you the pause between the "has" and the "not" was enormous. My heart sank as I heard "has". It was scary. And the relief when I heard the "not" was enormous, too.
I feel safer today. But in a way I feel less safe than a week ago. Just over 7 days ago I felt like things happened to other people in other cities, but not here. Not Boston. But now I feel a little less naive. There is a risk and it is everywhere. This is not going to help my mild agoraphobia.
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings