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completions tell their stories.
(Windows media video)
(from testimony before the
New York City Council)
I am a Registered Nurse, and work at NYU Downtown Hospital. I have worked
at this hospital for 33 years.
After the collapses on 9/11, I spent over three hours inhaling and
ingesting toxic smoke and dust. I live less than three blocks from Ground
Zero and I have been exposed to toxic air and the toxic environment since
I developed chronic lung disease. I was on two steroidal inhalers for
almost two years before I began detoxification treatment. I had heart
palpitations. I hyperventilated. My condition was so bad that my friends
at the Brooklyn Tabernacle were praying for my life.
My mental state wasnít any better. My memory problems were so bad that I
thought I was getting Alzheimerís disease. I would arrive at work and go
into a panic attack because I couldnít remember if I turned the stove off.
This is no condition to be in if you work in a recovery room. You have to
be alert at all times. A patient can go into cardiac arrest in seconds,
and you need to be able to respond.
But I felt that I had a cloud over my mind. I wasnít able to think
clearly. This was hard to accept, because I had always been extremely
alert and competent.
I became afraid that I might harm a patient because I couldnít remember
things the way that I used to. My mind wasnít really registering what was
going on around me. I was afraid that I was going to miss something.
As a solution, I stopped taking complicated patients. I would only accept
patients with simple problems, and even then I would stand right by the
stretcher just to make sure I didnít miss anything.
I was not happy about this. I know my job, and I was used to managing
several patients at a time, keeping all the information I needed in my
mind and being certain that I was on top of things.
I also began refusing to be on call on my off hours. I didnít want to get
called in to work for an emergency case, because I wasnít sure I could
trust my perception.
This was all very troubling, as I was only 53 years old.
All of this changed after I completed the detoxification program. I am OK
The scary part is that I feel more alert and alive than I did before
At work, I confidently handle the most critical patients, two or three at
a time. I am no longer afraid I will miss something. My memory has
returned. I am no longer afraid.
My physical problems are gone as well. My husband is no longer afraid that
he is going to lose me. I can take deep breaths without lung spasms.
Before this program, I couldnít walk up the stairs without getting out of
breath. Today, I could beat you running down the street.
I hope that you can understand the magnitude of the gift that has been
given to me. I can again enjoy my work, my husband, my children, and my
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