If your browser doesn't automatically take you to The Cody Blog within a few seconds, please click here.
The Cody Blog: Worried About My Lungs

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Worried About My Lungs

At some point, soon after 9/11, I fought through all the barricades, police check points and other obstacles to get down to my apartment building in Battery Park City near ground zero. I rode my bike down and had to show my driver's license, sometimes two bills with my name and address on them and mainly use the force ("these are not the droids you want"...er, "I am approved to be on my way to my apartment down there at ground zero") to get "home".

The lobby of my apartment building was full of cots and dozens of heroic firefighters were sleeping there. I hiked up to the 23rd floor where my apartment was and got my two guitars, my computer and a few clothes and headed back down.

Storming right past the barricades and firefighters smoking cigarrettes outside my building, I went out the back straight into ground zero where my car had been parked and where I'd been about to move it when the second plane had hit and dropped debris all over. I found my car and while cars on either side of it were pretty much done for, I could make out the design of my car under the mound of drying, caking sludge. I scooped it out with both hands and I got the door open. I threw my gear in and, to my pleasant surprise, the car started on first turn.

I drove my car out of the area and on up to the upper west side where my friend, Greta, was working at a home-office where I could base myself for the afternoon. As hard as it was getting down to ground zero, you should have seen the shocked looks as the firefighters and police and soldiers along the way out would open their gates for this sludge-covered Nissan Maxima coming out from the stench and steaming hole of ground zero. I cried as I drove and nobody stopped me.

I think it's a healthy thing that I've started therapy to deal with some of this -- and especially about some of the individual horrors I saw on the day itself. The whole of it obviously weighs heavily on me still.

On top of it, I think I'm going to have to go to the doctor to have my lungs checked out. I've never really been much of a believer in "asthma" because as the hard core athlete I was growing up I'd always figure any time I'd be short of breath it was an indication that I mainly just needed to get in better shape. And it took a lot for me to get out of breath as I was obsessive in my workouts. I figure many kids use the "asthma" thing as a crutch for not pushing it harder.

At any rate, my lungs bug me a little bit sometimes lately. Maybe it's just a symptom of geting older, maybe it's just that I don't work out like that anymore. But all these press reports this week about lung problems in 9/11 workers have me thinking that maybe I need to have it checked out.

P.S. I'm not sure what it means but I find it interesting as an aside that both times I've written about my apartment and 9/11 we have used a picture from the cover of the Economist.


Blogger Hector & Barrie said...

You should check yourself. I think that you are still affected by that day, and it could be that your mind is telling your body to exhibit some sort of dysfunction. Maybe deep inside your sub-concious after witnessing all that horror and pain youre asking yourself,"How come I'm not affected" "Thousads of people were, why not me"?

9/06/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark C said...

No matter how smart you are, there is nothing like an objective third party (especially a professional) to get you on the right track, i.e., to choose joy in your life. You don't seem to have a self-destructive bent, so what specifically are you doing in your life that is not constructive? As long as you are taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and professionally, then all else follows. Think of the people who lived and died that day as life's game of chance. Fortune chose you to live, and now you can savor what life gives you even more. The people who died that day gave you a gift, so use that gift to full advantage. And get the book A Guide To Rational Living by Albert Ellis; it will change your life. Regards, Mark C.

9/06/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous tree said...

I am so glad the mainstream press is finally covering the groud zero air quality and how it affected the workers. I wrote an article for Chronogram - a Hudson Valley magazine - in 2004 on this very subject. Here's the link, if anyone is interested:


9/07/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Althea said...

I hear ya. After working in the World financial Center for almost three years after the Sept. 11 attacks and breathing in asbestos that was still lingering in my office building's air ducts, my breathing problems have been worse than ever before.

I have asthma and have actually stopped breathing because of it before. You're right, it's no excuse for not pushing yourself, but it is real. It's not my excuse though. I still got my black belt!

9/08/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Althea said...

oh, meant to say I know a good pulmonologist if you need one!

9/08/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your experience is holistic; body, mind and spirit. Toxicity is not only in the lungs but in all the tissues and organs, not to mention the emotional toxicity of that day, affecting the body as well. Once you take the first step to detox and I am sure there are many places to go in New York, you will feel better about yourself knowing you are doing something for your body and ultimately your mind. Lay off the beef and booze. Get a Breville Juicer (Williams Sonoma) and juice organic a few times a day and drink lots of oxygentated water. Fresh juice enzymes cleanse the body and will give you energy. This is a start. Replace negative images like Hiroshima with thoughts of beauty. It does exist on this planet too. And for heaven's sake fall in love and not with a Judge Judy type. Get real. Get going.

9/08/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Reid Peterson said...

"I've never really been much of a believer in "asthma" because as the hard core athlete I was growing up I'd always figure any time I'd be short of breath it was an indication that I mainly just needed to get in better shape.... I figure many kids use the "asthma" thing as a crutch for not pushing it harder."

When I was in my twenties, two friends of mine - one my best friend from boyhood, the other a girl I had a crush on - both died from massive asthma attacks. Now, both of them could have managed the disease better and they might still be here if they had. But that doesn't change the fact that asthma is a very real disease, not an ailment made up by lazy kids.

All the same, I do hope you are getting it checked out and I wish you a speedy recovery.

reidptrsn -at- yahoo -dot- com

10/03/2006 01:05:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home