Just when I thought I was reaching the end of the PTSD tunnel, something happens to show me I still have a long way to go.
The WTC Victim’s Compensation Fund called. I had applied several years ago when trying to manage debt incurred from losing my job to bronchitis in 2002. The bronchitis was a direct result of breathing the dust from the smoldering towers. It blew directly into my building and the entire neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.
My building sits on higher ground. It’s 15 floors and I’m on the 12th. Even though my windows face away from Ground Zero, the dust still came in. The surrounding atmosphere was engulfed with it, especially higher up.
Sarah left a message saying to call back. I don’t remember if the VCF had called before. I had received correspondence about my application in addition to email, but I could not get myself to continue collecting paperwork. It was too hard.
Sarah spoke in a matter-of-fact way, but understanding. I had burst into tears.
Even now, it’s hard to write about why I cried on this phone call, except that it’s painful to remember the aftermath.
I feel dissociated and tense. All I want to do right now is jump on my motorcycle and ride far away. But it’s work hours. I have a conference call in 20 minutes.
I sense my short-term memory failing. It did during the call while trying to put down information in a Word document that I need to fax the VCF.
One thing about the phone call that bothers me, though not enough this moment for me to actually do something about it, is that Sarah informed me that PTSD was not a condition that the compensation fund covered. That’s how Congress put it into law. I guess that was a long time ago. This needs to change.