Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more. Subscribe below to get email notices so you won't miss any great content.

Healing from Trauma: 9/11 and COVID-19, Fires, and Hurricanes

September 11, 2021



This was first published on September 11, 2020. When I reread it, I felt that it was time again, with updates to reflect what is current. However, so much more has happened that calls upon us all to renew our healing energy, drive, compassion, empathy, and gratitude.

It was 7 am when my father called me from Detroit. He said to turn on the TV.

What we saw was frightening. We did not know what we were seeing. A fire? Then the second plane hit. Slowly we came to see this was an attack.

When the towers collapsed, it was a terrifying view. But, this was not a movie. This was in real-time. This was the painful birth of a new era of fear, panic, racism, paranoia, and anger.

That is how it still feels today, during this coronavirus pandemic, with the end of the war in Afghanistan, with fires in the West, and hurricanes in the East.

There was enough blame to go around then, just like there is now. But, then and now, blame is useless. It offers no solution or relief.

On that day in 2001, we were ready to begin recording our first Guided Imagery program for what would become C.A.R.E. with Guided Imagery. Rosemary Johnson, RN at St. Charles Medical Center, was with us on 9/11/2001 to record Guided Imagery as our narrator. Rosemary lived in Bend, Oregon.

We looked at each other and in unison, decided that of all the days to do this, THIS was the day. We felt the call to be in service, to help heal and soothe what was happening and what was to come.

It is now 2021 and the pain of that moment remains like an old wound. However, the scar tissue that has formed is tough and unsightly. That is how it feels now. A feeling similar to the ongoing effects of COVID-19.

In the middle of the era of COVID-19, just as in 2001, the best and the worst of us have been fed by fear, loss, and distrust. We can now add to the trauma with COVID-19, fires, and hurricanes. And yes, our nation is more divided than ever.

Our first responders today are as brave and courageous as those who ran into the burning inferno. And, COVID-19 is deadlier. It takes longer to die. It has “burned” so much further than a building or a city block. Like 9/11, the pain spreads far and long. Today over 650,000 people have died from COVID. There are over 216 times more deaths caused by COVID-19 than on 9/11 and it continues to grow.

This is personal for me because more has happened in the last 20 years. However, I believe this is personal for everyone.

The question I ask myself is, “What am I doing today to contribute to the healing of our community and our country? What am I doing to feed the spirit of those who feel lost today?”

Our team at Healing HealthCare Systems remains fully engaged in this work of healing and of being authentically invested in those who need hope and respite from the fears that surround them.

If you or your facility needs additional assistance in providing a healing environment for your patients we are here to help. We are committed to providing help in the best way we can, through our programming. Please enjoy this small bit of respite from the grief and pain in the world.