There was an earthquake in Minnesota this morning. It was pretty small – I don’t think it even registered on the Richter scale – in fact, I think it was localized just around our house. I was upstairs giving Jelly Bean her bath, despite her protestations that she is saving all that curdled milk in her neck folds for later, when two of her older brothers decided to start World War III over a solitary piece of K’nex (sadly, I suppose wars have been started over lesser things). There was a huge bang, the house shook and immediately I decided we were having an earthquake, never mind that Minnesota is the least earthquake prone place on the planet. What, don’t you all immediately assume a natural disaster is occurring when anything is amiss? No??
For a brief second, my mind raced trying to decide which child I would save first and if I would be able to find my cellphone in the rubble. Of course it wasn’t an earthquake, just my spawn. (In relating the incident later to my husband I said, “I think they’re evil.” To which he replied, “No dear, just malevolent.”) And then I paused and wondered if there was a mother in Haiti bathing her newborn when their earthquake hit. Five minutes prior I had been blissfully admiring my baby’s dimpled bum and writing today’s post in my head. (Have you seen what OK magazine did to Kourtney Kardashian?! They stuck her on the cover holding her brand-new son with the title “My diet secrets: lose 10 pounds in 10 days!” On wee problem: They photoshopped her head onto someone else’s skinny body and claimed she’d lost all her baby weight. For the love of new moms everywhere Kourtney set the record straight on Twitter both showing what she really looks like now – glowing and beautiful but not flat-tummied – and saying she has not lost all her weight yet. This is what we’ve come to: celeb rags now making up stories out of whole cloth! Who does this story make feel good? Not the readers who all immediately feel bad about not losing 10 pounds in 10 days regardless of the occupancy status of their womb. Certainly not Kourtney. Oh yes, it would be the people getting rich off of our insecurities. There, now you got the abbreviated version!)
And then suddenly I was hugging a soaking Jelly Bean to my chest and saying a prayer for every mother in Haiti.
That feeling was still fresh in my heart when I got an e-mail from a longtime reader turned dear friend, Dr. Jon. You may remember him as the doctor who personally vetted Dara Torres during the Olympic doping scandals. Or perhaps as the only person I’ve ever known to eat fugu, the fish that has a one in one thousand chance of killing you. When he’s not writing eloquent letters that I then selfishly purloin for use in my posts, he’s volunteering as a doctor doing humanitarian aid work. He has saved lives in almost every hotspot around the globe so even though he was supposed to be on vacation, when I first heard of the Haitian earthquake I had a feeling he’d find his way there. Sure enough, yesterday this arrived in my inbox:
[…] When you are amputating a leg, deep in the rubble of a collapsed building, having crawled and wormed your way in, dragging your medical kit with you, and an aftershock comes, you can’t help but duck in case the pile collapses – pretty pointless, but a normal reaction, I’m told – and traps you along with the casualty . It gnaws at you and saps energy and strength in a very different way to working in war zones, but the patient comes first and that’s just how it is . I’ll admit I’m very, very tired, but the job HAS to be done and we have the skill set to do it .
Kourtney Kardashian’s head on another woman’s body takes on a whole new meaning in this light doesn’t it? I have no words. God bless you in your mission Dr. Jon. Stay safe out there, ok? And write me when you get home.
For those of us who aren’t doctors, MSNBC has compiled a list of ways to help the earthquake victims and those providing on-the-ground support. And surprisingly donating money probably isn’t the best way to help at this time.
May all of you hold your loved ones a little tighter! Or at the very least, hold your celebrities a little farther away.