Saturday morning of participating in the Teaching Trauma workshop turned into my own personal trauma. Those who know me will understand how close the world came to an end.
When I arrived at San Francisco State University this morning I discovered that in a brain-freeze moment I forgot to pack my laptop computer in my laptop bag. Instead, I left it sitting on a desk in the hotel room in downtown San Francisco; the same hotel room I had officially checked out of an hour earlier. HORROR!!
Most of you know that computer is practically surgically attached to me. YOU might make a mistake like that, not me. My wallet, yes. My suitcase, yes. A family member, well maybe. But not my computer!
Trauma set in. There was sinking feeling in my stomach as I instantly envisioned that it was lost forever. I frantically called the hotel, which rushed someone up to my as yet unserviced room. And it was still there. Whew!
Then I had to decided whether to head back to the hotel immediately to get it or, perchance, to actually sit through the workshop until mid-afternoon and then drive back in before heading to the airport. How would I blog? How would I be able to even pay attention? I chose to wait, but it was a close call.
Papa and baby have been reunited, only a little worse for the wear. But I can’t help but put what happened to me into context of some of what we learned about covering trauma this weekend. What happened to me was Act One of trauma (see Part One). Reporting on the trauma and taking care of my own reporter’s trauma is Act Two. Yet to come is Act Three, the long-term impact of the trauma. Will I be able to leave town again? What happens the next time I let the computer out of site? How many times will I pull aside on the way to work and double check my computer bag? And what happens to my psyche when I (gasp) ever stay at another hotel?