Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

Everyone remembers September 11, 2001 when 2,974 people were killed and many more people affected when terrorist attacked the world trade center. It was surreal and chilling to watch on TV, and even more chilling to think we were supposed to be there on that date. Yes, in fact we had an 8:30 am appointment scheduled on September 11th in the 1st building. This is a story that Dan wrote following this event:

Dear Family and Friends:

I want to take just a moment to thank everyone for their prayers and best wishes during my recent abdominal surgery and hasty recovery. I must admit I have no patience - with 24 hours in a hospital environment being my new record for length of stay.

It all started a few Sundays ago when I tried to keep pace at our dinner table with our good missionaries, both men being large in stature, appetite and spiritual presence. My good wife had spread before us all her classic “meat & potato” extravaganza that is notoriously been known to cause unfettered gluttony.

Upon delivering the well-stuffed Elders back to carry out their appointed rounds, it was time to make our own home teaching visits. My partner (my son Curtis) decided that he would drive, and we would take the jeep - since it was a nice day, and we were going to the Boren’s and he liked to hit the washboards on the winding dirt road in a vehicle with no shock absorption. Upon reaching our destination and commencing with our discussion I was struck with a prompting to stand. As is my foolish habit, I ignored it and continued with the discussion. Within minutes, my continued sitting was no longer an option as the muscles in my abdomen and back began cramping severely. To the shock of everyone, I excused myself in mid-sentence and headed for the door. I walked the dozen paces to the jeep and realized that I was in very serious trouble as I could not get my breath. I staggered past the jeep and headed down the road. My son jumped in the jeep and caught up to me. I managed to get in and instructed Curtis to drive directly to the hospital.

I will never forget that ride. With the bone-jarring of every rut I felt myself nearly lose consciousnesses for want of breath. I was thankful my good Eagle Scout kept his cool. He delivered me within minutes to the hospital where the doctors commenced to diagnose the problem. Since my only ability to breathe was to pace the floor, they were unable to get a critical blood sample and x-ray. After about 45 minutes of pacing in complete agony a couple of very brave nurses decided to bulldog me. After an injection of an appropriate level of morphine they were able to get their tests completed. A follow-up appointment was made for more tests involving all the latest in medical technology, including the swallowing of a garden hose tipped with a camera.

I was very anxious to find out what type of condition I was harboring. The ultrasound confirmed that I was the proud owner of a gall bladder grenade. Good news – fairly routine fix. Bad news - I was grounded. No airline travel; no fatty foods; no surgeon to take my case; and a probable surgery date too far away. I could not even attend my beloved grandmother’s funeral who had requested that I dedicate her grave. In addition, it would mean a re-scheduling of an important business trip to New York, New Jersey, and a personal visit with friends in Martha’s Vineyard, the week of September 10. My partner and I were going to be having meetings in the World Trade Center with our investment bankers, our largest customer and a key reinsurance broker. I was also looking forward to spending some time attempting to rest and relax at Martha’s Vineyard with my wife and our friends.

After some extraordinary finagling, I was able to round up a surgeon that reluctantly agreed to a late evening operation on Thursday the 6th of September. After receiving a very strong priesthood blessing voiced by my good friend and Bishop, I delivered up my gall bladder; and I thought “as long as the doctor was in there”, I had him throw a knot on my stomach to prevent my chronic acid reflux. All went well, and I arrived home from the hospital 24 hours later.

I had just awakened the following Tuesday morning and was commenting to my wife about how the six “bullet holes” leftover in my abdomen were nothing compared to the nausea effects of general anesthesia, and she was admonishing me to be careful setting up my laptop on the bed, when I got a phone call from a hysterical business partner, screaming “turn on the TV”. I was stunned. A commercial aircraft had just plowed into the World Trade Center tower. I immediately thought, “Which tower were our business associates in?” Moments later, the surreal, but horrifying sight of the second aircraft bearing down on tower two. Unbelievable! Then the unthinkable occurred – an accordion collapse of both towers - filled with thousands of innocents and brave rescuers. I struggled to my feet, and over my wife’s adamant objections and medical advice, I got dressed. I had to. Since I could not go to New York, our investment banker had flown to Boise. I knew he would be devastated because his 140 co-workers occupied the 110th floor of tower two. In the aftermath, the overall toll of devastation is still incalculable. What is known is that the three firms I was to visit that day suffered nearly total annihilation. The aircraft that hit tower two hit one of our agent’s offices directly with 700 souls taken.

The merciful hand of the Lord had intervened. Because of my trivial travails, I was spared certain death, along with my good wife, my partner and his good wife, and two other young fathers, one who flew to Boise instead of New York, and the other who stayed in Seattle. In retrospect, I find my mind wandering to the recollection of the Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” where a good man is granted an opportunity to see “what might have been” in order to restore and preserve his faith. I will never forget, nor will I ever fully express my gratitude, for such Divine Intervention that has extended my time in this life. As a survivor, I shall wonder what it is that God has in store for me; I pray that I never let him down. By the way - I plan to travel to the Tetons to dedicate that special grave soon.

May God continue to bless us all. Daniel W. Crandall, Oct. 2001

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