I feel an overwhelming amount of gratitude today. I’m home with my family this weekend after a busy week, and 7 shifts in a row.
Doug is amazing. He spent much of last week making preparations for Hurricane Irma’s arrival, and what we thought could be catastrophe in the harbor. Although I’ve been in Florida my whole life, and heard threats made by previous hurricanes, we’ve escaped disaster so many times. We escaped Irma’s wrath as well, with only lots of yard debris, no power since Sunday, and roads closed due to fallen oaks. We’re alive, and our house still stands, so I’m thankful.
Doug had a plan A,B, and C in place, and made sure to anchor all yard objects down, that could become potential missiles. He bought us food and loads of fluids. He prepared a tube to float in, with life vests in tow, in case of major flooding. He packed the car with supplies in case we’d have to leave in a hurry. He had crates ready for the cats and Ziggy, in case we had to depart. When we found out on Saturday morning that our house was in an evacuation zone, he moved us into our neighbors house. The neighbors behind us, Cindy and Larry, have been out of town for the birth of their newest granddaughter, and we have the keys to their house. They so graciously allowed us to stay in their home, because they are in a non evacuation zone, and have a generator. Thanks Cindy and Larry!
Doug had every detail planned out, and I’m forever grateful to him for that!
When I drove into town Saturday night from work, Main Street was dark, businesses were closed, and no one was out walking about as they usually do on a Saturday night…it was odd and little eerie. I was sad because I knew that when I went into work the next day I may have to stay. When I walked into the house Doug had a glass of wine waiting for me, jazz music playing, and he had prepared a lovely beef stroganoff for dinner. Candles were lit, and the girls and Ziggy met me at the door with hugs and kisses. Sophie gave me a huge hug, and then looked into my eyes and said, “I don’t want you to go tomorrow mom.” Doug sent me to our room to pack my bags, in preparation for spending the night at the hospital the next night. Irma was scheduled to arrive the next day, and we both knew that if the hurricane winds were too strong, I’d be mandated to stay.
As I packed, I sipped my wine and I cried. I didn’t want to be away from my family during a time in which our area would see one of the biggest hurricanes in a long time.
We pretended it was any normal Saturday night, and enjoyed time together and a lovely meal, then Doug sent me to bed.
As we had assumed, the hurricane came Sunday early evening and after my shift, I was stuck at the hospital for the night. My fellow co-workers and I made our way to dinner at Mease Cafe at 8 pm- post shift, and then snuck outside to catch a bit of the wind. We made our way through the hospital like high schoolers during a lock in/ all nighter. Being with great friends helped, but I felt worried, and slept very little as I heard Irma howl, and I wondered if my family was safe.
Earlier that day I received this beautiful text from Doug, which sent me into instant tears:
Update. We have moved completely to Cindy and Larry’s house. After much thought I have decided that this is our homebase. I am ready for the power outage.. plenty of food, plenty of water, we have one room with AC when the power goes out. If I see the water rising above Bayshore we will evacuate and go to the studio. My car is already loaded with water, food and the ability to cook. We will not have power or air conditioning at the studio but the only reason we would go there is to be safe from an amazing amount of water, that I just don’t think will happen. I miss you horribly, you are my everything. Please give every last bit of love you have to the patients who need it most since you can’t be with us to give us your love. Because of you I have a new respect for those in healthcare emergency and first responders. You guys work when everyone else cowers… you are the heroes. OK I’m sure by now you’re crying and I apologize. I just want you to know how much I love you and how proud I am of you. If possible starting at 2 o’clock today, can you please text me at the top of every hour with a simple heart to let me know you’re OK and I will do the same.
The girls playing on Larry and Cindy’s porch pre-storm.
I made it through the night and was able to catch 4 hours of solid sleep.
Monday arrived, and after I received a text that Doug and girls were safe, I went to work and waited for my relief to arrive, as this was not my regularly scheduled day to work. The ER filled up quickly, with cardiac arrests, a stroke alert, fractures from falls, a respiratory failure, and much more. By 1300 my relief had arrived, and when I left the hospital, I encountered the mess Irma left behind. Oaks had fallen, power was out in many places, debris was scattered on the roadways, and street lights were out. When I finally arrived home at 1400, Doug sent me to bed for a nap. The generator at Larry and Cindy’s cooled one room, and kept the fridge on, so I slept wonderfully while Doug worked hard outside cleaning up tree limbs and debris.
We grilled and enjoyed wine later that night, and rested.
On Tuesday were up early again, and spent the morning cleaning the yards. Around 11 am, I received a call from the hospital asking if I’d come in and help. The ED had become inundated with patients, and so I was off.
I’ve never experienced such craziness as I experienced Tuesday in the ED, one day post Irma. Every patient room was filled, and overflow areas of the hospital were filled too. The halls of the ED were packed with patients in stretchers or in wheelchairs. Nurses, medics, docs, social workers, administration and tech’s ran around attending to the many people who flooded the ED. It was hot because the air was down, and the hospital was operating on generators. During this time, scrub tops weren’t mandatory and many of us assisted the patient’s in t-shirts.
There were many sick people, and there were many people who didn’t need to be in the ED too, but we all worked hard and when I made it home that night, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. The thoughts of the day and the burden to make sure all that made a visit to the ED got the proper care, weighed heavy on me. There were so many opportunities to miss something with the loads of patient and the lack of resources, but we did the best we could do. I slept very little that night, and longed to be back home and back in our normal routine.
My regularly scheduled shift the next two days…on Wed. and Thurs, was not as bad, but still so heavy. I was in charge of the critical care rooms on both days, and on Thursday I had to step away a few times to keep myself from crying. It was a lot, but I love what I do, and I’m grateful to be apart of a team of people that has the honor to care for those in need during times like these.
And, once again…. I came home to an abundance of love, hugs, support, food and wine from Doug and the girls. Seven shifts in a row was too much.
We got power bak Friday night, and moved all of our stuff back home, from Larry and Cindy’s place.
The past few days have consisted of massive yard and home clean up, and we are feeling a little more normal. Doug surprised me yesterday afternoon with a couples manicure and pedicure at our favorite place downtown. It was a lovely getaway together from the stress of a busy and messy week.
Thanks to everyone for your texts, phone calls, love, prayers, and support during this time.
Thanks to the many medics, EMTs, firefighters, nurses, physicians, police officers, power crews, volunteers, and healthcare workers for your dedication and hard work the past few weeks. The endless amounts of work does not go unappreciated.
Thanks to the love of my life for all your support, for making sure our family was safe, for the wonderful meals all week, and for understanding while I was away at work. You’re my rock and you’re amazing. xoxo
Last week at this time we were stressed and didn’t know what to expect, but today we’re thankful!