My First Hurricane

September 14, 2008

When I was younger and I first learned that my mom had lived through a hurricane, I was in awe. I couldn’t believe she had survived. I think that in my mind, hurricanes were more like massive tornados.

Nowadays, we have hurricanes in the gulf like every other week. If one comes our way, to most people my age it is an excuse to get off work and have a hurricane party. Unfortunately, if you work in a hospital that is not the case.

I’m a member of the “ride-out” team on my unit, which meant that when I went to work on Friday, I packed a suitcase and wasn’t allowed to leave. I was told that I had to work a 12-hour shift, which I am not used to. Ordinarily, around 3:30 p.m. I would have been leaving the hospital for a weekend’s break (considering I worked last weekend and have to work next weekend). Around 4:30 p.m., still working, I said offhand, “Whew. Now I remember why I don’t work 12-hour shifts.” The 60-something year-old nurse walking by then asked me, “And how old are you? Honey, suck it up. I’m at least 30 years older than you!” Another lady walking by said, “They just don’t make ’em like they used to.” When I mentioned this exchange to David, he said, “Did you tell them, ‘You don’t understand, I get tired a lot?'” I think he was making fun of me too. Whatever.

I made it through my shift, then went down to the cafeteria to eat with some of my fellow nurses (including the 60-something year-old nurse who I’m really quite fond of and calls herself the grandma). It was during this meal that I was enlightened to a whole lot of unit gossip and history that I was unaware of. Stuff that I will NEVER share with the internet, no matter how interesting it is.

I was pretty much beat after dinner, so I headed to bed. I was lucky that I actually had a bed to sleep in. I shared an unoccupied hospital room with another nurse from my unit:

We just got new mattresses on the beds, too. I had felt them with my hand and they felt pretty nice, but let me tell you that sleeping on them was a different story.

There were exactly two positive things about sleeping at the hospital: 1) I got paid for the entire time I was there, and 2) the commute was significantly easier than usual. In the morning I took a measly shower, threw my hair up in a wet bun, and walked down the hall to begin what I thought would be another long shift.

I was starting to go crazy being trapped in that place, and I really didn’t want to stay another night there. Thankfully, someone from the recovery team was able to make it in. I gave everyone my biggest puppy dog eyes and made noises about how this was already my 5th day to work, and I’m getting married in three weeks and have a lot of work to do, blah blah blah, and they let me go home! Of course, the precondition to that was that I promised to come back for my regular shift on Monday.

Main Street, right outside the medical center, on my drive home:

I drove straight to David’s house, where his whole family and some friends were gathered because his was the only house in the area with power. I collapsed on the couch. After dinner, back on the couch, I was falling asleep and David made me decided I should go home before dark. At home, I went straight to my bed around 8:30 p.m., and slept hard for about 11 hours. I feel so much better today.

Apparently it stormed pretty bad last night. I thought the worst was over, but this morning our streets were flooded and we discovered more leaks in our roof. We took a walk after things started to get better.

The view from our front yard, after the water began to recede:

Cleo and I on our rain walk:

So I’m just hanging out today, wondering if I’ll even be able to make it to work in the morning. I’m hoping not, due to the flooding and the curfew, but I’m not getting my hopes up. My thoughts on the whole ordeal? Hurricanes are not fun, and I hope this is our last one for a long time.

Posted in: personal

Comments on My First Hurricane

  1. 1

    From Katy:

    Hope you are OK friend!

  2. 2

    From Princess Pointful:

    Oi. Sounds exhausting.
    And I hate it when people complain about how they are so much more stressed/tired than you… as if that makes your fatigue less!

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