Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008: Ike Visited Us

Sunday was very interesting. I was gearing up to get ready to leave for work. The wind was kicking. Shingles from the old house were landing on the lawn of the new house. If I wanted to, I could most likely extrapolate some deep meaning for that, but anyhow…I had to go, and John was worried about me in a little car for that drive. I left way early to account for downed trees and more.
Good thing. Even with the extra 45 minutes I allowed myself for the trip, I still ended up being 45 minutes late. On I-275, going over the Ohio River, a semi was blown over! The entire interstate was shut down and my little car did not move for 90 minutes. I am not exaggerating about terrible, creep-along traffic. I mean, I literally turned the car off and got out and was standing along the side of the road mingling with the other poor souls stuck there with me. The huge Indiana sign was blown off of the bridge. The enormous Lawrenceburg exit sign was down. It was terrible. And I kept thinking , “Please don’t let me have the ER when I get to work!”
When I got to work, I was assigned to the ER. Bad. Very, very bad. At a time when over 700,000 households are without power in the Greater Cincinnati Area, it is not a fun time to be a Respiratory Therapist in a busy metropolitan ER.
Every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Sue who is on either a home nebulizer, home O2 concentrator, CPAP, and even home ventilator , or a combination of any of the above, was in that ER. My phone rang constantly. Within 15 minutes, I had 3 patients arrive being bagged, and I ran all over retrieving vents, intervening, and trying to manage the most critical patients. Most of these patients were admitted, and I had to set in motion their respiratory orders per our protocols, and somehow get report to the therapist assigned to the floor to which they were going. It did not stop. Finally, around 7:30 the next morning, someone came to get me when I did not show up at 6:30 to give report to the next therapist coming on.
On the way home, it was awful. Cars were alongside the interstate, out of fuel, because all of the gas stations were closed due to the power outages. Despite the order to stay off the streets unless there was an extreme emergency, it seemed like every fool was out to see the damage. I sat in gridlock waiting to get onto the interstate to take me home, praying for traffic to clear because I only had enough gas in the car for the return trip home and had no manner with which to get more. It was sheer insanity, and I was left feeling grateful that we did not move closer to home like I had intended originally. Our power was never disrupted, and the greatest inconvenience here at home was the straw that blew all over the place from our fledgling lawn,

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