Monday, August 28, 2017

First Week of Medical School, and Our Uninvited Guest.

Medical school is starting up, and I have my game face on. I've moved into my new apartment with the tots (1.5 and 3yrs), and mapped out every second of every day. Wake at 6 am, take the dog out, shower, pack lunches, wake kids, dress them, and head out the door by 7 am. I soon discovered this was a little ambitious. My kids are used to getting up at 8, 9, 10am. No problem, I have to learn to be flexible, and moldable, like I said I was in my medical school essays. I tweak the schedule to start at 530am, and the kids adjust. I have interviewed multiple babysitters for evening and weekend help and found an amazing woman who is the mother of a 3rd year medical student at my school, so I know she can't be crazy. I have her come nightly the week before orientation starts so the kids can get adjusted. They love her, I love her, she loves us. Having this help reassures me that I CAN do this. Then life happens, and my first day of orientation she falls and injures her back. I'm relieved she is OK, but she will be out for 6 weeks. No problem. I am this flexible, moldable metal right? I'm flexible damn it! AND I prepared. I have multiple back up sitters with one who can step in immediately. Then my internet doesn't work, no problem, I can complete my last minute assignment using my phone, it just takes twice as long. The treadmill at my apartments don't work. That's OK, I can walk around the block. The washing machines are out. No worries, flexible, moldable, calm, cool me has enough clothes for the week. I will just wash them at my parents house on the weekend. I'm trying to be this person who has it all together, and for the most part, I am playing the part. I replay "Just keep swimming" from Finding Nemo in my head as I try not to let the little things unravel me. I like order, I like control, I like plans, but I know these things will continue to happen and if I want to be successful I have to let them go.

But no amount planning could have prepared me for what was going to happen the weekend after orientation. A category 4 Hurricane (quite uninvitedly) hit our coast and caused devastation 200 miles south. Our first 2 days of classes were cancelled, then the whole week was cancelled, then after Harvey died down to a tropical storm, classes were resumed as our administrators assumed we were out of the waters. My kids 'daycare was still closed, so I slightly panicked as I tried to find childcare for the week.  There was no need to panic, I have lots of back ups. I'm still learning to stay cool. 

But the admin spoke too soon. The city that I have called home was drowned overnight in what is being called catastrophic, historic flooding. All of a sudden my plans didn't matter. I watched on Facebook live feeds as friends of mine were rescued from their houses that had become an island surrounded by water.  I watched a local news crew drive through the streets near my house, near my kids' old daycare, in a boat. I watched the roads I take regularly become rivers. Addresses of people who needed rescue kept popping up on my Next-door and Facebook feed. Businesses were lost. Homes were lost. Lives were lost.

I also saw a tremendous outpouring as locals responded to a call for help. People brought their boats to help with the rescue efforts. Impromptu shelters have popped up all over town. Donations are being brought. Neighbors are offering their homes to those who have lost. My neighbor across the street went out in a row boat, rescuing elderly a few blocks away who were trapped in flooded homes. Those of us who were safe helped coordinate boats to pick up those who were stranded. The Cajun Navy from Louisiana even showed up immediately. Many friends of mine, including my kids' dad, are on day 3 of 4, or 5 working in the hospitals, or as first responders. My old coworkers are evacuating the hospital where I learned to be a nurse. They are strong, and resilient. They are flexible and moldable. I could use a few lessons from them. 

It's still raining here, it's not over. Evacuations and rescues are still taking place. For now, I am safe at my mom's house, an hour away from Houston. The tots are enjoying their time with grandma and grandpa. My sister is stuck in her apartment, but stocked up on chips and water for a week. Our home in Houston didn't take in water, and my apartment in Galveston is fine. I have no idea what is going to happen next. I don't know when the rain will stop, when my classes will start, who will watch my kids, if they are going to try to shove 8 weeks of Gross Anatomy and Radiology down our throats in 7 weeks, or if they are going to take away our Christmas break to make up for it. It doesn't matter. It only matters that my city and surrounding areas stay safe, and soon we will come together to rebuild and restrengthen. I'll be getting a sledge hammer to help with rebuilding, and I'm sure I'll still be singing "Just keep swimming" when I start knocking down walls. It seems like an appropriate song. 

9 comments:

  1. Oh goodness!!! Sending you a big old hug! Life is insane and you got a wicked whirlwind of a few weeks :-( Thankful that you are with family and NOT in school right now. Don't even worry about that, let the administrators figure out how to re-work things. Sending support!!!

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  2. Sorry to hear about everything you've been through. I am a school nurse for Conroe ISD, and live in The Woodlands. We had to come to my parents' in Louisiana for the weekend, and have been stuck here since then, since the roads to get home are impassable. The good news is that I get extra time with my mom that I don't normally have, and my house is safe and dry.

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    1. How did things work out for you? Are you, your family and your house OK?

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  3. TXgal I had no idea you were so close. Hope your home and apartment stay safe. I finally found a link that works today to donate and my architect husband and his father are planning to go help rebuild this fall - they have done it before in past floods in Texas (his dad lives in Austin) and are looking forward to it. I agree with Mommabee glad you can take a break and breathe and process all this trauma. School will work itself out. Big hugs and prayers to you all from Arkansas.

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    1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! There is so much support coming in, and we are so grateful. That really is incredible of your husband and FIL

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  4. I am so glad you are safe TXgal. I had also just started medical school in Houston when Katrina happened, then Rita, then 4 years later we had Ike. It was frightening and surreal to see how quickly things could fall apart, even in a big urban area - and of course this is so much worse. I am heartbroken for Houston. I'm in Austin and am sending aid and hoping to find ways to help evacuees here. Hang in there!

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    1. Thank you for all your help! Looks like you went through it all, AND while you were in training. Definitely teaches one to be flexible, when you have no other choice.

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  5. Quick update- did some demo work this weekend. It's really humbling. I am amazed at the residence of some of these families. I was helping a women clean out her closet when she realized ALL her photos were on the bottom shelf. Her wedding album, honeymoon album. All you can do at that point is cry. Another home had nothing but antiques that were passed down from generation to generation, everything was 100-150 years old. You can imagine the emotion stress. There is also so much help. The streets are packed with cars of volunteers. Shelters are TURNING AWAY volunteers, because there are so many. Overtime we do demolitions work, random pizzas show up. Last week NGR had 3,000 volunteers show up, but only the capacity for 500. I go really go on about this.

    As for my school, Christmas break is still on. The next 7 weeks we will be covering ALL the Gross Anatomy and Radiology material. But it's hard to be upset about that when so many people have lost everything. I have arranged childcare pretty much everyday all day by daycare, their dad, babysitters, grandparents. I am grateful I have the help.

    A good way for out of towners to help is to find a local family to support, someone who lost everything. There are a TON of go-fund-me's going around. Thanks for everything everyone everywhere is doing to help!

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