Saturday, September 03, 2005

When you just have to do something...

I did something... it was nothing compared to what has been done or what will be done...but if everyone does just something...all those somethings will add up and mean something to someone....

Last Sunday night I turned the TV on and saw the massive storm on the TV. My heart just sank. I knew how horrible it was going to be. I just started praying for these poor people.
And it was... it was horrible. And it just kept getting worse...
I like may people were moved to help... not just "Oh I should really do something to help..." or "I was planning to give a donation, but I never really got around to doing it".
These people were flooding into my city, seeking refuge and having nothing. I started to pray. Please God... help me help you. Tell me where you need me and I promise I will do anything to help.
Then it came together. We own a home care agency that specializes in wounds and ostomies. We help people who are not sick enough to be in the hospital, but if they do not get assistance, they will be in the hospital. Ostomy supplies are not urgent supplies except for those people who need them. So I start asking our nurses, would they be willing to help if I couls get something organized. Everyone I spoke to said yes. I call vendors and other local nurses who specialize in this field... and again, a positive result all around.
Okay God.. I got the idea... I have the supplies... how do I get it to those who need it? I start calling...and calling and calling... busy signals.. "no, I am not sure what you should do, try calling (this) number.." and again, busy signals.
Doubt...maybe I was wrong...
"Rebecca, Jerri from Texas Healthspring on line 2...."
"Rebecca... I need a favor... Dr. Underwood our VP is down at the Astrodome working. She called because they have no ostomy supplies whatsoever... is there anyway you guys could help them out?"
My heart flew through the roof... with tears in my eyes I took all the information on how to get into the Dome and where to go. My mother spent the afternoon packing up all the supplies in a way that would make them easier to find and use. I load the car up with at least 10 large boxes of medical supplies.
One last prayer... how do I get there... they have made it very clear that they do not want anyone coming down to help and it is very difficult to get inside. It is also very dangerous. People have been raped, mugged and had their cars stolen. I call "my second family" to see if TJ is available to come with me for protection/assistance. Dad answers the phone and says..."No... I'll go with you" Not to give to much away (for his privacy)... but let's just say he has a badge and can carry a gun. I pick him up and we are off.
I am so nervous. My body is shaking, my stomache is turning... I'm scared...I'm excited... I don't want to get this far just to be turned away. I call one of our nurses who has made it inside the Dome and is walking up and down aisles looking for people who need what I am bringing. I call the Doc who called us and said, "Give me the buzz words to get me in..."
We get to the Dome and before we even enter the parking lot there are hundreds of people just walking around, standing around, holding signs with family names on them. Every entrance is closed with lots of police and flashing lights. I start to get frustrated.
Once again, God made sure I had the right help in the car with me. All of a sudden, Dad pulls out his badge and places it on the dashboard in clear view of the officers. The officers wave us over. I give him the buzz words and magically...we are in.
I walk through the Arena (a smaller venue which has opened since the Dome is full). I just want to weep. There are cots after cots after cots full of people. They are exhausted, they are dirty with sweat and mud. It smells of urine and feces. There was a group of small children playing tag and I just wanted to grab them in my arms, take them home, soak them in a hot bubble bath and put them to bed.
I walk through the triage area where people are trying their best to get people treated as soon as possible, whether it is a small scrape or a wheelchair bound person who probably has developed massive wound because they have been sitting for days. I find where I am suppose to deliver the supplies and we unload them.
I call our nurse who is at the Dome to tell her the supplies are here and what we brought. It is hard to hear her, so I tell her I am going to write it up and come to her.
We drive over to the Dome and I go into the Medical triage area there. It is located down a very large ramp that is usually used for massive trucks bringing stuff in and out of the Dome. I walk down this very long and very steep ramp and my view is the enitre field as if I were standing behind the goal posts. Thousands and thousands of people lying on cots. People up in the stands sitting. People laying on mounds which hold their last few possessions they have clutched on to through evacuation, flood, and a long ride to a city that is not their home. People with signs, again walking in circles and up and down the aisles looking for their familes. Faces sunken in from mental & physical exhaustion, hunger & dehydration. There are just no words.
I went home to my air conditioned home and held my children, and kissed my husband and my mother. I spent all day today going through my closets. I urge you to go through yours.
The political and celebrity bandstanding is just words... go ahead... blow off steam... because it doesn't mean a damn thing to the 90 year old women lying on her cot or the 2 month old baby who just got her 1st bottle in several days.

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