Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Need to Be Prepared

I learned a few diabetes related lessons with everything that happened for Gustav. Brad and I had planned to go to Texas for Labor Day, but the decision to actually go was not easy. We had no idea what that huge hurricane in the Gulf was going to do, or where it was going to go. We risked being stranded on the interstate for hours, not being able to return home for work or who the heck knows what would have happened. So, the Saturday before Gustav hit, we reluctantly decided to head out.

I decided to bring all of my diabetes related supplies, just in case the electricity in our house went out. I didn't want all of my medical supplies to bake in the potential over 100 heat. So, we very quickly packed up our things and headed out the door. Thank goodness I included all of those supplies!!! We were stranded in Houston until Friday. There was no electricity anywhere in Baton Rouge and there was a 6pm - 6am curfew, so there was no need to rush home to be in the heat; although, we desperately wanted to see what happened to our house.

Finally we decided it was time to go. My family in Houma needed help cleaning up their mess once they were allowed back into the city on Friday, so we headed to the house to check things out. Other than no electricity and a stinking fridge, everything was fine. We then headed straight to Houma to help my parents.

We live in a house that is over 100 years old and surrounded by 19 huge majestic live oaks. The branches down were certainly a sight to see!! The house was fine, thankfully, but the yard was like a jungle! Houma took a direct hit from Gustav and so the city was basically deserted. Like I said, people were not even allowed in until Friday and then they were requested to do a "Look and Leave", although most people didn't heed that advice. Nothing was open in the city. Not one business. No gas stations, no pharmacy, no grocery stores, no hospitals, no medical clinics. The only place to get stuff was the FEMA dropoffs for water and ice.

My next lesson learned was to always keep something on you for a low. After cleaning up the yard a bit, we headed to check out my dad's office. Well that is when I started to feel low. A bit panicked, I tried to see if I had anything in my purse. Nope. I knew my dad had candy and goodies at his office, but I just hoped I could make it there. Of course we did, and it ended up being fine, but I couldn't help but think about what if I got too low before we arrived. NOTHING was open. There was no where to stop; there was no hospital to take me to. Nothing. I must admit I felt a little panicked at the thought, but realistically I knew we would make it to the office in time.

I am sure there were other lessons, but in the craziness of it all I was mainly just trying to keep my sanity and go with the flow. Oh, and I even celebrated my big 18 year D-Day during those few crazy weeks. 18 years. Wow. I really didn't think I'd still be here. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Home Sweet Houma and Baton Rouge

Hi all,

Well, it seems Gustav made a pretty big hit on Houma, where I grew up. Many of you likely saw the church I got married in one month shy of a year ago on the news, with the roof blowing off of the Activity Center and school. I am glad to say that according to a close family friend who drive by, my parents house looks ok. Just a lot of branches down, which is to be expected with 12 large, very old oak trees. It is a huge relief. My parents will not be able to leave my Uncle's house in Thibodaux until Friday, due to a strict curfew set for Terrebonne Parish. Houma seems to be badly wind blown and damaged, but the community there has always come together in the face of disaster and I know they will just pick themselves up and carry on with their lives. For Hurricane Rita, when a lot of the coastal areas flooded, no one heard or saw the destruction, but they didn't need to. Everyone came together, dealt with their loss, and moved on, closer and stronger than ever. It's how it's done in South Louisiana. We are so very thankful that the damage is not worse, as it could have easily been.

Baton Rouge also seems to be very badly damaged. My husband and I had planned to come to Houston for Labor Day weekend, and we reluctantly carried on with our plan. We are thankful that we did now. Who knows what damage was done to our home, but I am sure if anything it was minimal, not more than a broken window, if that. Electricity will likely be out for a few days, so we do not yet know when we will venture home, but we are aiming for later tonight. One nearby Parish said that they will be out of electricity for 4 - 6 weeks!! I just couldn't imagine!

It was so difficult to just watch and pray while I sat comfortably in front of the TV. Of course, you can't really even get the coverage that you want from this far away. It isn't like getting the hard facts from a local channel. The national stations seem to embelish and complain about things that didn't happen. They seem to be visibly upset when the worst didn't strike and excited as they were holding out hope that at any minute destruction would finally come to light. It was disturbing to say the least. Now I hear them complaining that the levees in New Orleans in fact didn't break..."but what would it have taken for them to have cracked??" Who cares. They didn't. It worked. Why are we trying to make a story out of what could have happened if Gustav was a little stronger? Why can't we just focus on the positive?? There is more to our state than New Orleans and what "could have been". Living here, we are all so thankful that things worked out. Governor Jindal did an amazing job and things went the way they should have, yet you will still likely hear a lot of complaints. It makes me so sad.

For once I want to see a story on the majority of people hit by any destructive Hurricane who join together and work hard, rebuild, and carry on instead of the few who are upset that the "government isn't there for them". But you don't hear from those folks because they don't feel the need to advertise their situation. They are strong and hard working, and don't have time to deal with the press. They have work to do.

I guess that is kind of how diabetes is. You can't just sit there and let what will happen happen, as your body deteriorates. You have to take action to help yourself be well. You have to work hard to check your blood sugar and take your insulin and count those carbs. You don't have time to say, oh poor me, look what I have been dealt. You just do it, move on, and become stronger. That's all you can do!