Thursday, November 30, 2006

First Storm of the Winter....

The day started out so innocently...
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It was a little gray, cloudy, but nothing out of the ordinary. But I should have remembered--that just when you think you know Texan weather, you find out that you don't know jack.
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It started sprinkling around mid-morning. I thought "no big deal" to myself and continued on my way. But then it all went to hell in a handbasket soon after. When the rain had first started I didn't really worry about it because I have four-wheel-drive and the Jeep is sturdy enough to handle the Apocalypse. I will confess that I'm waaaay too arrogant when it comes to road conditions, which is really quite foolish of me because of an incident which occurred last year--
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There had been an ice storm in the night and the early-morning roads were treacherous, covered in invisible patches of "black ice". My Road Nurse Company had scheduled all of us very tightly and had made it crystal clear that they would "frown upon" any Road Nurse who refused to drive due to the weather conditions. I lived near another die-hard Road Nurse buddy of mine and both of us had assured our company that "nothing" would keep us off the road. But then....both of us, each at different times during the same day, hit the exact same iced-over overpass... and had launched into out-of-control spin-outs in our vehicles. Fortunately for our foolish selves, the Good Lord was looking after us. Because in both of our separate events, our vehicles spun into a complete 380, spiraling crazily forward and then sideways, then hurtling completely off the Interstate, miraculously avoiding collisions with other vehicles, then subsequently plunging down the steep roadside embankment--- finally slowing and then coming to a rest in a ditch---unbelievably with both vehicles and drivers intact and unharmed. Even though we later laughed about the whole thing when our boss called us "Stunt Nurses", we were both nonetheless shaken by the experience.
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(And although they're faint, you can still see the skid-marks on that spot of the Interstate....)
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Anyway, by the time I arrived at the first ranch this morning the rain had saturated everything. To my misfortune, I slipped into a deep mud-patch after getting out of the Jeep. I got so much mud on my shoes that my patient's wife made me take them off before entering the house.
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On my way to the next ranch the rain turned to sleet---and then to snow. And sure enough, the overpasses started to freeze over. Still raw from my spin-out experience last year, I knew when to admit defeat. So I turned around and drove carefully back to my office. By the time I arrived, the Jeep was covered in a mixture of snow and sleet.
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As the weather deteriorated, I hunkered down with Lu-Lu and the office secretary to wait out the afternoon in our warm office, staring at the computer screen for periodic updates on the weather radar. We found out that Podunk is square in the path of an arctic front which is in the process of crippling roads and airports all over the midwest and southern plains. It has progressed quickly and has already caused snowstorms.
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During the afternoon, I got a text-message from my sister which read: "It's sleeting here in Dallas."
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Around 2pm, Jane-Anne finally made it back to the office in one piece. But one of our other LVN's called to say that she was stuck out in farm country to the south, too afraid of the road conditions to continue onwards. We advised her not to return to the office--and told her instead to simply drive home since she was fairly close to her own town. Then we called our two other branch offices to make sure that the rest of our company's Road Nurses got themselves safely off the road.
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But I am worried SICK about Belinda. Because Belinda and two other girls had set off early this morning on a four-hour drive to another state---a state which currently has a blizzard warning in effect. The reason they had to make the trip was to attend a "New Employee Orientation" at the headquarters of Belinda's new Road Nurse Company.
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And Belinda just found out that she is pregnant-- and she hasn't been feeling very well....
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I had text-messaged Belinda's cell phone about 3:30 pm this afternoon, saying: "I'm worried about you guys on the road." I never got a reply.
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Finally, at 4:30 pm, we all left the office with a resolve to call each other in the morning to compare driving conditions. Because although I live across the street from the office and could easily drive to work no matter what the roads are like, everybody else lives quite a distance outside Podunk. They may not be able to drive in safety in the morning if the roads are frozen.
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When I got home, the storm had worstened and I was treated to my first-ever glimpse of my apartment building dusted with snow:
And now I guess I'm going to continue to try and get ahold of Belinda. Lord, I hope she is alright. The weather is supposed to get even worse tonight. And I'm also concerned about driving conditions tomorrow morning. I have TONS of patient visits tomorrow---especially since I've got to make up the ones that I missed today. And I've got two patients who absolutely have to be seen. They are post-op from surgical procedures, one with an amputated toe and one with an open wound on his elbow. Both of them will need their bandages changed.
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So I'm going to retire to the living room television to knit while I'm watching the weather updates--- while continuing to try and reach Belinda....
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4 comments:

Dorothy said...

OK, so I need to know - is Belinda OK????

Cate K said...

All those years I lived in TX as a kid and only one lousy spattering of snow. I do think the weather in our world has gone quite mad. Hope Belinda and the others are all okay. Be very careful yourself!

Knitting Rose said...

How is Belinda!!!???

Mother Jones RN said...

Be careful, OK?

MJ