Saturday, March 22, 2008


Over the years, I've amassed a fair number of half-completed and abandoned blog entries. Either I lost interest, didn't have time to complete it and never got back to it, or any number of reasons people give to explain their unfinished projects. Recently, I've been going through the "Drafts" folder, sorting through them and deleting them, trying to do a little blog spring cleaning. This is a post I wrote on Sept 25, 2005, a little after Hurricane Rita hit. I guess it got forgotten amongst the shoddy internet connection and the intermittent power outages associated with the general confusion and mayhem around that time.

Sept 25, 2005
Being on the northeast side of Hurricane Rita as it made landfall resulted in a tremendous amount of wind and rain hitting the little bayou hospital. The surrounding low lying areas started to flood as a result of the rains, and it was going to be only a matter of time before the rising water would enter the hospital. The hospital staff scrambled to evacuate our patients to other hospitals. But where to? Whatever hospitals that weren't damaged by Hurricane Katrina now suffered some degree of damage from Hurricane Rita. And the surviving hospitals were now overloaded and understaffed.

My team spent hours yesterday trying to find places for our patients to go. Relentless calling, pleading, and begging finally resulted in locating beds at several hospitals around the state for our patients to be transferred to temporarily. After spending hours on the phone to find every one of my patients a place to go until our hospital could get back to safe operating conditions, I went to each of their rooms to explain what was going on, where they were going to go, and who was going to take care of them once they got there. I saved Patient L to the very last.

Patient L, a sweet but annoyingly simple bayou lady that has been in the hospital under my care for the past 33 days, asked me "Why do we have to leave the hospital?"

Me: "Well, the flood waters are coming in to the hospital and it won't be a safe environment for you."

Patient L: "So where's the water coming from?"

Me: "I guess the bayous are oversaturated and the runoffs from the levees are not draining fast enough."

Patient L: "So what's going to happen with the hospital?"

Me: "I don't know. The administrators don't think it will be safe for you to be here."

Patient L: "Why not?"

Me: "I don't know. I guess they're afraid the building may not do well with flood waters in it."

Patient L: "Why not?"

Me: "I guess the building wasn't built to the modern codes."

Patient L: "Why not?"

[This interchange went on for quite some time, with each of my answers being returned with another exhaustive "why not?". I was already tired, hungry, frustrated, and stressed out, and as the minutes slipped away, so did my patience.]

Patient L: "Well, when will the rain stop?"

Me: [Letting out a blood curdling scream as I pulled out fistfuls of my hair] "AAAAGH!!!! I.. DON'T.. KNOW!! I'm not a frickin' meteorologist! For fuck's sake you've been lying here watching the TV all day, haven't they said anything about this on the damn TV?!"

It would have been so refreshing to have been able to actually say that...