Thursday, September 11, 2008

pre-Ike preparations

As expected, I got a call this evening from my boss at the hospital. The disaster emergency plan is active and I am to be there tomorrow at 3 PM in preparation for Hurricane Ike's landfall. After the nightmare of Tropical Storm Allison, Houston's hospitals put emergency plans in place to deal with future calamities. At my facility, the staff sign up to be on either the Prep and Recovery team or the Ride Out team. P&R works before the anticipated emergency, then evacuates or stays home. The Ride Out team staffs the hospital just before and during the event. Then the P&R team comes in afterwards to relieve the RO staff. Having no local family or pets to look after, I signed up for RO.

I'm neither nervous nor annoyed by the circumstances. I was well-aware that Houston is at risk of experiencing hurricanes and being a nurse at a hospital means contributing to disaster preparedness. It's part of the job. Frankly, I'm glad to go in. I have no car so I couldn't easily leave Houston anyway and the hospital will take care of all my needs.

Tonight I'll pack a bag in preparation for living at the hospital for a day or two. The expectation is that I'll work my regular 6:45 PM to 7:15 AM shift, then sleep in makeshift housing at the hospital. I'm guessing this will be empty patient rooms as part of the plan calls for slowing admissions and stepping up patient discharges in an effort to reduce the hospital census. As all non-emergent surgeries get canceled, it's possible that I'll be working somewhere other than my normal surgical recovery unit.

Currently the eye is predicted to make landfall near Galveston very early Saturday morning. Just looked up the bus schedule and dang, service shuts down at noon so I have to leave even earlier. Alright then, two antihistamine pills are in my near future as I need to be asleep by 3 AM. Updates as time and circumstances allow.

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