Friday, March 31, 2023

The Aftermath

     When my Mom warned me about tornadoes last night I looked online and was like Meh? Not us. It's never us. Usually not. I was the teenager that drove around during tornado warnings thinking I was completely immune. Jeep top down. Ignorant as bliss. Dumb as shit. Not so much in my almost 50.

    I looked last night at the weather and it seemed to not be going to Pulaski County. I woke up at 4:00, anxious about finishing my stupid American Board of Pathology questions before the deadline. 18 of them. I always push it to the last minute. Melody, not so much, she does them right away. Different personalities. Me, peaking at the deadline, her, the ever loving amazing schoolgirl getting it all done up front.

    I was at work so early I finished my cases at 1:00. Started looking at the storm news and freaked out. It was like Hurricane Michael, which destroyed my parent's house. It went from 0-100 in a few hours. I don't like driving in storms these days. Jack called and said he was headed to NLR for an appointment and I said hell no go straight home postpone that. I called S and asked him to come to the hospital - I was covering frozens until Shaver finished a meeting and an errand.

    He thought I was being an alarmist, but I never usually am. Still, blood pressure was mounting and I took a Hydroxyzine (fancy Benadryl) to calm my chest pain. When at 2:30 Shaver finally returned to let me go he told S don't leave right now. I had already heard the secretaries talking about touch down in Chenal and the Rodney Parham Kroger. Let's just wait this out for a bit, I said.

    We decided to go to the gift shop to waste time but that was a bad idea. I had already heard they were evacuating patients at ACH (Jan's kid works there) and the front of the hospital, usually teeming with visitors, was empty. Med Towers 2 was completely in the dark (Tornado protocol? Generator failure ? No clue). I was scared walking in front of the windows, and the creepy vibe of the visitors and patients in the Med Towers huddling in the dark scrunched down in the hallway from the windows made my anxiety shoot through the roof.

    After the danger passed I just wanted to go home. But the traffic, holy hell! 430 was completely at a standstill. I know a way through Shackleford, I said. but it was completely impassable. Tried to get through Bowman to Mara Lynn to Green Mountain but it seemed like every time we got to a place to get free a shitload of cops blocked the intersection. WTF? They are making this worse, I thought, seeing cars blown into buildings at ridiculous angles. Cartoonish people making poor decisions at the defunct stoplights. Clogging up the intersections. 

    There were miracles, too, just like in the movies and TV shows. After the cops blocked up all the intersections, clownishly, forcing us into a never ending circle. Chenal was the only route home. Still agonizingly slow, but there were two adorable youngish girls directing traffic, think long neon braided hair and fancy dresses, helping us poor tired motorists at the last bottleneck in middle Chenal. I wanted to hug them.

    Lots of pics shared, in group texts. Foxcroft looks destroyed, Pavilion in the Park looks like the victim of a monsoon. Middle Chenal had trees downed everywhere. One of my micro techs, who lives near Rodney Parham has significant damage to her house. So funny how it skips things, I wondered in the traffic. Like Crohn's disease. One block intact, one part of the intestine intact, the other part annihilated. 

    So far everyone I know and love is accounted for. But the pics on FB! I hope there weren't too many casualties. What a storm. Rivercrest looks untouched. Planning long needed lazy weekend and my only work day next week is Monday. ZERO plans for Tuesday through Friday. Maybe a massage. Book reading. Speaking of, I read Demon Copperhead last week and I've read most of Kingsolver's body of work but this was definitely one of my faves. Happy Friday, much love, Elizabeth


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