Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Drama

Deadly night in the Ozarks

I wish I could tell you everything I’m thinking and feeling about the events of the last two days. I’ve had feelings of shock, anticipation, disbelief, defeat, adrenaline, pride and exhaustion.

The deadliest single tornado in over 50 years hit a town 45 minutes away from my home.

I wish I could tell you that my bags were packed 5 minutes later.

But the truth is, I was busy cleaning my house and ignoring Justin who sat glued to the news yelling every few minutes, “You’ve got to come watch this!”. I was silently fuming about the house being a “wreck” and having to get it all clean by myself, again. I was in a selfish bubble. The news didn’t sink in until at least an hour later when I was finished and decided to see what all the fuss was about.

I knew it looked bad, but I wasn’t in the mood. Just to be safe I called into work to see what my obligation was, and was told to be on time for work the next morning, keep my cell by my side all night just in case.

So I got in bed and turned out the lights.

Then I got a text message. It was my friend Cinnamon wondering WHEN we were leaving for Joplin. Like there wasn’t an option.

“They are asking for all nurses and doctors to respond. They could really use ER nurses.”

It was at this point that I thanked God for friends like her to have such a conscience. Someone needed to knock me upside the head. This time I really needed it. About 45 minutes later a group was forming to be shuttled to the disaster triage in Joplin. Adrenaline was flowing and we were preparing for what may lie ahead.

Then I got another call. This time there were orders: “Please come into work, do not leave for Joplin, we need you here. There are buses full of injured people on their way”

Grudgingly, we changed plans and reported to work.

We waited and waited for the buses to arrive. Luckily, if you know ER people very well- we had a good time and made the best of it.

We donned our vests, stood at our stations, formulated plans and back-up plans. Then they finally arrived.

None of us knew exactly what we would see. I mean we’ve trained for this. We were ready.

I can’t tell you what happened next but what I can say is this: I’ve never been more proud to work with the doctors and nurses at my hospital. They are truly world-class and I couldn’t wish for anyone else if I were the victim.

My heart breaks for the families who have missing or lost loved ones. There are so many….

Many neighborhoods are destroyed, and where a part of me is sad for these families, a bigger part of me can’t stop thinking about the special needs and elderly who have no place to live and no one to care for them.

I feel like the people of Joplin needed more. More nurses, more ambulances and certainly more miracles.

I had the honor of caring for a nice elderly lady and her sweet dog. I’m not used to checking on a patient and getting the request to “please take my dog to go pee pee”.

Please pray for these families. Words cannot describe the loss. Here are a few pictures of the wreckage. I’ve heard from co-workers that pictures can’t even do it justice.

Literally a mile worth of destruction, all in a town. The twister went through neighborhoods, through grocery stores, through the hospital.

Joplin, you are in our prayers. Relief is on the way, hang in there!

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