Adventures in Hurricanes

Adventures in Hurricanes

Hurricane season is officially over and I feel it’s safe to post my Hurricane Irma recap. I originally had planned to finish this post in November, however, Crohn’s Disease got in the way.

Growing up in Florida was pretty great, Disney World was pretty much in my backyard (kind of, haha). However, living in the tropics does come with some downsides, including Hurricanes. I’ve been through several storms, some major and some minor. They all suck. In fact, right after we moved to Miami, Hurricane Andrew hit and it was a Category 5. I was 6 years old at the time so didn’t really understand everything, but I do remember the walls shaking. It was pretty scary.

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Back in September, we dealt with Hurricane Irma. At one point Irma’s track was heading directly for Miami as a Category 5. Yikes. I recently moved and now live pretty inland so I’m not in an evacuation zone. People who don’t live here don’t really understand what it’s like. There was the assumption that the entire city packs up and gets out of dodge. Not the case. If you live in a safe structure you can stay put, unless you are in a flood zone. Storm surge is the big killer. If it doesn’t kill you, it will strand you and you won’t be able to go anywhere and no one can get to you. This is why you evacuate, among other reasons.

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Labor Day was when we really started to pay attention. I don’t really give it too much thought every time we are in the “cone of death”. It always changes, so why worry? We did fill the car up with gas and grab some water at Target. We already were stocked up with food and figured we would be fine.

By Wednesday my office was closed for the rest of the week and this thing was looking serious. Wednesday night we decided to head up to Boynton Beach, which is about an hour drive. We figured during the day there would be more traffic and we didn’t want to worry about gas so we headed out in the night, like the Von Trapps fleeing the Nazis. We were a little scared and also, his parents were stocked up with food, so I thought that would be great. I had my mom’s cats with me because she was working through the storm and YOU NEVER LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND!!

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I packed my meds and a month’s supply of colostomy supplies. Right now I’m not on that many pills, so I only have to worry about an injection every 8 weeks and Prednisone (groan). You can’t just walk into your local drug store and pick up colostomy supplies, I have to order them. Thankfully, when I order my supplies, I get a 3 month supply (which somehow lasts longer). When we were first in Irma’s “cone of death” (about 5 days out) I took a quick inventory of my supplies. I had plenty. If not, I would have called the medical supply company and asked them to rush me a shipment. Overnight express is a thing and these are the situations where they are needed.

The weather didn’t start to get bad until Saturday night, so we pretty much sat around watching TV and eating. Kevin’s mom cooked as much as she could because once the power went out the food would spoil. I don’t even know how much I ate and I was having some intense Prednisone cravings.

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Irma was the storm that didn’t end. All day Sunday the weather was bad but we still had power. I’ve been through several hurricanes and usually, they are over in a few hours, Irma was the uninvited guest that didn’t know when to leave.

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I would sneak off to our room for naps because I started to get some intense cramps. It felt like a partial bowel obstruction. I used a heating pad to help with the pain and I was able to endure. I also spent time with the cats during my naps. The cats had to stay in our bedroom because Kevin’s parents were dogsitting Goldie, pictured below.

By 8:00 p.m. Sunday night the worst of the storm seemed to be behind us. We ate dinner and decided to play a board game and pretty much figured that since we still had power we might not lose it. Moments later the lights flickered and then the house went dark. Seriously? The storm was over and THEN we lost power? Ugh. Come on!

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I called it a night and tried to get some sleep in a hot room with no AC, then my intense cramps came back. Well, there was no way to use my electric heating pad or take a hot shower so I had to rely on some strong painkillers. Kevin offered to take me to the ER but with no street lights and still some lingering bad weather I said it wasn’t worth the risk right now.

The next morning we still had no power. I had to change my colostomy bag by flashlight. The month before I had to change my bag in the woods, so I’m just adding interesting experiences to my list of adventures.

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We surveyed the damage in the area and there seemed to be a few downed trees and palm leaves everywhere, minor structural damage. One of our neighbors informed us that our power was on back home, so in the afternoon when we confirmed that the roads were safe we packed up our stuff and the cats and headed back to our place to check for damage and soak in the working air conditioning.

We were so relieved that there was no damage, no leaks, nothing. Kevin had moved everything away from the windows so we spent some time putting everything back. It was almost like moving in all over again. Oy. My mom was without power so we kept the cats at our place for the week, which was interesting. They camped out under the bed until they started to feel comfortable.

My office was closed for another week as people were still returning home from evacuating and power was still out across the county. My Facebook feed was filled with people celebrating the return of electricity or praising the sighting of the FPL (power company) trucks on their street.

Eventually, life returns to normal. We were lucky that we dodged the worst of it, it could have been much worse. You prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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