Friday, November 2, 2012

Surviving Sandy


Hi! We're okay! Yay! Thanks to those who were concerned and prayed. We really appreciate it. Here's a rundown of how this week went:

Sunday:

While the sky remained ominous all day, things were quiet. We chose not to flock to ShopRite because the crowds were ridiculous. Instead, we felt okay to ride things out with what we had: bottled water, a couple of flashlights, candles, and canned stuff.

Still, I felt uneasy. I wasn't sure why. To lift my mood, I watched the best "bad movies" we have. "Snakes On A Plane" and "Pineapple Express" were two of them. I also exercised, something I've found helps channel my nervous energy into productive activity. K showed me some exercises, and let's put it this way: my legs are just finally returning to a (relatively) pain-free state.

Monday:

The rain came. The winds were frightening. I went from nervous to scared. It quickly became obvious this was far worse than Irene. I felt like the windows were going to break.

More exercising, but far less as I felt my shoulders, knees and butt were going to quit my body, jump off, and leave me strangely disfigured.

More movies. Harold and Kumar drove across the Garden State to White Castle, and I pondered why they didn't just stop in Elizabeth or Linden instead of going all the way to Cherry Hill (hey, I am a Jersey Girl, through and through). I was laughing hard at "Napoleon Dynamite"... okay, let me pause here. If you're wondering why I'm just now watching movies from forever-a-go, it's because I was too busy working multiple jobs and being too broke, okay?... as I was saying, I was laughing at Pedro in that ridiculous wig when, quicker than you can say "R.I.P. Amy Winehouse", everything went back to black.

I had preemptively lit a candle, so we weren't in total darkness. But Lord, it was dark...

One of the things I deal with in having CIDP is loss of balance. Before I had this, I would connect balance problems with my head. You know, like if you go on a "Tilt A Whirl" and step off spinning, or if you drink too much and wind up tipsy. Well, my balance issues from CIDP is nothing like that. It comes from the damaged nerves in my feet and legs, so I cannot feel the floor beneath the way I should. With IVIG treatment, some feeling has returned, so I can feel cold/hot, the difference between carpet and linoleum. But I still rely on my vision to get around. So yeah, hopefully you can now understand, at least a bit, why no electricity= no bueno.

While I adjusted to even more limitations, poor Zoe freaked out. Suddenly Mama and Dada had disappeared, along with everything. She wound up sleeping on top of me.

Tuesday:

While it drizzled sporadically, we ventured out with seemingly 95% of our neighbors. We all kind of wandered aimlessly down the block, surveying the damage. And oh, sweet Baby Jesus, there was damage. For the first time in my life, I saw, in person, the havoc of a hurricane. No one had power. Lines were down, sirens wailed and trees older than this country lay like twigs across streets, cars, yards and homes.On the eve of Halloween, many of us walked the streets like aimless zombies.

My legs still sore from Sunday's workout, K loaded us in the car and we drove though a number of towns seeing the destruction. Very few street lights were operational, and the cops were obviously busy dealing with top level emergencies, so driving was... free range. Best to go slow, stay alert, go straight and make right turns. Many streets were closed off, and I saw more yellow tape than an episode of "The Wire."

The two gas stations we saw open had lines several blocks long, and the lone CVS open was packed.  A young dude hustled hot coffee on the side of the road and was turning a pretty profit, too. With no way to run on Dunkin' or get caffeinated at Starbucks, quite a few were pulling over.

Neighbors worked together to clean up yards. Kids raked leaves and picked up branches along with parents.

We drove by my family's various homes and felt relief that things were okay. I couldn't feel happy, though. Lives were lost, and so much lay in ruins.

Wednesday: 

With no heat or hot water in our apartment, bathing was miserable. We boiled water in a giant pot to warm our baths. Zoe was chilled but unphased. I was not.

We all dressed in layers with the inside temperature hovering in the sixties. I read a few short stories by Khalil Gibran and John Steinbech; K played chess in intervals on his still-charged iPad.

It was still Halloween, so I dressed Z in her cheap-y drugstore costume, and then slid my kitty ears and tail on. I drew whiskers on my face with black eyeliner. K slept.



The diet of healthy foods was thrown out along with our fish and skinless chicken when the fridge stopped blowing cold air. We ate cookies chips and M7Ms with abandon, and had Chinese from the one joint in miles that was open. K and I sipped red wine. I shared the Steinbech story I had read. The main character wound up shot. Scary enough for Halloween.

Thursday:

Around three thirty, I awoke with a start by the sound of beeps and the whir of the fridge. K popped up a few seconds later. Electricity!

We laughed. K jumped up to charge his long dead tech-sessories. We could hear our neighbors doing the same. I laughed hysterically as I flipped on the TV.

I think we were more excited about power than Edison was in Menlo Park back in the day.

Later, I spoke with my dad. Still no power there. In fact, there was no power right across the street. We knew we were lucky.

Today:

Most places are still closed. A number of my friends have gone to shelters to help out, donating water, baby stuff and canned goods.

For the first time in nearly nine months, I haven't had my weekly IVIG infusion. My nurse Melissa is okay, although her yard is a mess. We're trying to play today by ear. If not, next week I suppose.

It's okay. We're okay. Things are good.

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