Sep. 1st, 2005

Bartonesque

Sep. 1st, 2005 11:26 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
I finished the last of my classes this evening in preparation for deployment. It was the "red cross nurse" class, and outlined for us what we will be doing during our time in the field. "The field" being a kind of diverse set of possibilities, from a shelter in Houston to a muddy street in Mississippi.

We won't have much in the way of supplies, and won't be performing heroic acts of lifesaving care. We will be using whatever is at hand to make these people's lives a little easier. The disaster nurse is really a coordinator--matching resources with needs, and being there to listen to the stories these people need to tell someone.

One of the nurses in the class suggested that we should ration toilet paper so that the toilets don't get pluggged up. The instructor, an old retired nurse with many disasters under her belt, observed that there probably wouldn't be any toilet paper.

Just after I got home this evening, the Red Cross coordinator called and asked how soon I could be ready to go. I told him I was already ready. It likely won't be for at least another 36 hours, though--there are all sorts of logistics involved.

One of my co-workers called me this morning--she had seen me on the morning news (they had been filming our class yesterday). I hadn't even yet called work to tell them I was back, much less to tell them I was leaving again, but I guess they all know now.

A lot of people have told me they wish they could do what I was doing. I am aware of the gift of freedom that I have been given--the freedom to be able to drop everything and go for three weeks, and not have to feel like I am letting anyone down back home. So I guess I go on behalf of them.

There is so much need. Even if you can't go work in a shelter, there are things you can do. In class tonight, they talked about how the local red cross office needs people to come in and answer phones for a while--to take messages from people looking for loved ones and to take donations. We do what we can.

The news seems so discouraging--seemingly all chaos and anarchy. But I think that the good that people like you and I will do in the days and weeks ahead, the little things that seem so futile against the tide of despair, will ultimately make the difference.

"You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it."

--Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross
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