Monday, November 18, 2013
In only seconds...lives change
There will be no silly soap post or raw milk rant this Sunday/Monday instead I'm asking for prayers for those in our area affected by yesterdays tornados.
Around noon Sunday high winds hit our farm and minimal damage occurred to our sons car hit by flying calf hutches (sans calves fortunately) Not too long after as the skies cleared and I went to my pc for nonsense time I saw some blurbs on my Facebook page about the nearby town of Washington, Illinois. (Just 40 miles West of us)
A large tornado had just ripped through their town destroying many blocks, leveling them flat. It took a couple seconds, and why is that? for my brain to register that my sister and her family lived in that very area.
I sent her a text
A phone call
More texts to my other sisters, to my children
They hadn't heard from her either
Another phone call
My daughter who lives close and is also an RN, and I made plans to meet in another town and then drive over. The Facebook Page was requesting nurses and doctors in the area to respond.
And then as I was shoving my feet into my boots and thinking about what type of clothing I should grab, and whether or not my sister was buried under her house...and where were her children and her husband? Were they all together this Sunday, or were they scattered all over the area running errands, at friends houses? Would we be able to even get to her home? What back roads should we take to avoid Rt 24 which would be congested? Was Raven able to find someone to watch her children while we were gone?
And then my phone rang and my missing sister was on the other end
She and her family were OK. And I was able to take a deep breath.
Just after that, I checked the Washington , Illinois Facebook again (information was flooding in by both reliable and unreliable sources) and a post appeared from the Illinois State Police stating that all help was being turned away at present. Doctors and nurses had responded so quickly that many were now being stopped at the edge of town, waiting for direction. EMS crews needed to continue their immediate rescue attempts and dealing with all the well meaning volunteers
And furthermore...the large number of people coming to help are making it difficult for rescuers to hear "cries for help" So that cinched it for us. We would stay put, for now at least
The entire time I was trying to reach her took less than a few minutes, hundreds of seconds and yet it seemed like hours. Our family was lucky, spared for whatever reason but so many others were not. The tornado is now being estimated as an F4 at 166 mph. So far one death but all the official reports of course are not completed.
The offers of help, of homes to stay in, gifting of supplies has been amazing so far as I find myself glued to the Washington, Illinois Tornado Recovery Facebook Page All night I kept thinking of my fellow nurses in the OSF system having to work double and maybe triple shifts to care for all the injured not to mention the patients already in the hospitals there (Peoria) But they are well trained for events like this and they will do, have done, an amazing job.
During the night I woke with that nagging feeling like I should still go to our neighboring community to help, to do something, anything. But the requests of those in charge have been very clear. If you don't live in the area stay OUT of the area. Curfews were set and those who broke them are being arrested. Large crowds coming just to look are slowing rescue efforts. They have more help than they can organize. We should wait. Our help will be needed for clean-up soon enough.
So please keep these families in your prayers.
And remember to appreciate your own while you are at it.