Saturday, November 3, 2012

Reflections on Sandy

Darkness of Sandy
Like many others across the northeast, I have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.  My husband and I are some of the lucky ones. Our home is intact and without major damage and most importantly, we and our loved ones across the region all made it through the storm safely.  We are still without power, heat and phone, as are many in our area .  The tragedy of the storm is obviously widespread, but I thought given the topic of this blog I'd add some color on the everyday challenge it poses for someone with my medical conditions. For a couple hours on Friday, I was able to make my way to an office that has power to warm up, charge up, and write this quick post.

Living without power and heat has added a new dimension to trying to manage my health conditions.  Taking medicines, cutting pills and trying to make sure that I am taking the right one in the right amount by flashlight is definitely a challenge. There has also been the issue of timing of medication. Yes, I am one of those people who rely on my cell phone to tell time and I never wear a watch.  Those watches that I do have are tucked away somewhere very safe, definitely not too be found during a long-term power outage.  This obviously leaves more room than usual for error, but taking my medicines a bit off schedule is better than not taking them at all.

Luckily (and not by my own volition) I knew where all of my medicines were when hurricane hit.  My husband, a former Boy Scout, made me pack an emergency “to go bag” in case we needed to leave our home with a moment’s notice.  Yes, I did complain and whine when he insisted I put them all in a bag by the door...since it was inconvenient to keep walking over to use them, but, as much as I hate to admit it, he was right.  If it weren't for that bag, my medicines would not have been organized and easy to access in the dark.

In addition, I have major food challenges.  As I have written about in previous posts I have very severe food allergies, my newest one being to the ubiquitous corn.  Most non-perishable foods have corn or corn derivatives in them, which makes refrigeration particularly critical for me.  And I can't risk needing medical services when many of our hospitals are without power and closed.  Thank goodness we bought a five pound bag of rice before Sandy hit to keep me going and there have been dry ice distributions to keep some of our perishable items cold so that I have something to eat.  One saving grace is that we do have a gas stove, so I have been able to use it while I am cooking by flashlight.

So, here we are, living like it is 1900.  Playing cards by flashlight and listening to an emergency crank radio that my mother bought me a few years ago (clearly my family worries more about disaster preparedness than I do).  It was charming the first night, but by day two were were ready for things to start to return to normal.  Signing off for now as my brief stint with electricity is over for today.  Perhaps we will be lucky and have power tonight.


  1. Glad you all are safe. We live on the East Coast also (VA) and since becoming so relied on medicene, I also had my stuff organized. You have a good husband who would think to do that for you! I hope you get electricity back real soon!

    1. We are back in the 21st century with power and heat thankfully. I am very lucky to have my husband watching out for me. Glad you and your family are safe too.

  2. I am so glad you made it through the storm OK and were prepared from a medical standpoint. We were caught off guard with last October's Nor'easter here in MA. We were out in the storm due to a church commitment and almost got killed trying to get back to our home, which never happened. Despite weather forecasts last year, I was unprepared and had difficulty accessing my medication, clothing, etc. We didn't even have enough gas in our car.

    Our town was like a disaster area, although our home was OK. I ended up getting my meds and medical supplies eventually and staying with family as we did not have running water and power for nine days. So for Sandy, like you, I was very prepared. I assumed we were going to lose power and prepared for it, especially in terms of clean water and water to flush the toilets. I refilled all my meds in case the pharmacy was inaccessible (which happened last year) and had what I needed for food. Of course, we never lost power this year and I am grateful for that.

    I hope this finds you with power and living with some comfort once again!

    1. Wow that sounds like such an ordeal last year. I found it hard to believe that Sandy was going to be so bad because we made so many preparations for Irene last year and not much happened. But I am glad we were ready with flashlights, candles, my medicines, water etc. Luckily, last night's Nor'easter did not end up being too bad for us. I know many others lost power again and it just added even more difficulty with their homes already damaged. Hope things are OK in your neck of the woods right now.