Observations of a blizzard refugee

  1. At the end of my nice CO ski vacation, the morning I was scheduled to fly home (to FL), the entire state was shut down by snow. Excuse me, not just snow, a huge freaking blizzard. The airport shut down. The interstates were closed. Visiblility was about two feet. It was SO frightening to drive... I was scheduled to be back at work Thursday AM, but can't get a flight back to FL until Saturday. I'm a refugee at a Holiday Inn at Denver airport... not a bad place to be, but my conscience and heart is with the CO nurses (aides, techs, etc.) who never got home/couldn't leave home r/t the storm.

    I'm a FL native, and know, all too well, what happens during hurricanes. Sometimes you don't get to go home from work, and sometimes it's impossible to get to work. However, you are still EXPECTED to be there. (I'm wondering how my employer in FL reacted to my call-in r/t being "snowed-in.") It just never occurred to me just how difficult it is to get around in snow, multiple FEET of snow. After the blizzard, everything is covered in white. You can't see the streets. Street signs stick up like isolated twigs. Cars are humps in the blanketed landscape. It is eerily quiet outside. Then, a snow plow appears. (How does he know where the street is???) Then people show up with shovels, and another snow plow arrives, and local merchants show up to open a convenience store, and a restaurant, and life appears from the whiteness.

    My hat is off to all the people who stepped up and did the job during this storm, and who deal with this uncertainty all winter long. I observed an amazing number of "acts of kindness" over the past few days, by motorists who helped push and dig out vehicles, by hospitality industry workers (and some family members drafted into service), and fellow "refugees." This experience is one I will always remember. And, as much as I love the CO mountains, I will probably not be relocating, as I had been contemplating. I'll stick the disasters I know!
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    About nrcnurse, BSN, RN

    Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 195; Likes: 81


  3. by   Pompom
    I feel for the health care workers and all emergency workers too! I've only been stuck one extra shift at work due to snow so I have been lucky. I keep a complete change of clothing, shoes, toiletries in my locker just in case.
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]i've skiied to work and back a few times in snow storms. it was great -- people were out shoveling their driveways and called out greetings as i skiied past. also been to work on a snowmobile (colder and not nearly as much fun!) and a snowplow!

  5. by   DizzyLizard
    It's not often we get a lot of snow in Colorado but when we do, it's usually a major event. We ended up with about 2 feet overall and the drifts are as high as the house roof in some areas. The 60 mph winds didn't help! I was supposed to work but ended up stranded and holed up in a hotel for 2 days. In past storms I've actually transported patients to the hospital in a snowcat or snowmobile because of the impassable roads. It's weird when your in a snowcat driving over the top of cars because the snow is so deep and you have no idea what your driving over until your on top of it. Oops....it happens. CO actually has a decent disaster system in place for the big storms and like everywhere else not everything goes as plans and better chgs could probably be made. I think this time around everything went right because there were no major injuries and no deaths related to the storm (last I heard). Most major hospitals here in CO have a system in place where they will pick-up their employees so they don't have to drive in the elements and the employees that are already at work have a quiet place to rest until their next scheduled shift. It also helps that the County and City work together side by side.
  6. by   GingerSue
    we used to have a storm plan - so if a storm was declared, then the nurses, contacted by supervisors, by telephone, would be given the names of patients who lived in their neighbourhood, so that they could walk over to those nearby to provide home health care.
  7. by   zacarias

    Your writing is witty and engaging, you should write professionally, I don't know maybe you do already.
  8. by   live4today
    I once lived in Colorado, so I totally relate to your experience with the snow there. It's a beautiful state to live in, so don't let the snow stop you from relocating there. :Santa1:
  9. by   leslie :-D
    picture this:
    my first full time job as a new nurse.
    i had been there under a week when we got a major nor'easter.
    my car wouldn't even begin to move from it's buried parking space.
    with nsg school and all of its' cemented echoings, i was hearing "a nurse NEVER calls in"....
    so i started my 2 mile trek to work, snow up to my thighs.
    around halfway there, i started feeling light-headed and a feeling of floating/weightlessness.
    i eventually made it to work and didn't leave until 2 days later.
    the DON was THRILLED to see me, since 90% of nsg had called in.
    truly it was drilled into my head, never call into work.
    i should have stayed home.

  10. by   P_RN
    I live in the sunny south but there have been a couple of times we had "blizzards."

    OK not thigh high snow, but here we aren't ready for ANY snow. The last snostorm I got up and it was snowing big floppy flakes.

    I said *I can make it* so I got in my trusty Buick and drove.....after about 10 miles I couldn't see ther road behind me; after about 20 miles those floppy flakes got medium sized and were flying sideways.

    I was half way from home and half way to work. Hmmmm. I kept going, slowly, and 90 minutes later got there and hmmmm very few cars in the lot. Did I mention I live nearly 50 mi away?

    I went up to the unit and there were 2 LPNs (the ONLY 2 people who showed up) and about 20 patients. The night director was trying to handle 4 units on 2 floors as "the RN."

    Well those 2 LPN s happened to be among the best Nurses I have ever known. So we handled it.

    People who lived within shouting distance didn't show up. No call no show......and grrrrrrrr NO WRITE UP either.

    We 3 got commendations (yeah I know that and $2 might get you a cuppa.) I stayed 17 hours that day.

    My cap's off to you snowbirdies and anyone who got held up by the Western Blizzard. Wow you all are to be praised.