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Nurse Shares Story From Houston Disaster Zone


This is an interview with Chelsea, an amazing L&D nurse and Mom in Houston.

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist)

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Nurse Shares Story From Houston Disaster Zone

Chelsea, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am mom to a 5-year-old ASD kiddo in Houston. I have been a nurse for 4 years and love helping people become a family in Labor & Delivery

You have been so helpful on the Facebook nursing group, Show Me Your Stethoscope (SMYS). What is inspiring you to help as much as you have been?

I have been in awe of the courage of so many people the last several days! An amazing crew of my co-workers were able to make it in before the storm. They are still smiling and giving excellent care to the traumatized community of Houston.

I can imagine the full term women of Houston may have been feeling like a ticking time bomb, versus how they would normally be feeling- a little nervous and some major anticipation for labor to begin. I read a story last night about a well-known nurse midwife at Bay Area Birth Center delivering a 9 lb baby alone at the birth center with ferocious wind and flood waters rising towards the building. That's true Texas grit right there.

I have also been blown away by the heroism of the LEOs, first responders and everyday citizens who are throwing themselves into flood waters to pull families and pets to safety. I have friends and family who have been out in boats for days helping. They have seen some horrific scenes and everyone is going to need some major decompression very soon.

Can you tell us what is your lived experience (feelings) when you are faced with a disaster of these proportions?

I evacuated my home in League City with my son before the worst of the storm. We were still driving up to North Houston in blinding rain and tornado warnings. I am so glad we left because I am told by neighbors that I had a river of water flowing through my our houses at 1 am on Saturday. The roads have been blocked and I haven't been able to make it back to survey the damage myself yet.

I'm sure I'll have a good cry again when I get there.

Honestly, after some momentary grieving for things like my son's baby book and my new rug, I just feel really grateful to be alive. Looking now at the devastation of South Texas, I know we are going to be recovering for a very long time. It's overwhelming and hopeless but I know we will rally together and rebuild our city and lives

How have you been directly affected? (mail, power, wifi, perishables, getting to stores)?

I had some packages in my mailbox which I am sure have been lost to the water. Fortunately, I was able to stock up on water and food before the storm but so many have lost their supplies. We have been fortunate to have only momentarily lost power and WIFI a few times at the friends home I evacuated to.

The hardest part is being basically surrounded by flood waters on all of my exit routes and being unable to report to work. I can't stand not being able to do my part.

Have you talked with any nurses inside a facility?

I have but out of respect for my co-workers and employer, I won't get into specific details. I will say that I have an incredible set of co-workers and work for a wonderful facility. They have done a phenomenal job through this disaster.

How can we help?

We are really going to need travel medical staff, especially nurses, to help South Texas. Try to come with an agency and check out the Texas BON website for details on how to get emergent licensing here- they have made it very easy. (read How to Help in Texas for key links).

We will welcome you with open arms! It never occurred to me before that nurses in these natural disasters probably have to return to work before they can deal with the loss of their homes, cars, etc It's crazy.

As far as needs for physical items, I am told the shelters are needing blankets, towels, formula, and diapers of all sizes. The first responders/ LEOs need clean underwear and socks.

Monetary donations to places like the Salvation Army, Texas Humane Society, and the Houston Food Bank will do a lot good for us as well.

Chelsea, thank you so much for sharing with us. We're in awe of your loving spirit in the midst of crisis. Blessings to you and your loved ones. Nurses across our country support you.

Nurse Beth

Read Help! In Texas for a list of charitable agencies.

Edited by tnbutterfly

Nurse Beth is an Educator, Writer, Blogger and Subject Matter Expert who blogs about nursing career advice at http://nursecode.com

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