[Previous entry: "Katrina affecting Northeast US"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "Government priorities in New Orleans"]

09/02/2005 Archived Entry: "The end of a bad week"

THE DAY BEFORE 9-11, I WAS HAVING A REALLY, REALLY BAD DAY. I don't remember a single detail of it. Only that it was one of those ultimate annoyning Mondays. You know the ones. The next morning I was still in a snit and getting ready to blather in my journal about it when I clicked onto an internet news source ... and realized that having a bad day is a relative thing.

Now I'm having a bad week. It began on Monday when The Yard Guy showed up four hours late to help me clear a blackberry bramble, then immediately broke an expensive piece of borrowed terrain-clearing equipment. It culminated this morning -- or at least I hope it's culminated -- with a doggie medical emergency that forced me to improvise a tourniquet in the woods and left the back of my truck looking as if I'd committed a particularly sloppy murder in there.

(The dog is going to be fine after surgery. But damn, did she bleed.) Still, I wouldn't trade my week for the week anybody had in the Superdome or the week anybody had doing medical or rescue work on the Gulf Coast. A bad week is a relative thing.

The poor people of New Orleans are providing the most vivid possible lessons about what happens with TSHTF. What did it take ... two days? Three? For civilization to dissolve into primitive madness. Two days, maybe three, for a major American city virtually to disappear. (I suppose New Orleans will be restored; but it shouldn't be -- at least not in the same location.) Have you, like me, been revisiting your survival preps and making lists of the additional items you need to acquire, the different arrangements you need to make, the different aspects of preparedness you need to think about?

Been doing that all week and will have much to write about it later. And yet even after all that, when my foster dog leaped into the woods and landed on a very, very nasty something this morning that deeply punctured the back of her leg just above her foot, I still found myself unprepared. I had a medical kit -- in my truck -- half a mile from where she made her nasty landing. I did eventually use the kit to tie a strip of gauze tightly around her leg to stem the blood flow, then I bound the lower part of her leg tightly with gauze and tape and rushed to call the vet. Fortunately, a vet was available. Because it was bad. Half an hour later when we finally removed the bandage and tourniquet the blood gushed out all over the vet's table and the dog had to go immediately into surgery.

Always lessons: In the future, carry a roll of gauze and a roll of medical tape in my day-pack at all times when walking the dogs in the woods. But the biggest lesson of all often seems to be that no matter how many lessons you learn about preparedness there's always one more you still need to learn. Or that you need to re-learn because you knew but neglected it. Best hope is that Nature teaches us gently.

The rest of us are fortunate to be able to learn by the Gulf Coasters' catastrophic example. If anybody out there felt silly after "over-preparing" for the Y2K non-event, just consider that "over-preparing" is the least of our worries. Whatever happens to New Orleans, this is a chance to learn some lessons, with the most terrible cost paid by others.

Posted by Claire @ 02:28 PM CST

Powered By Greymatter