faces

I guess this post is probably a week after the fact.
But maybe it is more timely than i think.
A week is about as long as it takes for us to forget. For the next headline to take over.
About this exact time last week, I was making a run to WalMart for water, flashlights and peanut butter. Just in case we lost power.
A hurricane was heading our way, well it would be just a tropical storm by the time it got to DFW but still possibly strong enough to knock out the power for a little while. I also tried to fill up my car with gas before the gas prices went up too much.
Those closer to Galveston had a lot more prep work.
My brother. My friend Laura. My friend Julie.
This is Texas. Plenty of people we know live that way.

Friday night I went to hang out with some women from church. One of the women works at our mission center and was saying how rough it was to see them stream in all day. It isn't like watching Katrina on TV. That was half a day away. Houston is just down the interstate.

Saturday morning. Still no hurricane. Mainly because it was camped out over Houston and just dumping on them.
It could have been worse. My brother had power back on in almost 24 hours and will need a new roof. My parents in College Station lost their fence and a tree blew into my sister's house ( not through just against). My friend Laura won't have power for weeks.

Our version of the storm was pretty lame. A little rain. A little wind. We established that the power wasn't going out and hit the mall to buy some birthday presents before Tess gets here. Oddly the parking lot was packed.
O was crazy hyper and we thought maybe some time in the toddler play area would do him good. It was full of kids too. Many of their parents were on cell phones calling friends and relatives saying that they made it out of Houston. Were ok. Were having a hard time finding a hotel.
These people had faces. I could overhear their conversations. I wasn't watching them on TV. They were stranded. I wanted to do something but didn't. I didn't have any money or an extra room. So I just got in my car and went home slightly rattled.

Monday around lunch I started having contractions. Steady ones that took my breath away and made my back hurt. I taught my last block. Stayed late getting a few things ready just in case and finally made it home and hit the couch. Contractions kept coming.
I tried drinking water, laying down and eventually gave up. (these are the tricks that usually make my braxton hicks contractions go away). At about 5 minutes apart we took O next door and headed to the hospital.
We were the only ones in triage. The nurse did not think I was in labor but wanted to monitor my contractions for at least an hour and see what was happening. It was calm and quiet and all you could hear was the baby's heartbeat on the monitor and my quiet cussing through contractions.
And then in a frenzy a young hispanic women comes in. She is carrying twins and about to deliver them right there in triage. She is from Houston. Displaced and in labor times two. Already at a 10. The nurses rush around. Page doctors. Any doctor since hers is out of town. They try to keep her from pushing until she gets across the hall. Me and Shaun suddenly get quiet. She is alone and in the wrong city. Shaun goes out and slips some money in her mom's purse in the waiting room. She makes it across the hall and delivers two boys before my hour is ever up. She had a face, even if I never saw it through the hospital curtains. I definantly heard it. I heard her cries of pain. Her social security number. What she had for lunch and her fear. I do not know what she left behind. If she can go back yet. If she has power or not. But she is not some picture on TV or in the newspaper. Or even a phone call to a friend or relative. She was lying in the bed next to me.
Obviously, me and Shaun did not have a baby that night. After about an hour they gave me a shot and sent me home. The contractions stopped around midnight. But I did not stop thinking about the girl who had come in after me. Faces. Real faces make it hard to ignore tragedy. When they are crying next to you they are not so easily forgotten with the next headline.

1 comments:

Alyssa said...

Thank you for reminding me to remember. I don't watch the news much, so things quickly fade from my radar screen. The faces shouldn't, though.

Looking forward to when Tess makes her appearance!