scary ice storm

falldowngobumpFebruary 16, 2009

It's been almost three weeks since the ice storm hit my area and I just got my power back on today. This has been the most stressful thing since my MIL moved in with us. The temps were down in the teens and lower at night and the only heat we had was the fireplace. When it's that cold it didn't do much to warm us. (better than nothing, a lot of people didn't even have that) No water, no lights, no heat, no phone or cell service. It was so cold in the house my MIL's glucometer wouldn't even turn on.

I was terrified for her. By day three she was so cold she couldn't walk. We put a roll away bed in the living room near the fireplace so we could keep her as warm as possible. We heated soup and water on the fireplace. I anticipated the storm so I had lots of bottled water on hand and filled the bathtubs and every container and bucket with water so we could at least flush the toilets. By friday I was outside scooping up snow and ice into buckets so it could melt and we could continue to have something to flush with. My daughter had a tree through the roof of her house from the falling trees and made it to my house. It took her over an hour to drive 4 miles. They had to keep stopping to pull trees and huge limbs for the roadway. Power lines were down every where and on my road 5 power poles were just snapped in half. This has been a real mess.

Her body temp must have dropped cause she got really confused and started to yell for me thinking I was hanging her upsidedown. I havent been that scared in a while.

Freezing weather, no heat,little water and incontinence is very difficult. By day 5 of the storm the roads were cleared to at least one lane and my daughter and I loaded my MIL in the car and headed for Georgia. My SIL lives in Florida and that the half way point between our houses. We had to get her somewhere warm and safe. A 5 hour trip took us 7. We had to stop and pull limbs from the roadway.

I am so glad were were able to get her somewhere, I was so relieved I just cried.

So the power is now back on after 21 days, the house is a wreck and so am I.

How in the world do you prepare for something this massive?

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My goodness. What an ordeal! It sounds like you were creative enough to help your MIL survive this disaster. But I can only imagine the toll it took on your physical & emotional well being. It sounds like she's now situated somewhere a little warmer, and you're the one left with the cleanup. My thoughts & sympathies are with you.

Last winter we had a horrible storm (certainly nothing compared with what you went through) and were without power for almost a week. We had water but it was freezing. Our kitchen appliances & hot water heater were all electric and our heating system wouldn't work without electricity either. The only thing that helped us survive was a portable Honda gasoline generator. We were able to run the propane gas fireplace insert in our bedroom so at least we didn't freeze. We used a gas barbecue inside the garage (with its window open for ventilation) to heat up some food. But that was about it.

Because of my husband's health, we eventually put in a stand alone generator for future power outages. But I know there are larger sized portable generators available. The only problem is that you have to have some gasoline on hand to power them. We had to fill up at a gas station at least once, maybe twice, during the week. A storm like yours would make that difficult.

I wish you well in your cleanup endeavor. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 2:43PM
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We knew ice was on it's way from the weather forcast. I stocked up on canned goods, water and made sure I had all her meds,depends, and baby wipes for at least two weeks. I had logs and two boxs of duraflames for the fireplace. The cell phones were charged, blankets and quilts were layed out and ready. The only thing we didn't have (and couldn't find anywhere) was a generator. We did get one after 5 days of this. We had fresh batteries, candles and flashlights. I dug out the battery powered radio. I thought I prepared as well as I could. I don't think anyone could have imagined how bad this got till it happened. It was like really cold (miserable) camping for us but for my MIL it was a health disaster. Within 2 days she really started to decline and I was terrified. I just kept thinking I couldn't even call for help cause all the phones (cells included) were out. I'm so thankful it's over and I have heat,and water now.
I've deceided insurance companies are a pain in the butt. When I was trying to make sure her meds were stocked up, her medical insurance balked because I was trying to fill a couple of them a week early. I had to pay full price for them. I wonder if her doctor can write the prescriptions in such a way that people can prepare and have plenty of meds on hand?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 9:09AM
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Oh my...what an experience you had. I am glad your MIL is safe and warm. As Shambo said, you were very creative. I don't know that you could have done any better with what you had. Isn't it wonderful how we are granted the ability to do what we must in horrible circumstances? You stayed strong and did all you could, but now that it is over, you've let down emotionally and physically. That is normal and necessary. Please try to get some rest as you deal with the aftermath. Don't try to do everything all at once. You must regain your strength and emotional health in order to do what is ahead.

I think shambo's idea of a generator is a good one. We have considered it here in Ohio since my Mom is with us. We lost power from an ice storm a couple years ago. Thankfully my brother's power was still on and he was only a few miles away. It was 40 degrees in our house. I think we may act on it since reading your story. We have a gas fireplace in our basement family room and could take Mom down there, but there is so much more to think about. Having plenty of food, water, batteries, medicine, etc is something we should all plan for at any time, especially when caring for the elderly and disabled.

Take care and here's a warm hug ...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 9:28AM
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Falldown, you're so right about never fully imaging how bad things can get.You really did a wonderful job of planning ahead. Just think what things would have been like without all your advance preparation!

And your struggle with the insurance and stocking up on much needed meds is ridiculous. I think it'd be a good thing to speak with the doctor about that situation and ask for some advice. It's not unrealistic to plan ahead for emergencies, etc. There should be a way to deal with the need for medications in special cases.

My mother was in her AL when the storms hit us last winter and I was really glad. I knew her facility had back-up generators so nothing much was affected as far as her care. I couldn't imagine having her still with us with the cold, dark, and the lack of hot water. I can only imagine how difficult and scary it was for you. You did a good job surviving the storms. Now comes surviving getting everything back to normal. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 2:19PM
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You can ask the doctor to do a 90 days supply on the medicines. He or She may not understand, just tell them what you went through and your fears of not having what she needs. It can be a relief not having to fill them every month.
You'll need to see if the insurance pays for a 90 day supply.

I don't know what I would have done if I'd been in your shoes.

I'm glad thing's are looking better, ice clearing up and lights and water back on.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:25AM
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