I've never been a person who is prepared for disasters. I never had a go-bag. I've never had a plan, or well executed family drill for emergencies.
But I want to.
Pre-baby, I always thought; in an emergency, just grab the cat and go. My husband and I will figure it out, there's nothing more we need except each other... and the cat. But ever since having Avalyn, I've thought of every bad thing that could possibly happen and then wondered what in the world we would do in those situations.
I've already been through a couple of those awful scenarios. The easy ones, luckily, that seem so huge in the moment and now are just really intense stories. Like when Avalyn suddenly started puking, feverish and couldn't keep anything down... including water. I was alone in the house, my husband on a flight back home. How do I care for her? How do I make the vomiting stop? It was all so scary, but we made it through. We've also been through the head wound thing with her already. That's a blog post in itself. When you think you're looking at your child's skull through a gash about as big around as her eyeball.... your brain stops functioning for a moment.
Throw me one of those kind of situations again and I could manage. I wouldn't want to see my child in pain again, of course, but I know we would make it through to the other side together. But when I read this article about the false missile threat to Hawaii, it brought up a whole host of bad dreams I'd had.
When it comes to major emergencies, we've had a couple. Including a tsunami warning. I don't live on an island, but we are close to the water here. We're on a hill, thankfully, but we still would have to take shelter. Shelter, in our house is within the crawl space in Avalyn's room, beneath the stairs. It's the only place in the house that is protected by the earth and NOT on stilts. It's our "basement" in a house who's true basement is a steep hillside 20 feet below. And it's completely full of old baby gear that we are storing for the next kid.
We also had a fire warning. That's easier to stomach for me... the warnings are usually advanced, hopefully giving you time to pack up. Though I know that's not always the case. Packing, for an emergency (whether taking shelter or evacuating) would be difficult. We would need to take all of Avalyn's medication, and necessary administering tools that go along with it: applesauce, spoons, oral syringes and in times of Tobi that includes a cooler and nebulizer, a way to sanitize it all. Not to mention the vest, which could be left behind in a pinch, plus food and water. And, of course, the aforementioned cat.
Which brings me to those devastating terrors that have woken me in the middle of the night. Nuclear war, invasions, earthquakes that bury us in rubble... zombies. I'm not joking, I legitimately have thought about what we would do in a zombie apocalypse. My concern is perverse; it's not of dying in the initial disaster, but of actually surviving it. Of course the will to live and to protect your family is foremost. I never understood that until I became a parent. But being a parent to a child whose life depends on medication (hell, electricity!) adds a whole new level to this burden.
Where would we go to get her medication? If the city and the pharmacy within it was reduced to ash- how far would we have to go? Who is going to show up to work that day, or the next day, and open the doors to the sick? Would they even have the medication there? And worse, if the whole country became a disaster zone, how far down the list of importance would doling out Creon to pancreatic insufficient people be?
Am I crazy? Maybe. But if you're thinking that, then you're not a mother to a child with special needs. Tell me: how do I pack a go-bag when there's daily medication and accouterments being used, well, daily? How do I stock up on medication when the dosage/prescription changes every couple of months and insurance prevents us from really getting more than we absolutely need?
I feel for the people of Hawaii and I empathize with the Mothers there who looked at their children with broken hearts and wondered if they should say good-bye. I'm curious; is it better to live in a state of continual emergency preparedness where you check and recheck your supplies? Or is it best to be unprepared and hope you and your loved ones are able to hold each other tight as the bomb lands right on top of you? It's an awful thought but welcome to the shoes I walk in every day... they're just a bit uncomfortable.
And I didn't even mention saving our goldfish. Poor Gary.