RED ROSS JOURNAL NOTES 5/27/10 MEMPHIS
Subject: 5/27/10 Red Cross Journal Notes
Sent: May 28, 2010 4:50 PM
*******5/28 Update: Since one of our Red Cross primary mantras is “be flexible”, I am certainly an example of that. I was coming home on Tues the 1st. Last night I changed the date to tomorrow Sat, 5/29, 6 am. I was just asked to extend to sometime next week. So, I have again cancelled my arrangements, and my return date will be sometime next week. 5/27/10: I was sitting out on my brother & sister-in-law’s back patio, drinking a bourbon & water, resting after a perfectly lovely day of R & R. Every now & again my heart strings tugged, & I thought of the people struggling with their Recovery, while I enjoyed a day of sheer luxury. David & Lynne treated me as if I was a queen. However, I know how important days off are for our own well being. One of my favorite mental health red crossers, Mary, says that our 1st obligation is to ourselves, 2nd to our Team, & 3rd, to the clients we serve; makes good sense that we pace ourselves, & enjoy the time we have off. The final Shelter, Rice, Shelby Co, TN, we hope to close by the 2nd/3rd. This is a Hispanic community that we hope to place near one another, as they were a “tight” community before, living in a predominantly Hispanic mobile home park. ****We’ve just learned that a local minister, a landlord, has volunteered to take all of the Hispanic families, with no deposit!! Apparently, he has been vetted, & these are decent apts, so no worry today about them/clients being taken advantage of by landlords w/ filthy conditions. The car rental agency used by the ARC, is now charging an additional 29 cents a mile during our daily use, in addition to $ 8.00 a gallon if we forget to top off a tank. They are also charging $800.00 to $1000.00 per car, if we mistakenly drop a car off @ Memphis vs. Nashville. So, some red crossers after very long deployments have to drive 4 hrs to Nashville to fly out of there vs. here. Whew! I am sooooo glad I don’t have a car to worry about returning. (5/28 I now have a Memphis car) We are now getting occasionally grumpy with each other, as we have many clients to yet see w/in a short period. We try to remember be kinder/gentler w/ ea other, & apologize after we bark. I have apologized 2 X’s already this morning. I suppose it’s better though when grumpy to talk if we can find a kind shoulder, & get it out, rather than barking @ clients or other Providers. Finding the available shoulder is sometimes difficult in our hectic days. I rely on my mental health colleagues, on our teams. Still, we should be better toward each other. My most frustrating days are not the heat & long hours (although they are certainly taxing), in as much as the bump & grind that happens on occasion between WE ARE ONE RED CROSS. Enough said…..the unique stress of disaster response can play havoc with our souls/minds/hearts. Today I am in Memphis & Shelby Co, on Hot Shots, & reviewing Street Sheets. Hot Shots are when we physically respond to calls from the Red CrossCall In Centers, where citizens call requesting help; we try to establish face-to-face contact; we are also reviewing the initial damage assessments written on Street Sheets, where we record the neighborhoods affected. We try to assess the level of damaged to a residence. I am riding today with a fantastic mental health clinician, David, who is in private practice in Ohio. We talk nonstop. He says he has given me a “clean bill of mental health”. He’s Jewish & I’m Catholic, & we laugh about the load of guilt wafting in the car. A bit of levity is a good thing. Today is easy & I should be fairly energized when I return, not the butt dragging sense I’ve had on some days. We met with a family of 7; the mother & 3 month old, in the news, as they were swimming out a window when photos were snapped by the Press. It’s almost a month since the storm & we are still finding pockets of people not yet served.