My posting has slowed down considerably, which I hope is understandable. Right now I’m kind of out of things to say. I have only limited patience for the news media and the talking heads. Because of my health I’m not likely going to be going back to the shelter any time soon, and I’m trying to focus my limited energy on my job and my family now (who themselves are getting sick).
Part of me feels guilty about that. Because when I get exhausted, when I get sick, I can just go home and rest up, but those people in Louisiana, and those people in the shelters…they don’t get a break. They don’t get to just go home and rest up. Their situation is what it is.
At the drugstore the other day I ran into somebody wearing a blue City of Austin shelter badge and I felt compelled to go up and talk to her. Because lately I’ve felt like the only people I can really relate to, other than my good friends, are people who have worked at the shelter. Austin is back to being obsessed with Longhorn football and software releases and the usual stuff of normal life, and I don’t feel ready to go back to a normal life yet. But only other volunteers understand that.
Turns out this woman is a crisis counselor, so we ended up spending a couple of hours at Spiderhouse talking over coffees. She’s trying to organize counseling for the volunteers, because she says a lot of them are showing signs of what I think she called “secondary post traumatic stress”, or something like that. A common syndrome among people who work closely with disaster victims.
Since I don’t have much to share, I thought I’d point you to a recent post at Electric Mist, which is a great blog by Toni who has been back and forth between Baton Rouge and the North Shore in the aftermath. She’s one of the ones who gets it. Click through to read the whole thing, read her whole blog even, but here’s a snippet:
When I went to the shelter Saturday, I asked the Red Cross Volunteer (who’d arrived on day seven, three days later) if FEMA had shown up. She said they had driven by once and dropped off some ice (which was gone in an hour) and they hadn’t been back. At that point, it was day twelve.
The newspaper, the following day, showed another city entirely forgotten: Bogalusa. No one had been there, no one had called, no supplies, lots and lots of damage.
I don’t understand these things. I know I live in America. Well, last time I checked, Louisiana was still in America. Maybe something happened somewhere that someone forgot to mention to us, but yeah, pretty sure we’re still in America. And the magnitude of the inept response (including local) is staggering.
It was like watching someone I love get gutted and lie there bleeding and knowing that help was standing a few feet away, talking about golf scores.