Since this was our first ever experience with a hurricane, we weren’t exactly super prepared. No generator, no plywood, no stock pile of food. I mean, sure we could have gotten those things, but we also had no plan….so ya know, lesson learned there.
Well, we experienced our very first mandatory evacuation thanks to the hurricane known as Irma. I have to admit, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to evacuating, and the decision isn’t exactly easy. When we first heard that Savannah might be evacuated we talked to friends and neighbors who told us that they either did or did not evacuate during hurricane Matthew the year before and what they learned from that.
The Thursday before our evacuation we took Pierce to the pediatrician because he just wasn’t getting over a cold that all the kids had gotten. I knew he was having a tough time with the cough, and we have dealt with pneumonia before with him. Sure enough a chest x-ray agreed. We made sure our pediatrician gave us all he could on the medical front with the evacuation looming.
With Pierce sick we couldn’t take the chance of riding out the storm, even though the path had shifted west and we didn’t think we would be hit as bad as expected. So, we thought, why not take these days off work and school cancellations as a time to go visit family?
Friday morning when we thought we would be packing up and getting everything in order, Pierce was having a really hard time breathing. Pierce has had a long run with breathing issues. It only happens when he is sick, not like asthma. Although we have quite the line up of breathing treatments and devices. So when he could not catch his breath on this morning, and his oxygen was measuring low, I knew we had to call an ambulance and get him to the hospital. At this point one of the hospitals was already shut down for the evacuation, so we rushed to the one that was accepting patients. They acted fast and got everything under control. I was worried that they may not let us go, and if they did whether or not it would be safe to make the drive up north. I was a mess. But the doctors assured us that we would be fine (we had a plug in the car to do his breathing treatments every couple hours).
And we were! We made it to New Jersey to stay with my in-laws, who are just amazing. The kids and the dogs were in evacuation heaven! We all were. The kids spent every waking moment in the beautiful gardens that surround the house. We ate so much good food, that on the last night I had to unbutton my pants while at the table. And we soaked up so much family time.
All the while, we were anxious about what was going on at home.
Thankfully, when we arrived home after 16 hours in the car (evacuation traffic is no joke) we had some down trees and a trashed yard, but no damage. The power was back on, and we felt incredibly grateful.
My heart goes out to all the people affected by these hurricanes. It is devastating.
We feel fortunate that we could capitalize on our first evacuation and fill it with an amazing four days of family, which meant so very much to me right now.