May 17, 2006

Dear Friends:  Here's the story of our continuing saga with Hurricane Katrina.  "She" is not through with us yet.  This is copied from an earlier e-mail I sent and I'm honestly too tired to type it all again.  Life will go on, but just at a slower pace for awhile I guess. 



Thursday, we drove down to New Orleans.  We detest going through the horrible traffic in Baton Rouge and so try to schedule our drive-throughs at 3 a.m., and that's why we got into New Orleans about an hour later.  On turning the corner to our street, I saw it.  It meant no electricity for sure.  We had 1-1/2 trees left on our lot.  The front one apparently split in half during a storm, unknown to us, and came down on the electric connection from the street to the house, ripped it right down.  Well, nothing to do but wait until morning to call the electric provider.  The grass was tall, so David said he'd mow the "lawn" (more like pasture now) while I dickered around with Entergy.  Well, I found out that they had indeed taken the meter and turned off our power around April 5th and to reconnect we will have to get an electrician to fix it, then he will have to get the fix inspected and permits issued by the city and the parish before they will turn it back on.  Great!  A neighbor later told us that he had the same thing happen and it cost him close to $2000 to do it.  Oh well, what else?  (I should not have ever thought 'what else'? because of what followed close on this.)  I went outside to tell David the results of my encounter on the cell phone with Entergy and very strange I couldn't find him.  However, when I looked on the ground near the electric connection, there he was.  For an instant I though he had somehow been electrocuted from a left over line or something.  Not so, thank God!  He had taken a ladder to inspect how much damage the pulling the line down from the house had been caused and he fell off the ladder (about 5 feet up).  He could not move.  I said I was calling 911 and he forbade me to do it, stating that they'd put him in the hospital in New Orleans and we could not do that as I had nowhere to stay, no electricity in the house, no motels available (and the ones that are run $200-300 a night), and all our stuff, our jobs, our food, shelter, (and the cat too) were up here in Pineville.  He concluded he would just have to bear the pain, we would have to wait on the two contractors that promised to come over to do that and then for me to take him back to Pineville for medical treatment.  His pain was terrible.  I ran to the shed and got out the old crutches and walker had had from a broken leg back in 2001, and somehow with massive determination he got to the front steps.  That's where he sat while we got branches from the downed tree and bungee cords and made him Boy Scout-style splints which helped a little.  After sitting in the sun for a good two hours, we had him go butt up the steps and with the walker and crutches (and lots of hollering), got him inside the house.  The two contractors did not show up until the afternoon and we still don't know what to do about the house.  The first one gave us a totally ridiculous esimate of $25,000 and we haven't gotten the second one's yet -- but at this point I DON'T CARE.  David's health comes first.  It was 4 p.m. by the time that was over and with the help of the Army neighbor (home on leave, thank God) and his buddy, we crammed David into the Ranger pick-up truck and I drove like hell to Alexandria where St. Francis Cabrini Hospital is.  He endured.  It took three ambulance guys to extricate him out of the truck, him hollering all the time, and me crying.  We were quite a scene in the parking lot there and more so inside because he was in such pain and his knee had swollen to basketball size that at 2 a.m. they admitted him for pain control and possible examination under anesthesia. 


Well, he has a fracture of the femur, a vertical one at the end nearest the knee cap and into the tubercule (knuckle) down there.  Four orthopaedic folks have come in an they say nope, they don't want to operate, too tricky, that he has to be plain totally off his feet for three months and it should heal that way. 


So, he is bedridden and will be except for short walker-based trips to the bathroom (or potty chair).  I am getting all the stuff today, wheelchair, wheeled walker, potty chair, bath chairs and I'll be the chief battle-axe nurse in charge for his next three months.  We went through this before.  Putting him in bed did NOT work.  We had him in a recliner.  Hurricane Katrina got that, so I bought a new one and his recliner awaits.  He gets discharged either Thursday or Friday.


And that's how we are.  I had my crying period (not just in the parking lot), and I think we can endure this.  We didn't get a divorce before on leg break #1, so I think we will get through this too.


However, prayers are appreciated.

Vicki:  Thanks so much for the nice thoughts.  No, we are not back in New Orleans.  We evacuated twice, one for each hurricane.  First, we went to New Iberia, LA and thought from the reports of devastation of the city that we would end up living in New Iberia.  However, my husband is just 2-1/2 years from retirement (works with the state of LA) and he, of course, wants to finish this out.  So, a few weeks later we were told ONLY job he could get would be in Pineville, LA.  Well, that's 150 m. north of New Iberia, so as we were packing for his job interview (with thoughts in mind that if he got the job we would have to move), the word went out that Iberia Parish was to be mandatorialy evacuated for Hurricane Rita - fast approaching.  O.K., into evacuation mode we go and shortly after that we drove north to Pineville, being on the interstate with about 90% of Texas also evacuating.  No place to stay here - no motels, no shelters.  We slept in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The next morning, HOORAY, David got the job.  We were dancing around the street when we realized oh-oh, we had NO place to stay for Hurricane Rita (let aside to live here).  So, hmmm, what to do.  Thinking we were next going to spend the night of Hurricane Rita in the Wal-Mart parking lot, we got a call from my daughter in California.  What a miracle!  By using the internet (Google I would think), she had found us a place to stay and rent in Pineville.  I was so elated, I didn't care if it were a cave.  (I was scared of this second hurricane, having seen what the first one did.)  It turned out fine - a nice mobile home - we spent the hurricane in it and now we are living in it.  David's job here is a big pay cut, but we will proably be o.k. once I get back to working regularly (they promise me I will) with my company in January.  ABOVE ALL, we are so grateful to God to be alive, to have the privilege to start all over again.  So many people just don't period.


Sure, you can put this (or whatever other stuff I wrote) in the section you are developing.  One of my fun things is hearing from people and writing people.  Anyone who wants to write, I'd love to hear from them.  Though we live in Pineville, I have a p.o. box at the little nearby village, so my address is:

Seamond Roberts, P. O. Box 395, Libuse, LA 71348  Phone is 318-487-0421.


Thanks very much, Vicki.