I arrived the night before my scheduled weekend shift, the night before Ike’s projected landfall. I was prepared to stay for several days if necessary due to possible flooding in the low-lying area where the hospital sits.
The hurricane hit early morning and passed over our area fairly quickly. The lights flickered for a while before the generators kicked in and almost completely gave out. This meant that we only had basic power: the nurses station lights, hallway lights, and the red outlets. Patient rooms were dark, only two computers were running for documenting (no orders), and – most importantly – there was no AC. Of course, the windows can’t even be cracked open, or we could have enjoyed the tropical storm winds. Instead, the heat and resulting humity was so great that the walls and floors were slick. We ended up lining the floors with blankets to try to save the nurses who were perilously close to hitting the floor everytime we made a trek down the hall. I was passing oxygen to patients who had no pre-existing respiratory conditions because the air was so thick and warm.
It was a long and scary day for me. The storm had cut out all our communications with the doctors. No answering services, cell phones, and pagers were working. I just prayed that everyone stayed stable. With the exception of one particularly scary moment, they did.
I stayed over again. The next morning the power situation had remained the same, but big utility fans had been placed along the halls for slightly more bearable conditions. I went home that night to find that while we had no power, we had suffered no damage from the storm. My town was lucky. Just a short drive away Hurricane Ike had devasted neighboring cities.
By the time I returned to the hospital 3 days later, it was running at a full power. My power at home was returned a week later, and I had decided that – unless already scheduled – I would not be working through another hurricane. It was so not worth the bonus.