Monday, December 16, 2013

Storm Warnings

The last couple of days have been harrowing. We set off home after work on Friday knowing that we'd make it just shy of half way - we aimed for, and got to, Binghamton in New York. When we pulled in to the hotel, Joe went in to check in and came out looking grim. "They are expecting a foot an a half of snow tomorrow, starting early in the morning." We still had five and a half hours to go and, according to the weather channel, all but a few miles would be in the area affected by the winter storm. We comforted ourselves by telling ourselves that the weather predictions always exaggerate.

They didn't exaggerate.

The first couple hours of the drive were hellish. We left early, before the plows had been able to do much with the snow, and for long stretches we were the only vehicle on the road. After we turned west at Syracuse, we got a break from the storm, we hoped, and prayed, that we were done with the snow.

We weren't.

At Buffalo it started falling and once we crossed the border we knew we were in for a difficult ride. About Hamilton I told Joe that the whole way I'd been worried. There are times that my status as a disabled person causes me anxiety because of a feeling of vulnerability. Driving through the storm, seeing cars off the side of the road, many abandoned, I knew that if something happened to us, if we slid into a ditch, I wasn't getting out of the car. We had rented a wheelchair van and I sat strapped to the floor on a vehicle that I'd not be able to get out of without a lot of struggle, a lot of effort.

Yikes.

Joe then told me that he'd been worried about exactly the same thing. He felt the responsibility to get us home safely, a normal thing, but that feeling was intensified because of my disability. He said that whenever he saw people standing outside, in the blowing cold, looking at their vehicle buried in snow - he wondered if there were passengers, who couldn't get out, left in those cars. He worried for the panic they'd be feeling.

We got home.

Safe.

But the trip took five hours longer than it should have. And not just five hours - five BIG hours of worry and stress.

But we're home safe.

And we're here now for awhile.

11 comments:

Andrea S. said...

Glad you're safe.

wendy said...

So glad you made it home safely. I hate winter driving and can only imagine the added stress and anxiety you, and others with disabilities that limit mobility, must face.

liebjabberings said...

Glad you're safe, too - but, even though you really wanted to get home, would it have been more prudent to stay at the hotel an extra day, or to leave later, after the plows?

I read a story just recently about a woman who, when the plane hit the Twin Towers, left her desk immediately, without even grabbing her purse, and headed down 98 flights of stairs - and lived to tell about it. People who went back - even for one quick thing - did NOT make it.

It reminded me that sticking to the original decision is not always the best option, but that we humans are conditioned to stay on the chosen path, and find it very hard to deviate, even when logical thought would demand it.

Stay safe - but think. There is always a next time.

Wouldn't want to lose you guys.

Alicia

Tamara said...

I hate driving in snow storms - and triple hate driving in ice storms. We had a harrowing ride home in March, and my son's car ended up going off the road. Had someone involved had a disability, It was stressful enough without an added problem of not being able to get him out of the vehicle.

Hindsight - we should have stayed where we were an extra day - but it's always 20-20, right? That's kind of the problem with weather forecasting. They aren't 100% right, and we tend not to believe them ... and carry on as if they don't know what they're talking about!

Maggie said...

I'm reminded of the time my mother, newly widowed and nearing 60 (in a time when 60 was old, not like now), moved to the backwoods of Vermont.

She said the most useful advice she was given, from one of her elderly long-time farmer neighbors, was to keep four things in the car at all times: a warm enough sleeping bag to keep you comfortable 20 degrees colder than you ever expected; a flashlight with extra batteries; enough water for 72 hours just in case; and some kind of container you could pee in without leaving the vehicle.

In the first 4 years, she had to use each of those things at least once.

I'm so glad you guys are safe home.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you made it home safe and sound!

Anonymous said...

To that safety kit for the car, I would probably add: food for a day or three (even if that just means a box of energy bars). Also, three days worth of medications. Bear in mind that medications usually only have a shelf life of up to a year or so (after which they lose effectiveness): when you fill a bottle or other container with needed meds, write the current date on it. Try to replace the meds in this container with fresh meds every 6 months or so, and also double check that all of your current meds are included (have you started taking anything new since the last time you did this?). Each time, write the date on the container so you don't have to try to remember when you changed them last!

I don't even drive, these are just my brainstorms because I know some people really depend on their usual routine of daily medications for maintaining their health.

Andrea S.

Shan said...

Jeepers!! You must have REALLY WANTED to be home! Glad you and Joe made it back safely.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're safe, Dave and Joe!

And thank you, everyone, for the practical tips on what to stock the car with for winter driving.

And thank you liebjabberings especially for your third paragraph! A cognitive behavioral therapist told me that the ability to rethink a decision is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. She said that our instinctive reaction is often not our best one. :^)

Sue

clairesmum said...

Had never thought about those particular safety concerns before....so thanks for raising my awareness.
Gad you and Joe got home safely!
Packing emergency supplies can be a nuisance, but a small kit might be a good idea, with the addition of food and beverages at the start of long days on the road.
I'd add a "space blanket" to the supplies...developed by NASA, it is very very thin material that holds in your body heat and is big enough to tuck all around you. Have used on camping trips and hikers often carry them. They really do work!
Stay safe, Dave and Joe!

Belinda Burston said...

Welcome home! So glad you made it home safely after that terrifying drive.