Monday, December 17, 2007

Caregiving: on the frozen frontier (and more)

25 hours without electricity! Seems incredulous in this 21st Century. Reading news stories by candlelight of available nearby shelters through PEMA (Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency) was ominous. However, after working tirelessly and then importing crews from New York, New England, and New Jersey to help, PPL Electric has successfully restored and kept our power on for over three hours.


We were fortunate in that when we had this house built we took the option for a gas fireplace. While most neighbors lost not only power and as a result heat, we were able to retain a heat source. When power finally came back on our indoor thermostat read 59 degrees. I can only imagine how cold homes were that had no fireplace or any heat source.


WHY? I’m sorry that is a fair question. <grin> Saturday night into Sunday morning almost an inch and a half of freezing rain fell, icing over and bringing down branches and wires. The next round was “gale force” winds and down came trees and poles.


As a family this was not quite our longest “stone age” experience. In September 2001 a F3 level tornado ripped up College Park, MD where we lived at the time. We were without power of any kind for over 36 hours. However we were blessed, the twister literally jumped over our house. Others were not, in its path it left 2 killed, 50 injured, 800 homes, 500 cars, and 20 businesses destroyed.


On a lighter side as neighborhood legend and lore remembers I was actually on the phone ordering a Papa John’s pizza unaware the tornado was descending on College Park and electrical and phones lines were being ripped to shreds. UNBELIEVABLY within 40 minutes of my interrupted phone order a Papa John’s delivery guy pulled up in front of our house having dodged fallen trees and poles and rerouted himself all over side streets to get to us! As everyone was outside gathered and stunned at the chaos, his appearance with a hot pizza has become mythic over time. … and YES I tipped him extraordinarily well. <grin>


Now this time, here we had no power and limited heat for 25 hours in winter which is a lot different than September. Yet Patti in her care facility had it ALL, electricity, heat, and cable! Visiting with her last night, she was ‘enjoying’ knowing she had all the creature comforts. <grin>


Multiple Sclerosis and pioneering is not fun. A caregiver may rise to the challenge yet the person in need will always view living temporarily in the stone age quite differently.


Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer


  1. I smiled at the pizza.......I doubt if I'd have been so dedicated :)  Gulp!! at the kind of weather.  I'm in awe at the pony mountain trek.  I couldn't do that, felt dizzy just looking at it, but still wow! wonderful scenery to be had. Rache

  2.  The pizza story made me laugh.  What a welcome site.  Hope you thaw out soon.


  3. glad you had heat:) love the pizza story


  4. is 2 am..yes doing some caregiving kept me awake! Love the pioneering stories.  We were fortunate to miiss the bullet this time!

  5. (((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))I knew about that Tornado.that wa terrible.Man,I cant belive the pizza guy came out.I call that a blessing that He was ok.I am glad Patti had heat and lights in Her place.Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  6. BBbbbrrr..... how cold!! <sigh> one day, the high is 33... 2 days later? 60+ The weather sure keeps up hopping, doesn't it??



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