SMOOTH SOUNDS

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A HURRICANE SURVIVOR: PART THREE

We arrived on land. I was so thankful to be on dry land. We were about 200 miles from my home. The child and I were rushed to a military hospital, where we would be given tests and treatment. The pain I had earlier seemed to be gone, but, I was wrapped in bandages that were for broken ribs and such. I didn't want to lose track of the child. As of yet, no one had asked me if she was mine or not. Of course, we were separated, they had to take her for different tests than myself.
I was given a warm hospital gown (did they microwave it?), and warm blankets, then placed on a hospital bed. Next, there were X-rays, and, all kinds of other tests. Then, I was alone.
I kept thinking about my boyfriend, wondering what his condition, location, and, situation might be. I also kept thinking about the baby girl, wondering if her family was alright, and, if they were, if they would be reunited soon. I was going to miss her. She was so cute and so sweet. Lost in my thoughts, I started to drift off in sleep.
Just then, the Dr. came and told me that I had 3 broken ribs all the way around. Also, my lungs needed further investigation, as with the weight of the water, they had suffered some damage, and, they wanted to see the extent of such. They told me to rest, while they found a time slot for these tests. I closed my eyes to sleep, when they brought the child to me.
They said that while she had suffered minor hypothermia and swallowed a good share of salt water, that she would be fine. Would I like to hold her for a while? Would I! So, she lay beside me, cozy in my arms, and, we both fell fast asleep....
My dreams woke me up; I was thrashing in the waters, unable to swim.... Woooo, I was glad that it was a dream...
Soon, they came and took the child. She started crying and I reassured her that I would be right back. Off I went for tests...
Still no one has asked any kind of question. Not about medical history, insurance, if the child is mine, nothing. I am curious...
The tests and other such take over 2 hours. I am so exhausted. They take me back to my room, and, bring the child to me again. Then, they bring us some food. I was not hungry the whole time of my experience, but, as soon as I saw food, I was ravenous. They had brought some toddler style food and I fed her in between bites for myself. She would look into my eyes, and, I am serious, they were like eyes of an angel. I hugged her several times, she was just so lovable.
We ate, drank some water, I gave her some milk, and, then we cuddled up and out we went....
We slept for several hours. I don't know if anyone had come to check on us or not, but, it was a good and needed rest. The tiny girl smiled and said, "Mama", again. I just loved this bundle of joy! I was going to miss her....
Shortly, a Dr. came and told me that my lungs appeared to be alright, although they were badly bruised. He said that in conjunction with the broken ribs, I was going to be real sore. He prescribed a pain killer, and, then told me that I was a very lucky lady... I told him that I knew this more than anyone. And I thanked him for his services.
A nurse came and told me that we would each be held for a few days for observation. She asked me if I wanted a crib to be brought into the room for the baby. I did not know what to say. I decided that yes, she should have her own bed. They brought it in, and, placed the baby girl in it. She started to cry, and, so, I told them to leave her in my bed. They said that she was adorable, and, I agreed. Off they went...
I turned on the T. V. thinking that I might gather some information about the storm we had survived. The child was looking expectantly at the screen. I did not want to upset her with scenes from the storm, and so, found some cartoons for us to watch. We fell asleep again, this time for the rest of the night...
Morning... They came and fed us, checked our vital signs and left us. I was getting restless, and, I needed to know the state of my life. Still, with the baby here, I did not know exactly how to do this. I rang the nurses station, and waited for someone to come. It was a while, but, soon, a nurse was there. I began to ask her questions. Her face was very serious. It was not good. My whole town had been wiped out. Survivors were very few. I got real nervous and wanted to scream, cry, and could not with the child in the room. I asked if there was some way I could find out if my boyfriend had survived, and, she told me that she would check it out, and, let me know... I thanked her, and, off she went. The baby was in a playful mood. That was a good sign, and, just what I needed to pass some time...
A few hours later, a Red Cross worker entered my room. He asked for the name of my boyfriend. He told me that the child was so cute, and, what was her name? I then told him of our adventure. He said that it would be difficult for them to trace her identity, let alone find out if she had any family remaining, and, that he would have to contact the proper officials. I was frightened, both for her and myself. I said I understood, but, she was so attached to me, and, Lord knows that she had suffered enough. He said that he would do everything in his power to see that she remained with me for as long as possible. I thanked him profusely, and, he left. I held the child close to me, my heart beating rapidly, wishing that if she were alone in the world that she could stay with me forever.
The usual hospital routine... A day and a half later, the Red Cross worker returned, with a solemn look on his face. He told me that my boyfriends name was not on the survivors list, but, that did not mean that he was deceased. It just meant that he had not been rescued or recovered, or accounted for. I began crying, and, so did the baby, as if she understood what I was feeling. He then told me that they had arranged for a DNA test of the child that they might begin the search for her relatives. He told me he was sorry that he did not have more or better news. I said that it was not his fault. He went and I cried like I had never cried before, again, so did the baby girl.... We fell asleep for quite a while...
This was the day that we were to be released. But, where would I, we, go? I had no home, no family, nothing. A military official came and asked me a lot of questions. He told me that they had several sites set up for those, who, like myself, had lost everything, and, that I would be transported to the one nearest my home. I asked about the child. He said that she would have to be placed in state custody. I said that I was against that totally. He said that was the law, and, there was no way around it. I was adamantly against it. I pouted and cried. I then asked if he knew where she would be placed, and, he told me no. I said I wanted to be as close to her as possible, in the event that she did not have any living relatives that I would like custody of her. He said that he would see what could be done. Oh, I was so upset.
The next few hours were filled with forms, release forms, insurance forms, and then the baby's DNA test. Someone from the Red Cross came and told me that the baby and I would be put into a hotel for a few days while all of the bureaucratic paperwork was began and sorted ... I was ecstatic, at least we would remain together for a while more...

Stay tuned for the conclusion....

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