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Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17th Update

So much has been happening in these last few hours, I almost do not even know where to begin!

Today started out as your "average" day here in my little section of the world.  We had a scheduled power outage from 9am - 1pm, so at work we did what we could!  I know I haven't written about this yet, but I am in a Red Cross Dental Assistant program, and I absolutely loooove it!  That's a whole 'nother post though.  Anyways, to keep up with sailor readiness, especially in such a trying time as now, one of the docs and I went over to a helo hanger and did annual exams for those sailors who were overdue.  In the dark!! I know it sounds strange, but the doctor has these super headlight glasses that are like highbeams on steroids, and we did our part to keep these sailors healthy and mission ready.

One of the sailors was teasing another sailor (who was wearing his flight jumpsuit) about his "pager" he was wearing, asking if he was a drug dealer, or stuck a decade and a half in the past.  That was when, in all seriousness, he explained that it was a radiation detector, clipped to his belt, measuring his radiation exposure.  These sailors, as well as so many others on our base and around the world (and countless other heroes, Japanese and otherwise), are sacrificing their health and safety in order to get the job done.  It really stopped me in my place and made me think outside of my comfortable "me" bubble that I live in sometimes.

That was one of the moments that really hit me that I don't want to forget.

I took an extra long lunch (thanks to no power), and when I got back we had to pull dental records for one of the commands because they were being deployed to help out with search and rescue.  Ok, another dose of reality.  We knew that was inevitable, so we just went about our business, joking along with my coworkers.  About an hour later, we get the call that everyone was going to be deployed, to pull all records, and there were meetings about to occur regarding evacuation notices.

Fun and games stopped there, and I got back into my little "me" bubble and thought about how it all affected me.  My husband was still at home, sleeping since he is on nights now, and I frantically called him until he finally answered.  He didn't know anything, but he was going to call and find out.  I called a very good friend of mine and let her know, and she set out to find out more information since nothing official had yet been posted.  Rumors were still flying around, people running in and out of the office and phone calls being made, and pretty much all I really found out for sure is that an evacuation was underway, but the details were all too soon.

My heart got so heavy and things felt so serious all at once.  Being so far away from the devastation, and only really seeing the impact first hand by these power outages and innumerable aftershocks, it was so easy to feel comfortable.  Knowing that we had to be evacuated now just felt… inexplicable, I suppose. I don't know how to express it.  I didn't have time to panic, obviously, but I called home to talk with the kids.  Not knowing when we would be leaving, or for how long, I still needed to get us all prepared ASAP.  I told them while they waited for me to come home, to get their rooms really clean, and that to pick out some of their special things that they don't want the movers to pack and lay it on their beds (we are supposed to move in June).

I went home early and the rumor mill was constantly buzzing.  My husband called me from work saying that an evacuation plan was set in motion and we could be out of the country within 24 hours.  He, as well as most other active duty personnel, would be sent elsewhere.

I had to tell the kids what was going on; there was no way to pack so many essentials without them knowing.  School has been cancelled "indefinitely."  I had to get our luggage and dog kennels out of storage.  They are too old for me to be able to play this one off.  Their school has been doing a good job explaining things in a gentle way for the kids, so I've adopted their phrasing and told them that the "pollution" could get worse, and the military just wants to make sure that we are all safe and sound.

I've since had another small(ish) breakdown, but all of these chaotic feelings have to come out sometime.  We are safe, plans are in place to get us out of here, and I am eternally grateful for that and thankful for the resources we do have on hand.  We've all been handling it pretty well, but these pent up feelings I power through and hide have to escape, and my poor husband has been getting the brunt of my emotional outbreaks.  He must think I'm nuts, since we hardly see each other due to our conflicting schedules, and when I do see him I end up breaking down crying :P

And that is another thing I have to remember to be especially appreciative of and thankful for.  I have had a great support system; work has been amazing in not thinking twice about putting my family first.  The base and community has been wonderful, keeping spirits up and helping others out as much as possible.  My family and friends, even ones I haven't spoken to since I was a kid but I am FaceBook friends with, have left me messages letting me know that my family and I are in their thoughts and prayers.  My close family has been extremely concerned and are counting the days until we are home again.

And then there is my husband, taking care of hysterical me and being my rock.  When I finally got to see him after his especially late schedule, he just let me talk through all my irrational thoughts and then I felt a million pounds lighter, having that strong shoulder to cry on.  It sounds as if we may be separated yet again for a short while, but that is the sacrifice I and my family have to make to have such a wonderful person as our husband/father.  He must do his part in this world to make it a better place, and no matter how many miles apart we may be, he always makes me feel safe and secure in the world.

What more could I ask for?

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