Saturday, September 02, 2006

Part V

October 13, 2005

Evening, sometime---Time drifts into limbo here. It’s easy to forget what day it is. Today I didn’t go to NOLA. New ERV, new driver, 3 of the same crew as yesterday.
Since yesterday my throat and chest have bothered me, since going into NOLA. Today it was worse. Mold spores in the air there can set off instant bronchitis, and that’s how this feels. I’m fighting it. Today they told us the health and safety people insist on stringent control of contaminants when people come back from NOLA, meaning shoes must be dipped in bleach, and clothes must remain outside the shelter till they have been cleaned.
Today was exhausting. I can hardly write. Everything hurts. It will take awhile before my body adapts and starts to get stronger, but I don’t think I will be the same person I was when I get back.
We got something like 30 new people yesterday, and are getting more today. Like us they come in with their ready-made friendships, but unlike us they doon’t readily adapt. They got up this morning and made too much noise before 7:00 (the official “lights on” time in the shelter). Last night there was too much noise after lights-out. A guy moved in next to me and snored like a horror. Thank God someone got me earplugs. On top of that, I broke my glasses (fixed now with tape), my throat and chest were killing me, and my head ached. I didn’t get to sleep until after 11:00, and I’m usually gone before lights out (10 p.m.).
Must find an optician to fix my glasses.
Funny thing…in the middle of feeding a neighborhood, I must have accidentally hit a speed-dial button on my cell phone, because suddenly D.E. was on the phone while I was trying to plate food. I explained what happened and quickly got off. They want you to keep your phone with you at all times if you have one, so they can reach you or your ERV. Most times Dispatch can call up on the truck radios, but once in NOLA they don’t work anymore, and the only way to contact them is by phone.
Of course, the fact that cell service is spotty and intermittent doesn’t help, either.
Good grief.

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