12.13.2008 | By: Alisa Callos

Of Work, Storms and A Full Moon

I woke up Friday morning and knew instantly it was going to be the weekend from HELL—a perfect storm of moon, weather and work. Reports from the national weather service had been dire for the past four or five days with weatherman using words like ‘white-out conditions’, ‘heavy snowfall’, ‘high winds ’, ‘blizzard’ and ‘Arctic cold front’. Most reports said driving would be difficult if not impossible.

Under ordinary circumstances, I would be ecstatic. Dancing and singing “Here comes the snow…do…do…do…do” (Think the Beatles here). I’d do the ‘Happy Dance’ and jump into snow clothes with the kids for joyful trompings through a pristine white wonderland. Hot cocoa and cinnamon toast upon our return from adventures in the wild outdoors. We would be exhausted, but elated, that our longed for snow had finally arrived. Unfortunately, these were not ordinary circumstances. I was due to work the whole weekend.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I haven’t worked in conditions such as these but the dire weather report was topped off by a full moon at its perigee and as any nurse or cop will tell you, it is no myth that a full moon always brings out the ‘crazy’ in people. Last night the moon was almost 18,400 miles (30,000km) closer to the earth then usual making people even a little nuttier than normal.

I left for work at my usual time of 11:45 in the morning. I have a thirty-mile drive and it usually takes me about 35 minutes to get there. The pictures above and below, I took shortly before leaving for work.

It started snowing lightly when I was half-way to work and by the time I arrived it was snowing heavily. The ER was ‘quiet’—a word we never use while in the ER for superstitious reasons—when I arrived with just one cardiac patient who was on discharge. That of course was about to change.

The first call that came over the dispatch scanner was for an ‘unknown injury accident’ on Hwy 95 south of the Long Bridge. Minutes later a second and third accident were dispatched. Both police and dispatch scanners were suddenly spitting out directions and further reports. The police scanner informed dispatch of multiple slide-off’s and then reported that a fire truck dispatched to an accident scene had also slid off the road. A call came in that there had been a head on collision on Hwy 2 blocking both lanes, extrication required. This was followed by a call from a local rest home that a resident had fallen and they were sending the patient for a routine exam. A PA from Montana phoned that she was sending a patient with a critically low sodium level and a call went out for a cardiac patient in Priest River. Within the hour every ambulance and fire unit in the county were dispatched and calls were stacking up. Medics were asking dispatch which scenes needed priority attention. After that, I mostly lost track beneath the on slat of walking wounded. Between patients, I phoned family members who were traveling and encouraged those who called to stay home.

My supervisor let me go home an hour early, as she knew I had a long commute and she had adequate staffing due to some unanticipated discharges from the ICU. I brushed about 5 inches of snow off my car and headed out. An hour and fifteen minutes of white knuckle driving and I was home safe.
The rest of the pictures are from when I got home and what I found upon waking this morning.

I’m off now for more of the same. I have three more days in this work cycle and I know they’ll be interesting. Come Tuesday morning however, you’ll find me in my snow clothes doing the ‘happy dance’ with 10 glorious days of freedom!

PS. The total snowfall accumulation thus far...12 inches. Yea!!!


Valerie Geary said...


linda may said...

I loved your story and pictures. Merry Christmas. You have the opposite of the weather we have for it here.

BJ Roan said...

I actually watched a show on TV that said the full moon thing is a fallacy! I don't believe that for a second. The photos are fantastic. Loved the story. I like the idea of a "happy dance" with the kids.

gautami tripathy said...

I loved the photos. Great post.

I knew instantly

Kill Word Verification

Rambler said...

the place looks lovely

Tumblewords: said...

I believe we're in the same area! Very little snow actually fell here and the winds didn't materialize. It's much better to have fun at home than be on the road...

Sunshine said...

That's some heavy snowfall, Alisa! It looks like you live in a very beautiful area, and (though I'm not a fan of driving in winter), I must say, the snow is pretty.

Marguerite said...

Great story & pictures. We didn't get the snow, but it is freezing cold here! Brrrrr.

Sunshine (aka Princess Amelia)is my daughter. I just started a blog & would love for you to stop by. Click here to visit my blog.

gel said...

Your weekend from "hell" shows beautiful snowy photos. Isn't that the case? If you have no where to go, no accidents to tend to, etc, then the snow is gorgeous. (here from sun. Scribs) I'll imagine you doing your happy dance. :D

Anonymous said...

What a beautifully written story, and the before-and-after pics were a treat. Your slice of life reminds me of when I worked at a small 60-bed hospital as an admitting clerk while going to school. I didn't think about full moons then, but I'll never forget the wonderful people who pulled together to help in emergencies. Thank you for making that commute.

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