Wednesday, September 07, 2005
  My night at the shelter
I spent last night in one of the local shelters here in North Texas working in the medical area along with another medical student, a physician, and a nurse. Our purpose was to medically clear any new evacuees coming to the shelter as well as tend to the medical needs of the 400 or so people already staying at the shelter. As it would turn out, most of our aid went to the latter group, as we saw only 2 new evacuees come in to the shelter all night long, despite rumors of several more buses coming overnight.

About the shelter: One of the local auditoriums was converted into a makeshift shelter, with televisions, basketball goals, and tables/chairs as a makeshift dining area on one side and hundreds of mattresses on the other side to make a large communal bedroom. Apparently, the day I arrived (Labor day), volunteers had been busy getting children registered for school the next day, as there were signs everywhere.

Overnight, things were pretty quiet. The two new evacuees arrived several hours apart, an aside from being travel-weary, hungry, and dehydrated, were in pretty good shape. Then, there were the evacuees already residing at the shelter.

Most, I think, wanted someone to talk to more than medical care, as they all seemed desperate for attention. The longer you were willing to sit and talk with them, the happier they became and they seemed more at ease. Many had difficulty sleeping, a few had other medical problems that needed tending to. Others only needed reassurance - all, in fact, needed reassurance that they were safe and help is available.

So, that was my night at the evacuee shelter. Nothing too exciting - just trying to do my part to ease the suffering of the thousands displaced from their homes. Hopefully I accomplished something there.
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Ahhhhh.. 4th year. If the rumours are true, this will be a cake walk. Herein is my online account of my 4th year of medical school - follow with me to see if the hype is true or lie.

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