Saturday, October 22, 2005

And here comes Hurricane Wilma

And I'm still talking about Hurricane Katrina. Sheesh. Here are some of the cabinets that were filed with over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. There was so much!!!

But I now need to talk about the waste I saw. In my humble opinion if the Red Cross was a business it would be out of business. But they're getting so much money in donations and they have to spend it somewhere. Let me list all the waste I saw with my own eyes.

First and foremost was the fact that we were told this would be a hardship case and be prepared to sleep on the floor. Okay. So I bought an air mattress because my old bones don't do floors anymore. It's still in the box. We stayed in a motel and were also given a rental car to travel back and forth to the shelter. HUH??? They flew us in and one way from Fort Myers to Pensacola was $550.00. I don't know what the trip home cost. We were also given checks for $900.00 for expenses. And now if this isn't bad enough, there weren't many people left at the shelter but there were always 4 nurses on duty splitting the 12 hour shift with another 3 or 4 nurses. WE COULD HAVE STAFFED A WHOLE UNIT AT A HOSPITAL!!! But keep in mind that they were paying all the above expenses FOR ALL OF US. Sheesh. And about 4-6 people would come in for medical assistance a day. Period.

There was also the problems with them handing out the money to the people who needed it. I couldn't believe that they were so strict with these people looking for any reason to turn them down. For two days I worked at headquarters doing case work. It had been swamped initially and when the people called their names and numbers were taken. My job was calling them back (three weeks later) and finding out if they'd gone another avenue to get help from the Red Cross. My conversation went something like this:

Hello, this is Alicia from the American Red Cross. I was wondering if you'd received a check from us yet? If the answer was no, I'd ask if they'd been given an amount. Since the amounts varied by the size of the family it would mean they'd been processed. But if no amount was given then I would ask if I could take a few minutes and get them processed.

A lot of them had left the Pensacola area and headed back to their homes in Mississippi or Louisiana. Or what was left of them. I'd ask how their homes were and some were camping on one side of their home, some had to leave as their homes were inhabitable, some were camping outside the homes, etc. No problem, I'll have the check sent to your house.

Or so I thought.

On my second day, a meeting was called around 4 pm and it was explained that all the people who were getting checks sent back to Mississippi and Louisiana would be voided. Those people would have to go to their local Red Cross chapters to get assistance. I was stunned by this turn of events. These people needed help DESPERATELY and I HAD PROMISED them a check in a week to ten days and now they're going to void them??? I spoke up and said, but it's normal for these people to head back to their homes now. They're trying to put the pieces back together along with getting on with their lives, but they still need help. It was now THREE WEEKS after Katrina and they'd received nothing from the Red Cross, the first responders. HELLO??? Well, being a nurse was advantageous as I knew how to get what my patients needed so I continued on with my phone calls the rest of that day and asked for a Florida address to send it too. I was successful with all.

And the next day I requested to get out of there as I couldn't handle the restrictions put upon me to help the people and that was how I ended up in the Molino shelter.

Meanwhile here comes Hurricane Wilma and I've been called by the Red Cross asking if I'd be available to assist with Wilma.

Hmmm ... I believe I can do more on my own thankyouverymuch.
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