Hurricane Florence – Finally It Rains


Dearest Readers:

I suppose I should report, it looks like Hurricane Florence finally visited Charleston. We’re getting rain now. Looks like it has been a nice soaker – just like a normal rainy day. The winds are dancing on the tree branches just like a normal day when we have rain.

I haven’t been outside yet, but I will in a moment. Neither have I listened to the latest news broadcast about Hurricane Florence. I did get a news alert about a ‘possible shooting in North Charleston’ so I suppose things are returning to normal now. I was hoping the violence would leave the Charleston low country permanently.

Florence is being kind to Charleston, SC. All is fine. All this hoopla, mandatory evacuation and panic from others who’ve never been in a hurricane, for me, I found it slightly humorous! I’ve been in at least five hurricanes. Hurricane Hugo. Hurricane Danny – I think he brushed the low country. Hurricane Floyd. An unnamed tropical storm that teased Charleston, and now, Hurricane Florence.  We were blessed. Never did the lights flicker. As I glance outside, my lawn looks normal. Nice and wet, but normal.

We haven’t had mail delivery in two days. I haven’t a clue when it will be delivered, but I’m hopeful my order from Chewy.com will arrive before my Bratty Boys run out of food. All the WalMarts are closed! Isn’t it funny? No. It isn’t. We live in a hurricane prone area, so we must be prepared!

Last night when I turned the Weather Channel off so I could attempt sleep, I heard five people were killed during Hurricane Florence. A mother and an infant killed when a tree crashed into their home. The father was rescued and rushed to the hospital. Someone died from hooking up a generator, and a woman had a heart attack and died. I haven’t heard anything about the fifth loss of life and I pray there are not additional victims. For the families affected, I am so sorry for your loss, especially for the loss of a mother and infant. Suppose we’ll hear more about those stories later.

Looks like all the residents of South Carolina can inhale…exhale…and breathe now! I suppose this is Day Six of Florence. I think she likes Charleston. To all who were in the eyes of Florence, I do hope you are safe now and realize life is slowly returning to ‘normal.’

This is the first hurricane I’ve actually slept well in. Normally, I get so tense and horrified I do not sleep. Not this time. I’ve prayed and prayed, placing everything in the hands of God. Thank you, God. All is fine!arthur-ravenel-jr-bridge

 

Hurricane Florence – Awaiting, Day Five


Dearest Readers:

 

Image of Angel Oaks tree, over 400+ years old. Surviving many hurricanes.DSC_0013

Today is Day Five of anticipating Hurricane Florence. Now, she’s downgraded to a Category One storm.

While looking out my window moments ago, I saw gusty winds. The trees were not dancing an elegant ballet, just an unchoreographed, erratic dance with the branches of trees moving around like an outraged dancer attempting a performance, or a hawk flying over looking for its next prey! Moments ago, the wind gusted. Now, it’s a simple, soft wind, where my pine trees are not moving at all. The mimosa trees sways with the wind. Now, there’s another gust, not nearly as active and unpredictable as the stronger gusts.

It’s only a matter of time now before we feel the hurricane. I suppose Florence wanted to make her debut into Charleston like a talented artist with only one showing, or maybe she did not want to fight the congested traffic of the low country. Who knows?

Much to my surprise, last night I slept well once again. I awoke a bit after 4:00am, deciding to get up and walk around the house to check on the arrival of Florence. Everything was quiet. All of the neighborhood appeared to be asleep. I opened the back door, to find nothing different. Quiet. Peaceful. So nice. So, I went back to bed after turning on channel 362, The Weather Channel.

Apparently, Hurricane Florence really likes North Carolina. Her twirling winds and rain were pounding the State of North Carolina. For those of you who believe hurricanes “only happen on the coast. Inland is safe.” You must understand, hurricanes hitting the southeast coastline turn inward. Hugo – went to Charlotte. Matthew – went inland to Georgia. We had hotel reservations in Georgia. The hotel would allow my dogs! When I discovered the predictions of heading ‘inland in Georgia,’ I cancelled those reservations, choosing to stay home! We were safer here than Georgia! Never did we lose power.

Looks like the gusting winds are back. Most of my trees appear to be strong. We haven’t had much rain in September, so I suppose when we get rains, the trees will guzzle lots of water, only to allow it to remain on the grounds for a while.

And so today, I return to listen to the latest predictions on the Weather Channel while I glance out the windows to watch occasional winds gusting around my trees. Yesterday, I saw a few birds, including an erratic hawk while we drove to a restaurant that was open.

I suppose I was in the mood to have a cocktail — oops, looks like I was a ‘naughty girl,’ drinking three kahlua and creams while my hubby sipped Diet Coke. Oh well. Sometimes, I must let my hair down to enjoy life, even if a hurricane-is-a-comin!’

Stay tuned! More Later!

 

Hurricane Florence – Day Four


Dearest Readers:

This morning is day four of anticipation of a hurricane. Last night, we had light rain. Looking outside by my windows, I see the wind gusting slightly, giving us a slight tease of how the winds will gust.

I haven’t listened to the latest updates. Last night Florence was only a Category Two hurricane. Now, the trees are not dancing their wind ballet. Just a slight tease, fluttering their branches only slightly. I must get my Boston ferns inside, along with the table and plants I have on my tiny (and I do mean tiny) front porch. I do not wish for anything to become a projectile.

Earlier, while brewing coffee, I saw a neighbor driving by in his golf cart. Many of our neighbors have stayed. The reversal of I-26 is scheduled to end at 6pm tonight, unless things have changed.

That’s what is interesting about hurricanes. With computer technology they are able to follow the spaghetti like graphics to predict where she will go; nevertheless, hurricanes have their ‘own mind’ and they will target where they want to go. If it targets Charleston, it will not have the traffic jams or lines to wait in. Florence will simply blow in, teasing us. Choosing to stay alike, just like some tour-ons! She will drop lots of rain. We’ve had rain before. Doesn’t anyone remember the “Hundred Year Rains,” in October, 2015? I certainly do! The wind and hail poured into a portion of our home. I stayed up for at least 36 hours placing buckets, beach towels and fans to get the waters up. I shall never forget that rain storm and the oh so wonderful(?) insurance adjustor for State Farm telling us “You’re not covered!” We had a homeowner’s policy and the Wind and Hail insurance but we were not covered?

I looked at him asking him why we were not covered. His reply: “The regulations recently changed…”

Trust me, Mister…my insurance company will change!

Way to go, State Farm.

The wind has returned now. Breezing. Cool. Dancing a beautiful ballet, especially from the two pine trees I planted from seedlings after Hugo. Will I lose trees this time? Will my home survive?

I believe all will be fine. Just got a weather alert from AccuWeather: “Hurricane Florence on the doorstep of the Southeast. Follow the storm and updates from AccuWeather.”

I get these weather alerts from all local stations, the Weather Channel and AccuWeather, so now I suppose, I’m covered!

More details later. Stay tuned! Think I need another cup of coffee!

Day Three – Hurricane Florence Update


Dearest Readers:

Thought I’d post a quick update regarding Hurricane Florence. We are ready for her. Today is day three of listening to the Weather Channel, and Channel 2 weather reports. By now, I’m almost burned out from listening to the same thing…over…and over…and over again!

Hurricane Florence is now a Category Three. Yesterday at this time, she was Category Four. Just shows, you don’t mess with a woman when she’s in a hurry to get somewhere, and forgets the directions. Only then, will a woman a clam up to make others feel as cold as ice, or as stormy and powerful as the winds when she is – shall I say – annoyed!

My hubby says I’m good at that. LOL! He also says I’m ‘childish,’ whenever I give him the cold shoulder. He should know, so I’ll not confirm or deny. After all, we are discussing a ‘hurricane a-coming,’ aren’t we!

To those in the direction of this her-I-cane, yes, intentionally misspelled so please don’t say I have a typo! To all of you, I want to say, if you’re lacking faith, or do not pray, maybe tonight is a good night to say a little prayer. Trust me, God is there. He listens, even when storms are-a-comin’!

Someone in my neighborhood must be having a hurricane party. There are lots of cars parked on the roadway, and I hear laughing, shouting, and maybe a bit of music. Maybe someday I’ll get gutsy and throw a hurricane party. For this hurricane, all I want to do is watch TV and snuggle up with hubby and the Bratty Boys! Yes. I’m sick of listening to the latest predictions, of where…when…and how… I simply want this Hurricane Florence to get to her destination and leave, and I pray the damage and power of her rage will not be as strong as ‘they,’ on the Weather Channel and local TV are predicting.

During this time I remember when I worked at the culinary college in 1989 during Hurricane Hugo. The administration was looking for volunteers to help with the students, so I volunteered. I don’t think I slept for over 30 hours or longer. I learned a lot about students during that time. The old cliché, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, certainly applied. Several students wanted hugs so, I shared hugs with all of them. Those were good memories during Hurricane Hugo, and after the wrath of the storm, when it was confirmed that we could allow everyone to go outside, just to get a fresh breath, I felt a newfound pride for all that we endured. Some of the students held teddy bears, pillows, blankets during the intense sounds of Hugo. All of them needed the comforts of home, so on the fourth floor of the historical building, now called The Cigar Factory, we snuggled together in a big warehouse room. No windows. Only the roar of a freight train, as we listened to Hugo and his arrogance. Because the building is such an old, brick historical building, at times, I could see the flash of lightning, and when I did, I shivered. I have an intense phobia of lightning, but I knew, I had to be strong. Some of the students wanted to pray, so we joined hands and prayed.

Standing outside the morning after Hugo, the students thanked me for being Mom to them. How proud I was of myself and these students. We survived a devil’s night of Hurricane Hugo, and we were the better for it. Hugo taught us strength, and mostly, that hurricane taught some students to pray and to have faith. I’ve always said a bad start means a great ending. Suppose that is true.

It is dark outside now while I am typing this. We’ve had scattered, light showers today. Nothing different from other days when we have afternoon showers. Still, I get phone calls inquiring: Are you leaving? I laugh. Nope, we are staying here. We have the Bratty Boys (our precious, beloved animals). Mostly, we have faith. Phil and I have battled many storms not just the torrential storms, but — all types. Sometimes verbal storms. If you’ve been married, perhaps you understand. 

Yesterday while talking on the phone to one of my dearest friends, we both laughed when we spoke about Hawaii and what they must do when hurricanes knock on their doors. Just where do they go? They can’t reverse a bridge???  Evacuate? Where??? Well, maybe they drive up in the mountains. On second thought, maybe not. Isn’t that where the active volcanoes are? Sometimes my mind should just shut down!

I suppose I’ll have another post tomorrow. I still have things to do. Making certain all the laundry is done. Think I only have a couple of things to wash. I want to make sure our undies are nice and fresh. After all, a hurricane is a-coming, and with it, we’ll probably lose power. Need to vacuum again too. Just tidy up a bit – before the Hurricane knows on our door. The door bell doesn’t work, so maybe Florence will leave us alone!

It is quiet now. No wind is blowing. Perhaps, the calm before the storm…And on that note, I suppose I’ll close and toss a few things into the wash. Until tomorrow!cropped-arthur-ravenel-bridge

 

 

 

IMG_0572

Update – Hurricane Florence


 

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Dearest Readers:

It has been a beautiful day in Charleston, SC. HOT! HUMID! Nevertheless, still beautiful. By now, I-26 is reversed, and the last I heard, traffic is moving well. Why? From what I’ve gathered today while driving to the doctor’s office, everyone appears to be staying home. In my neighborhood, I still see people. Definitely not a ghost town.

Maybe our leadership finally recognized road traffic in Charleston is a nightmare on every day, and when crashes happen, it continues to irritate drivers. I see tailgaters, and I don’t think I’ve mentioned those who stomp their cars at a red light, driving thru the red light!

Looks like they finally realized roads need to be reversed whenever we are told to ‘evacuate!’ I understand, it’s a ‘mandatory evacuation’ and I do understand what that means. No, they cannot arrest us; however, if we need emergency services, no one will come to ‘rescue’ us. It’s OK. We will be fine!

But this is not a post about traffic. Just a silly update to keep all informed. Looking out my window, I do not notice tree branches or flowers swaying with the wind. It is quiet. Ever. So. Quiet.

According to news media, the storm will hit the southeast coast on Thursday. I feel confident with updates, things will change.

Meanwhile, I have homemade banana bread baking in the oven. Tomorrow, I’m making a stock pot of my famous homemade chili.

Our Bratty Boys are fine. They do not seem to be as hungry as normally, and Sandy Bear keeps looking into my eyes, staring. I scooped him up, held him close telling him we will be fine. The storm might brush us with winds and rains, but we are prepared. Besides, in October 2015, we survived those infamous One Hundred Year Rains…and it was lots of rain! One thing I refuse to do is to leave my animals, like some people do. While they apply brakes during a rainstorm, as if to say, are you crazy? I’m not going out there. I’ll get wet! I have puppy pads ready. Laundry is clean. All is done, with exception of bringing the outside items inside. That will be done tomorrow. Meanwhile, we wait. All is quiet.

Yes, the calm before the storm!

OOPS…Forgot to mention, looks like I need surgery on my left wrist. Next is a CT scan, then I suppose I will agree to surgery. Maybe. All Depends.

I’ve already told the doctor I do not take pain meds – of any kind. This chick will not even consider “opioids!” After all, I am Woman. Sometimes, when I discover my upper body strength now, I tease my husband telling him I’m Super Woman! Hear me roar.

Only this Super Woman is like a little wounded bird now.

That makes me curious – where do the birds go before a storm? I haven’t seen any birds today and that is unusual. On a normal day I see beautiful red cardinals, woodpeckers. Pelicans. Heck, I haven’t even heard a singing bird. No hummingbirds by the Lantana either. Only butterflies. I hope they survive. It’s just too quiet outside. I want to hear singing, chirping birds and the owl I occasionally hear at nighttime when it is dark outside.

Yes…the Calm. Before. The. Storm!

Hear me Roar!

Hurricane Florence


Dearest Readers:

While I sit here listening to news reports about Hurricane Florence and the evacuation I feel confident we will stay here, comfortable inside our home. We’ve done this for many years whenever a “hurricane is a-coming,” and I feel safe here. Our home is brick. We live less than ten miles from the beach, but I’m certain there is no place like home!

I’ve had several friends calling today seeing what our plans are, so rest assured, all of you, I will keep you all informed! I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to find out what can be done about my wrist, with exception of surgery. Suppose I should call the office tomorrow morning just to make certain they will be opened.

Many of my friends suggested we leave. My reply is a funny, You’ve never been in a hurricane before, have you? Never fought traffic on Highway 41 for over ten hours (at that time Highway 41 was not a major road, and to make it worse, there were no service stations to stop at to find a ladies room) It took us ten hours to move 57 miles!

Two cars ahead of us was an RV. By now, people were getting out of their cars, knocking on the RV’s door, in hopes they could use their facilities. Several boys and men were walking into the woods. Not me, I prayed that soon traffic would move and we would find a place. 

Exhausted, we saw a motel.

Phil was still recovering from major heart surgery at that time. We were in two cars, anticipating cell service. News Flash! All the cell phone towers were jammed. We could not use our cell phones, so we tried walkie talkies. Phil wanted to stop at the motel to get a room since we were so exhausted! Not seeing the motel, I agreed.

Finally, in a room, I rushed to the ladies room to release a most painful bladder. Opening the door of the bathroom, I looked around this room. Oh my. This isn’t the style of motel I’m accustomed to staying at. Yes. I’m slightly spoiled. I enjoy really nice hotel rooms, and this one reminded me more of a ————–! Use your imagination!

The motel room smelled musty. The bedspreads felt sticky, and when I walked on the floor barefoot, my feet wanted to stick to the floor. Disgusting. Exhausted, I went to the car, got one of my pillows, uncovered the bed linens and fell asleep. The next morning, we chose to return home. We drove 57 miles in less than an hour. No traffic! Mt. Pleasant, SC was a ghost town. The storm had turned. All was fine!

After that experience, we decided evacuating just isn’t worth the time. Rest assured, I will keep all informed. Just stay tuned to my next post as we listen to the latest news. Maybe I’ll pop some popcorn. Oops. Didn’t buy any.

Oh well. Life goes on!

 

 

cropped-arthur-ravenel-bridge

Excuse Me…I Thought HIPAA Protected Us and The Privacy of Medical Records


Dearest Readers:

Have you ever gotten a phone call from an “unavailable” phone number only to take the time to answer it?

Yesterday, I did. Normally, I do not answer the phone when the number is “unavailable;” however, I was waiting for a phone call to let me know the service tech was on his way. When I answered, the voice on the other line had a different accent. You probably know the type — a mixture of accents difficult to understand. This time, the voice was a female voice. “Hello, Bar–ba-ra…How are you today?”

At first, I was poised and polite. I answered her questions, then out of curiosity, I said: “Please allow me to interrupt you for one moment.”

She paused. Inhaled. Exhaled. Now, the Julia Sugarbaker personality and voice inside of me said: “You do know that in America we have our health records protected. At least, I THOUGHT we did. Tell me please…Just HOW do you know about us. And while I’m at it — You do know I do not have back problems, or knee problems, or whatever you are pitching to me. This is America…We have the HIPAA act here. Please tell me why you are calling me about health records when you do not KNOW my health records.”

Silence. Complete total silence on the other line.

“Hello,” I said. “You didn’t answer my question and since you’ve phoned me, I have the right to know just who you are, what you are doing, and why you are calling.”

A moment later, the phone clicked. Yes, she hung up!

So — what is HIPAA?

HIPAA – is The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, established on August 21, 1996, created by President Bill Clinton, when the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law. HIPAA was created to “improve the portability and accountability of health insurance coverage” for employees between jobs. https://www.google.com/search?safe=active&source=hp&ei=ykKFW6iwLcKgswWbo6Yo&q=when+was+hipaa+first+established&oq=when+was+hipaa+es&gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.0j0i22i30k1l3.2890.7365.0.10750.19.18.0.0.0.0.130.1880.1j16.18.0..2..0…1.1.64.psy-ab..1.17.1879.0..0i131k1.82.FXIwFb9ltLk

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/guidance-materials-for-consumers/index.html

“Most of us believe that our medical and other health information is private and should be protected, and we want to know who has this information. HIPAA, The Privacy Rule, a Federal law, gives you rights over your health information and sets rules and limits on who can look at and receive your health information. The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of individuals’ protected health information, whether electronic, written, or oral. The Security Rule is a Federal law that requires security for health information in electronic form.”

My question is a simple one — just WHY do these people phone about health issues? Has the information from our health records been released to them — WITHOUT our consent??? If so — HOW? And WHY?

I do know that when the Veterans Administration phones our home, I allow it to ring so they can leave a message. Of course the message is limited to what is revealed. They only say they are “calling for the person born on” (and they share his birthdate). Years ago HIPAA, I answered the phone when they called. Not anymore! Every time I would inquire about what the message was, and they stated they could not ‘release the information to me.’ My reply: I’m his wife. You can share the information with me.

Nope! Nada. NEVER!

I would like to get to the bottom of why these people phone, but every time I answer they start asking:

We understand you have back issues. Not that I know about.

We understand you have heart issues. Nope. I think I still have a heart!

We understand you have Diabetes issues. None of your business!

And then they disconnect. How dare them to interrupt my daily activities with their phone calls about medical issues.

Maybe I should file a complaint with HIPAA; however, these people who phone me do not share their names, or where they are from. Their number is Unavailable!

I suspect they are from either Nigeria, India, or some unforeseen planet no American is familiar with. How about you? Do you get these phone calls?

To say I get irritated is an understatement. I think the next time they phone I will say, in a tearful, dramatic voice:

HELP ME! I’ve fallen and can’t get up.

What would you do?

According to this site: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/filing-a-complaint/index.html, consumers may file a complaint — “If you believe that a HIPAA-covered entity or its business associate violated your (or someone else’s) health information privacy rights or committed another violation of the Privacy, Security, or Breach Notification Rules, you may file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR can investigate complaints against covered entities (health plans, health care clearinghouses, or health care providers that conduct certain transactions electronically) and their business associates.”

If only I had the name of the person, I would pursue reporting them, but for now, I’ll simply ignore UNAVAILABLE phone calls!