Thursday, September 18, 2003
The hurricane is here. Jack didn't have school today and Mom stayed home. I worked all day and watched the trees dance around outside in the wind. The sky wasn't too dark and the rain didn't seem to be coming down very hard. But finally I realized that almost no-one else was left so I figured it was time to go home. When I walked outside with a friend I was surprised that the rain was really soft. It felt and tasted and smelled like rain at the beach. I could not help but think of how great it would be to sit in bed and listen to the rain on the windows.
When I was driving home through the rain and wind I remembered the last hurricane we had around here. It was named Floyd. I don't think anyone is named Floyd anymore.
Floyd hit the East Coast in 1999, right when we were trying to have a baby to be your brother or sister and your transplant donor.
We wanted so badly to be your heroes. I wanted to be Batman and Superman all rolled up in one. My super power would be saving lives. Mom did the real hard stuff and I got to drive. My super power ended up to be driving. I was "DriverMan." Ta da!
Here is something Mom wrote about Hurricane Floyd.
Hurricane Floyd wreaked havoc throughout the East Coast of the United States in September 1999. From the Carolinas to Boston, homes were destroyed; streets were flooded; electrical outages were rampant; lives were altered; dreams were destroyed. Among the trains and flights cancelled were those Allen and I relied upon to deliver our cells to Mark Hughes in Detroit.
As storm warnings increased and travel cancellations loomed, I urged Allen to take an early train to New York. I packed a bag for him and hurriedly took him to the train bound for New York. Many others had similar ideas and after missing an overbooked train, Allen got on the last train to New York, arriving at 2:00 a.m.
After a few hours of sleep, Allen awoke and headed for the lab at Cornell to pick up the cells and head for LaGuardia. Drenched by pelting rain, Allen arrived at the hospital to learn that LaGuardia was closed for the remainder of the day. Allen called me and I put a crisis plan in action. I booked two different flights out of Newark airport and decided to rent a car, just in case. By the time the cells were ready, Allen dashed out of the hospital, box in hand, and hailed a cab for the airport. At that point, numerous exit points from the city were closed due to hurricane-induced flooding. Allen had to convince the cab driver that it was his obligation to get Allen to the airport despite his refusal to do so. By the time Allen got to Newark, both flights I had booked were cancelled and the airport closed. Rumors were flying about the lack of availability of rental cars, but Allen had his reservation number, headed to the rental car area and within hours was in the car with only a backpack and the cells from 19 preembryos in a styrofoam box and a map denoting the path from Newark, New Jersey to Detroit, Michigan.
On only four hours of sleep, Allen drove the more than 600-mile route through the eye of the storm. He stopped ½ hour outside of Detroit to call the researchers to advise them of his arrival and handed off the package at nearly 2 a.m., more than 10 hours after the original flight would have gotten him there, but an entire day before any flight could have delivered him and the cells. This heroic trip saved the cells from expiring and allowed us to have yet another chance to save Henry’s life.
Allen spent the night in Cleveland on his way back to New York and after a few hours of sleep, drove the remaining 8 hours to Newark where a shocked car rental attendant noted the 1200 miles driven in less than 26 hours. Leaving the kids safe with my mom, I got into my car and headed to Newark where I would pick up Allen and head to New York to await our test results… for the sixth time.
Of course what I did was nothing like the adventure that Amitai's daddy had trying to get their cells to Detroit. There was a blizzard. Planes were not going all the way to Detroit. Some very kind man sat next to Amitai's daddy on their flight from New York to Cleveland, which was as far as the planes could go. He volunteered to drive Amitai's dad and the cells through the snowstorm all the way to Detroit. He did it just because he was nice. He was a hero.
I wish I was sitting in bed with you right now listening to the rain. Joe is in bed with us. He is eating a cookie and getting crumbs on my side. It's okay because it make me think of you. You ALWAYS ate crackers on my side of the bed. Not Mom's side, just mine. I complained then, but I it's fine now.