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Archive for May, 2009

Life…saving

Spring Break has come and gone, and with that my first away-from-home conference.  A week back to work, and then I was off to my second conference–the National Hurricane Conference.  This was nothing like my first one.

First of all, I was on crutches.  On the last day of the Homeland Security Conference, I twisted my knee.  Although that injury in itself hurt, it was minor.  However, it managed to inflame my arthritis, making the joint almost unusable.  So I spent the week back to my office between conferences going back to the doctor several times with several med adjustments along the way.  Finally got the meds right, and was on my way to feeling more human again.

The conference was information overload on hurricanes.  Wow.  Know way more than I ever wanted to know about them and how the information is processed, when to do evacuations, and all that is with that.  Very informative, very interesting, but a lot.  I really enjoyed the vendors again, and several of them were ones I had met at the DHS conference.  Some really great people.  And then I met one in particular that I was not only interested in, but also found that there might be a chance for a great partnership that will do wonders for my school’s Deaf students.  I am hoping that we will be able to work together.  The company can be found at www.DeafLink.com and it is an amazing company.

During that week, one morning we had to make a stop at the office because Robert said he had to pick something up.  Turns out, it was a letter for me.  I decided to share this with everyone, since this is going to be a big deal to me.  I didn’t feel the need for this at all, and was content with the simple thank you I had gotten before.  But this is what I got:

Ms. Jennifer C,

     On behalf of xxxx, Chief of Police, it is my great pleasure that I inform you that you have been nominated and selected to receive the xxxx University Police Department Life Saving Award.  This distinguished award is reserved for those xxxx University employees who participated in the saving of a human life if you had not intervened.
     You should be very proud and honored to received the xxxx University Police Department Life Saving Award.  The determination, fast thinking and commitment you displayed towards the saving of Sgt. Robert xxxx’s life is commendable.  You will be honored at an awards veremony to be held at the xxxx on May xx, 2009 at 10am.  Please have your family and friends join us in honoring your accomplishments.  We look forward to seeing you there.
     On behalf of Chief xxxx, myself, and the entire Executive Board, I congratulate you on the exceptional accomplishments you have achieved and encourage you to continue to strive for excellence in your career at xxxx University.

Sincerely,
xxxx
Chairman

 

Now, this letter was not expected, and honestly, I had done what I did because it was not only the right thing to do, but it was my best friend’s life at stake.  I don’t know what I would do without him, and can’t imagine a life without him being there for me (and vice versa).

I wasn’t able to dwell on this for long, since as soon as I got back from that  conference everything began to snowball.  I had tons of work to catch up on (to be expected…I was several weeks behind), and as soon as I thought I had finally caught up, the H1N1 virus reared it’s ugly head. 

For those of you who read my blog, you know that as soon as an emergency affects my university or looks like it will, my life comes to a screeching halt, I pack my bags, and move in with Robert and his family to help mitigate the situation.  That’s exactly what happened.  The last week in April I packed up, moved down there, and for two weeks watched the situation unfold.  I still am, but we are a bit more relaxed since the CDC has somewhat relaxed.  However, those two weeks were extremely stressful.  Simply put, an emergency such as a pandemic can hit our university at any time, but the one dreaded time that it can hit is in the final weeks of a semester when the finals and graduations are about to happen.  It is the worst possible time, and the one we (and many other universities) are least prepared for.  It is easy for us to tell sick students to go home (not to the dorms, as they all have connected air vents, community bathrooms, and common areas), and easy for us to go from self-serve dining to cafeteria style.  Easy to ramp up custodial and send home sick staff.  But what isn’t easy is trying to cancel or reschedule finals, figure out if we have to assign grades, having to deal with appeals and angry parents, and putting off graduations when parents and other family members have bought plane tickets and have hotel reservations.  Well, it seems like it would be easy, but the academic world is one that is extremely complicated.  Mind you, I am only three classes short of graduation, and I understand the frustrations that the students and parents have.  But I also have a different perspective.

This fall, I am taking two of the three classes I need.  I am planning to graduate next spring after my internship.  I don’t know, however, if that is going to happen.  Reason being is that I understand this pandemic.  If it follows the same path that the pandemic of 1918 follows, then we are in for a world of trouble.  As it is only summer school right now, we just got two more positive rapid flu tests from students (99% chance that it is the H1N1 virus).  Not good news.  But as the students travel and families travel across the globe during this summer, going to areas that are having their flu seasons just begin (and the virus a chance to mutate), they come back bringing this new and improved virus.  We don’t have a vaccine.  The death toll is rising, and my state has an extremely high number of cases, not to mention we border the country this virus originated in.  The second wave of a virus, this one due this fall, is always deadlier than the first.  The first is mild, a build up of sorts, followed by an extremely deadly version of the original virus.  Thus, I don’t know what to expect from this fall–I only know that I am going to be busy, and back to being a major clean freak.

For now, though, I am waiting, and seeing what this pans out to be.

The Awards Ceremony was held last week.  I was quite happy that Robert was there to present my award, especially since the day before I had had to call EMS again because we thought he was having another heart attack.  For the first time in 11 years, he was able to meet my parents, and they all got along like old friends.  I received a standing ovation, and was extremely embarassed.  When Chief handed me my medal and certificate, I was so nervous I knocked it out of his hand.  I gave up trying to shake his hand and just hugged everyone on stage.  Sadly, my husband missed it.  We both regret him not being there, since we all know that this was a once-in-a-lifetime award.  Still, I had my parents there and a close detective friend, too (who later wrote a letter commending the department for recognizing excellence within our ranks).  It was a nice ceremony, and I am proud to have been a part of it.

After Robert gave his speech, couldn't help but hug him...it was that or cry.

After Robert gave his speech, couldn't help but hug him...it was that or cry.

The day after the awards ceremony, a miricle happened…my best friend (female) had her baby!!  I was so happy for her, and he is absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  I adore him, and the second I saw him he won my heart.  I want to spend as much time with him as possible, and love that he loves me too.  His older siblings are also my heart’s joy (and by no means replace my own, they are just so close to my heart), and I think that this wonderful new addition rounds out their lovely family just perfectly.

Me and the beautiful boy

Me and the beautiful boy

So, as you can see, it has been such an emotional rollercoaster.  Many highs, many lows, and everything inbetween.

I have decided that I am probably going to create a new page that focuses more on what I do for my work, and that way I can seperate my work from my looming.  Much easier that way, and will help for those who really don’t care too much about emergency management.

Speaking of knitting, I have been working occassionally on my projects.  I have one that I am doing for my dear friend Dwayne, who wanted a cover for his tube for his night time breathing thing (can’t remember then name…ahh!!)  Still, it is well under way, and I am liking it so far.  I have also been working on tons of blankets and pillows, and have finished most of those.  My Christmas list is almost done, a first for me.  And that helps stress levels!!!

For now, I will go, but hopefully will be able to post a bit more often.  Just need to make the time…this is always a great outlet!!!  *hugs* to all!!

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