Saturday, June 20, 2009

Red Cross We Have An Emergency

Now that I've survived Part 1 of GI Joe's absence without calling the Red Cross, I think it's time to tell you about the time I did in fact call the Red Cross. I haven't always been as self sufficient as I was this time.

The year was 2000, the month was June AND July. At that time I was still a city girl trying to figure out the ways of the wilderness. Dakota was just a baby and the Koons Zoo was just a figment of my imagination as the only animals we had were dogs. GI Joe had to go off to Wisconsin for 3 weeks of training THEN he came home for about 6 hours and then was off to Texas for another 2 weeks of training.

Somehow I managed to survive the first 3 weeks (barely) alright. I wasn't happy about it and on more than one occasion cursed the stinkin' Army and my beloved husband's occupation. And by cursed I mean called them stinkin' and said things like "this sucks." Even at my worst I still kept it clean.

But the last 2 weeks, everything went to Hades in a handbasket. Beginning with my in-laws/neighbors and the rest of GI Joe's extended family leaving for a 10 day vacation to Yellowstone. They begged me to go with them but the idea of a vacation without my husband didn't sound very appealing so I stayed home. Bad move. My family lived in southern Missouri at the time so that meant I was on my own. Sure we had friends I could've called but I'm just a little bit proud and just don't like to ask others for help. Except of course the Red Cross.

That left Dakota & I alone on the prairie to fend for ourselves. I slept with a hatchet next to my bed every night because I was convinced that out in the country w/ no one around to hear screams for help, people died horrific deaths at the hands of crazed axed murderers. No, I don't have a vivid imagination, why do you ask?

Here's a brief recap of the events of those 2 weeks, summer of '00:
*A rabid possum took up residence under our front stairs and hissed at me everytime I tried to enter the house. Unfortunately, at that point I hadn't learned to use any assault weapons outside of my deadly scream, which oddly enough didn't phase the possum. Editor's sidenote: I DESPISE possums.

*The air conditioning in our house went awry and made our home a balmy oasis at a consistent temperature of 85.

*A cow got loose in our backyard.

*The neighbor's cattle who grazed in our pasture escaped and were trotting down the road in front of our house. According to rural rules, this was my problem not the farmer's.

*The well, our only means of water at that time, ran dry.

*A cat died under our back deck causing a stench that made my eyes water.

*My car battery died.

*I lost my one and only debit card.

*Dakota caught a flu bug and was either puking or crying for what seemed like days at at a time.

*I researched checking myself into a psychiatric ward at the local hospital.

Keep in mind all of these events and many more that have been erased from memory as a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, all took place while my entire support system was 24 hours away and GI Joe was out in a field somewhere playing war. The well running dry was the straw that broke the camel's back and when I officially hit my breaking point. I tried calling GI Joe's unit but couldn't reach anyone, obviously since they were out doing what he was doing. Then I called Camp Dodge and asked to speak with the General. You know my motto, "go big or go home". Well apparently, the General is a very busy man and was unable to speak with a mentally unstable civilian about her military husband's prolonged absence. Whatever dude. I blind dialed several different numbers to Camp Dodge and each time got someone who was less than helpful or just told me that there was no way to get ahold of GI Joe, that he would call when he was able.

I cannot remember now what prompted me to think to call the Red Cross. I might've seen it on Oprah or maybe saw it mentioned in one of the many military publications that come to our house. Who knows? But as a last attempt I called the local Red Cross. The conversation went a little something like this:

RC: Hi this is Red Cross. How can I help you?
PP (me): My husband is in the military and has been gone for awhile and I need to get a very important message to him.
RC: Is there an emergency?
PP: Yes, well kinda. I'm all alone in the country with a baby and everything that could go wrong is and I don't have anyone around to help (insert sobbing here) and I just need him to come home I can't take it.
RC: How long has he been gone and where is he stationed?
PP: (hiccup betweeen sobs) FFFF....fffou...four weeks and I CAN"T DO IT! I need him to come home!!! Right now!
RC: He's only been gone four weeks?
RC: Ma'am calm down, it's going to be fine. How much longer will he be gone?
PP: He has a week left. But I just can't do it anymore.
RC: You said you have a baby?
PP: Yes, and she's been sick and there's a dead cat and the well ran dry and there's a cow on the loose and.....
PP: Oh she's at daycare right now. So can you get a message to my husband to call because I need him to come home?
RC: So the baby is not with you right now? Uh Ma'am, you said he only has another week I'm sure he'll call when he can.
PP: No she's at daycare. This isn't about her. I just need my husband to come home NOW!
RC: I just want to make sure the baby is safe. Ma'am, alot of wives have to survive without their husbands for much much longer. You'll be fine, it's only another week.
PP: Yes of course the baby is safe, what is wrong with you? But you don't understand we both just need my husband to come home. What if I had a mental breakdown and was in the hospital, then could he come home?
RC: Uh Ma'am I think you need to calm down. It's only another week and it's not like he's off in the Middle East or something. (in other words, suck it up cupcake)
PP: (ragged breaths) Don't you think I've been trying? It's not easy. Just have him call home IMMEDIATELY.
RC: Yeah, ok, sure we'll do that.

I was outraged by their flippant attitude and went on strike against the Red Cross for a long time following.

Ummm seriously. What was the matter with me?

GI Joe happened to call the next day** and I told him all about my less than pleasant experience with the Red Cross. I thought he was going to go AWOL and move to Canada. Apparently, he was embarrassed by this? However, his Army buddies got hours of enjoyment out of it.

(*I have to admit that all this time I thought he had called because the Red Cross finally got the message to him but I just asked him to verify as I was blogging and he informed me that no, they never had gotten a message to him and that he had just happened to call that day. I CAN'T BELIEVE THE RED CROSS LET ME DOWN! HOW RUDE! The strike continues.... sorry hurricane victims.)

Now you can understand why surviving the past 2 weeks was such an accomplishment for me. And you can also see that you should join me in praying that he is never EVER deployed. Five weeks was pushing my limit. Fifteen months, I guarantee I'd be blogging live from the padded room in the Psych Ward.

To any woman who's husband is deployed w/ the military: You are my hero. If you need the Red Cross info call me, beyond that I'm not much help (obviously).

1 comment:

  1. I think I almost pee'd my pants while reading this from laughing!!