Blog and public health and Random blog18 Sep 2017 12:44 pm

Hurricane Harvey came and left a lot of flooding in Houston.  I was very fortunate to get out of Houston when I did!  I would have been extremely bored sitting in an empty apartment all by myself with no TV, nothing to do, and the high potential for flooding/losing power.  I live close to Bray’s Bayou, so I was a little nervous about the potential for flooding.  With that in mind, I hopped on a bus to Dallas the day before the hurricane.  I was like “Class 4 Hurricane… I’m outta here!”  Dealing with a big storm  alone, no furniture/TV/entertainment, in a new city, with a physical disability… didn’t make sense for me to stay in Houston.   The bus ride to Dallas wasn’t that bad… I wasn’t in a hurry (took 4 hours) AND I got to experience downtown Houston for the first time! Very different from San Diego!  My friends picked me up in Dallas from the bus station and we went straight to a Mexican restaurant to get Tex-Mex Food.  Thus began my Dallas “Eating Quest.”  Dave’s parents from the Houston area were also in Dallas to escape Hurricane Harvey.  Mrs Chen is a phenomenal cook, so I was definitely well fed in Dallas!  I realized very quickly, that if I don’t check myself here, there is very large potential to gain a lot of weight!  Anyways, I finally returned to Houston the Friday after the hurricane flooding.  I was very lucky to come home to a dry apartment, but my furniture was still not there.   Thanks again Becca, Dave, lil Ethan, Mr. (now Uncle) Chen  and  Mrs. (now Auntie) Chen.  I feel like I have “family” now in an unfamiliar place.  I rode back to Houston with Uncle and Auntie and we stopped at this incredible BBQ restaurant Woody’s Smokehouse at a rest stop off the freeway!  A rest stop!  The BBQ Chicken, brisket, and smoked sausage were AWESOME! I couldn’t believe how crowded this rest stop was! As we drove through Houston, we could see the devastation pilled up outside of homes in the form of ruined furniture/personal items.  It is sad to think that many of those items were probably not covered by flood insurance… total loses!  I have been very impressed with the response and hospitality of the community in Houston post Hurricane Harvey.  Complete strangers offered me help, water/food, and assistance.  I definitely experienced the “Southern Hospitality”.  It is very easy to reciprocate the hospitality, but at the same time it is necessary to keep your guard up!   I’ve always been a quiet guy, but in the past few years I’ve been reborn as a patient advocate and nonprofit professional.  This rebirth has spurred my desire to become an advocate for those who are underserved or taken advantage of.

My first month in Texas has been full of curveballs, but over the past decade I’ve learned how to adapt to new challenges.  Just need a clear head to make solid decisions. I came back to the apartment in Houston WITHOUT flooding (which was a big relief), but I was powerless to do anything about my lack of furniture.  I came back to a dry but empty apartment.  I still didn’t have any furniture or extra clothes.   I was starting to get frustrated by the delays, and posted something on social media about it. Apparently someone called the movers and was extremely rude to them.  I appreciated the support, but the fact remained that they still held my stuff.  The first thing I did when I returned to Houston was buy a nice rug and borrow an air mattress. Hurricane Harvey was so severe that the start of school at UTHSC in Houston was delayed one week.  There was flooding at MD Anderson Center Cancer, and the roads were flooded to the hospital!   This was very important because how were people who needed medical attention supposed to access it?  How would the medical staff still at the hospital return to their families with all the flooding?  I’ve already heard stories of staying at the hospital and working extra shifts.  I also heard a story of a physician canoeing to work!  Crazy…  It was an adventure in itself trying to move my things from San Diego to Houston, but having no control on the delivery of my things amidst a natural disaster was extremely stressful!  My furniture finally arrived in Houston last week after almost 4 weeks and numerous delays!   This was very frustrating because the office would tell me that they would arrive on one day, but the movers would tell me something completely different  In addition, I was charged for storage, unloading/ re-storage at the holding facility, and redelivery to Houston!  The price of the move was already inflated, so more unexpected fees made things more expensive! I will definitely go through a BBB moving company, not a broker next time! Lesson learned.  However I still don’t understand why I was charged an extra $500 for storage, unloading/reloading, and redelivery due to a natural disaster that no one had control over.   No one could get into Houston the Wed after the hurricane… that’s part of the reason I wasn’t there!   I’m happy my stuff finally arrived and I can finally start focusing on school!   I can already forsee challenges with returning to school in a different academic discipline and a physical disability.  Mix in the unpredictable weather and mobility issues and things will be very interesting!  Rain and thunderstorms are in the forcast this week… I’m gonna get wet!  Bring it on!  LET’S ROCK THESE NEW CHALLENGE

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