Like A Hurricane

By Angela Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August is usually the hottest of the summer months in Halifax. This year though, with the rainiest and coldest summer in years, we’re only just now seeing August in its true form.

The warm August winds, although great for drying clothes hung on the line, means only one other thing: the Atlantic hurricane season is upon us.

The most famous of them all to hit Halifax was 2003’s Juan.

With only days to go until our wedding, my sisters got on a plane, before the closure of the airport and made it to Ontario just narrowly escaping Juan’s wrath.

The worst hurricane to hit the Canadian Atlantic coast, Juan was responsible for acres upon acres of damage and destruction, including major natural landmarks, provincial parks, and for the death of a rescue worker.

There have been several hurricanes since we have lived here. In fact the year we did move here there was what seemed to be one after the other after the other.

And although there weren’t many that hit land, last year was still no exception.

In August of last year we were walloped by a doozy that left us without power for 2 days.

Not terrible if you are in the city, but in the country, when you have a well supplying your water and the well pump runs on electricity, you better have remembered to fill the bath tub with water to assist in the flushing of the toilet. Also, it doesn’t hurt to fill up on bottled water for not only drinking but brushing teeth. And forget about showering, you just get used to sponging yourself down with tepid bottled water.

Good times.

By the second day of eating all the dairy we could handle in advance of it spoiling in the powerless fridge, we gave up and went out to the pub for food since they were one of the few with power in our area.

As we drove around we saw downed trees, power and cable lines and a lot of debris strew over the streets and yards.

It wasn’t the worst of storms but it was a big one that’s for sure.

Hurricanes, although everyone is aware of the season, are for the most part unpredictable.

Yes, you know if one is barrelling toward you, yes you know how fast it’s approaching and we all know there is even a measuring system to predict its strength and force.

And we know that they’re given names and because of that we’re able to remember how bad some of them have been.

But none the less, the actual damage is unpredictable.

Nobody ever knows if the spindly tree in the back yard that should have been cut down years ago will find itself slamming into your roof or front window. Nobody ever knows how high and damaging the waves will be this time. And no one knows how long the power will be out and if they have enough supplies in case the effects of the storm last a really long time.

And nobody knows why this time they were hit or why they were spared.

Living with MS is much like hurricane season.

All year long.

Nobody knows why some people develop MS while others don’t. Nobody knows why some people have mild cases of relapse-remitting that remain in remission for years.

Nobody knows why some people have faster cycling forms of relapse-remitting. Nobody knows why some with relapse-remitting graduate to Secondary Progressive and others don’t. And nobody knows why some people develop Primary progressive right off the bat.

And nobody has the cure.

And even more importantly, those with any form of MS have no idea when or where the next attack will come and what damage will be left in its wake.

Much like hurricane season, many will be ready and prepared only to be relieved from time to time when not much of anything has happened at all.

Many will face a wrath of nature that no amount of planning could have ever prepared them for.

So what do people who live in the path of hurricanes do?

They live, they breathe, they hunker down for the long haul, they rebuild if necessary only to do it all again.

But very few move away out of fear.

They adapt or die.

So, while I start making longer grocery lists that include canned goods, bottles of water, batteries and candles I am confident in the fact that I too am as prepared as I will let myself be for the next one, which has every chance of being the big one.

And when and if it comes I have but one thing to say.

You better bring it ‘cause you’ve met your match this time.