APEC 2011- Day 1

Today was spent mostly getting prepped for APEC. Sad, but true. I wanted to make sure: 1) my place would be okay for two days; 2) I had taken care of stuff like my student loans that went into repayment this weekend; 3) I had things in place just in case something bad actually happened on Oahu.

Keely was with her friend, so I didn’t have to worry about her. I did make sure to go by and give her several big hugs though. She thought I was crazy, and I was thinking that it could be the last time I saw her if anything went wrong. I know it probably sounds silly, but after seeing Thrive, and thinking that just the next night, on an isolated little island in the middle of the Pacific, some of the most powerful people on the world were convened…..it was possible stuff could go wrong.

My flight left at 6pm, and I was there too early. I saw a guy in the DMAT shirt, so introduced myself. His name was Leo, and we would hit it off over the weekend. Us Maui folk have to stick together! We flew into Honolulu, took a shuttle to our hotel and checked in, then was shuttled by other DMAT folk to HQ where I got some military issue pants and an official shirt, and then off to our site. WOW! I would have gotten pics of the whole site, but it was already nighttime (our shift was 9pm to 9am). The day crew had put up a decontamination tent, a triage tent complete with cots and first aid kits, another tent for non-critical patients, and then 2 adjoined tents for the critically ill. It was amazing how much was set up. We also had the pharmacy completely separate.

There were DMAT folks from Washington (Seattle area) on deployment as well. The youngest of them had a birthday, so we started off the night with a cupcake cake, complete with candles, singing, and a Hawaiian gift of a grass skirt and coconut bra. Yes, he wore them, and I helped him get into them! Images from episodes of M.A.S.H from my childhood kept flashing through my head. All the team members were ready to be put to work, and we had 17,000 doses of doxycycline and ciprofloxacin that needed to be separated. And I was in charge. I gave one of the gals several boxes of small envelopes and the labels for the doxy. By the time I got into the tent where they were all working, one each to a cot, they had finished a large portion. I then started recruiting people to come and separate and pack the doses. Things were going so fast I could hardly keep up. I was amazed at the level of teamwork, and the POWER of so many people working together for the same goal. 

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At some point after midnight, pizza came, and most people kept on working. By 2:30am, I finally had the pharmacy to myself, and I laid my head down to sleep, but it was freezing cold and uncomfortable. I woke up around 5am to people outside talking around coffee and malasadas. I must have been dead asleep, because I was stumbling trying to walk to the bathroom….on the far end of the dark parking lot. Eyes were puffy and hair mussed… definitely not a good night’s rest. We made sure everything was clean for the next shift, then headed to our hotel at 9am….. and that’s where another day starts and this one ends….

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