Monday, May 02, 2011


Between Harrison and Marshall on US Hwy 65
headed to Little Rock. Note clouds hanging
over mountain range peaks.
Have you looked up the definition of sirens lately? Believe me, I was shocked to see my idea of a siren is way down to 3b: a device often electrically operated for producing a penetrating warning sound <an ambulance siren> <an air-raid siren -. It must be an AGE related shock.

US Hwy 65 between Harrison
near a little
town, Botkinburg.
 We traveled 150 +/- miles to Little Rock for an appointment with a specialist in electrophysiology cardiology April 26. As usual we travel the day before and stay in our preferred motel chain, La Quinta Inns, for two nights, returning the third day. This necessitates boarding our beloved Luckie at her non-favorite spa, All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, the kennels of which include veterinarian supervision. The kennel attendants love her; she is always at the run door wanting petting and attention.

Monday, April 25th and 26th were both days the wave of serious storms crossed Arkansas. It was raining as we left home and traveled to the vet hospital. It continued to Harrison but we had a dry, dreary drive as far as Clinton, then it commenced the rain again. We stopped at my husband's favorite buffet in Conway, Ryan's, for lunch. None of the rain was stormy, just rain, at times, heavy.

We arrived at our destination in light rain around 2:30 p.m. and checked in. We had packed treats, so we only ate out once a day. But as the afternoon and evening progressed,there were interludes of some sun, which increased both temperature and humidity, all bad news by us who have lived through tornado seasons.

We followed this 'home on wheels' bus
and pickup out of Clinton headed north
several miles on Wednesday after
 breakfast at Huddle House.
This area is near Marshall. 
 The constant weather stations were alerting parts of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri of severe thunderstorms, as well as a wide area of of slight risk. Little Rock was slap-dab in the middle of the red area on the map.

I kept peeping out the window at the clouds. Being from Texas, I had seen all sorts of tornado clouds.  Besides the color and sometimes rotation of clouds, an ominous period of NO or very slight wind precedes the event of severe thunderstorms which may contain tornado possibilities.

By the way, I have seen WHITE tornadoes besides the black funnel and wall clouds.

In early evening the TV began issuing warnings for Conway, 40 miles+/- from west Little Rock, where we were. The storm was tracking in a classic SW to NE trek for tornadoes.

Although this is a terrible photo,
see the deteriorating elements:
rain, fog and  car motion and a
camera nut thinking she can make
something out of it. This shot
is north of Clinton near Leslie
as we headed home. 
 When all of Little Rock was added to the mix I started watching the wind. Sure enough it began to pick up and the sirens began to whine, scream, and intensify in pitch and length. It seemed they would never end.
I had already determined I was going to camp in the handicapped equipped bathroom. It had no mirrors or much that could fly around....well maybe the toilet paper, towels and tiny bars of soap.

As the sirens wailed, I grabbed my Kindle and a pillow and skedaddled to the toilet. Why not the bathtub/shower? I have artificial knees. If I sat or lay down in the tub, it probably would take a crane to get me out. So I sat on the toilet with the pillow on my head, reading my Kindle. What was I reading? THE SHACK, which I had started a few days before. I finished it in my unconventional "tornado shelter" and started another.

Pardon My Window Wiper!
This is the long hill after Botkinburg
Where there is a runaway ramp.
It is barely visible-the brown
sand after the crooked
curve sign.
 How long did I sit on the 'throne?' Well, it seemed like two hours, but I doubt it. The tornado touched down around the Little Rock airport, well south of most of Little Rock. However, the Conway tornado missed Conway but tracked across I40 to a small town-Vilonia where there was at least one death, and threatened areas around Jacksonville where there is an Air Force Base.

And where was husband? Like many men (so I've been told) he was standing by the WINDOW watching the storm---just like my Dad used to do--family in the cellar, only breadwinner above ground watching the storm.

I highly recommend The Shack, and another short read, GIVE IT ALL TO HIM (Max Lucado). I have started a classic now, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Jane Austen, which is free to Kindle owners.

And the purpose of our visit, THE APPOINTMENT, was anti-climatic. The appointment was made in February when it seemed the high-powered, somewhat dangerous drug was not very effective; also before my Advanced Nurse Practitioner decided to discontinue one medicine, a stomach proton pump drug called Nexium; instantly, the drug Tikosyn and also many other medicines, including two blood pressure drugs increased to near 100% in effectiveness.

Verdict: No procedure in immediate future. The Tikosyn is one of several drugs which block the errant electrical impulses which cause arrhythmias. All have dangerous side effects, but so does heart fibrillations: strokes, heart attacks, clotting, death. These drugs eventually become ineffective; the heart finds a way around them.

The downside is this specialist does not accept Medicare assignment. As I am aware of what that means, I will be searching for a similar specialist in the interim.

The storms were moving northeast. It
had stopped raining,so we took AR 235
20+/- miles north of Marshall, going
through the Bruno community to
Yellville. We're getting closer to
home, after I bailed Luckie
out of the spa. These  clouds
were a little more blue grey
than this shot photo shows.
The trip home was nearly a repeat of the journey to Little Rock, with an added of period dense fog mixed with rain between Clinton and Marshall. We saw the area along I40 where the Vilonia tornado crossed. There were a lot of snapped pines and other trees.

Photos in this blog were, of course, taken in a moving vehicle through rainwashed window. A few were totally unusable, but you will get the somber mood of our trek, except I was relieved by my temporary 'stay of execution'-no procedure in the immediate future, and more importantly we arrived home unscathed by weather or driving hazards.

Arriving home, we found all the major lakes in our area are at or above their maximum flood levels and gates are beginning to be open. Bull Shoals Lake is the last in a chain of five lakes in the White River Basin. When the upper four lakes reach flood levels, and each releases water through its flood gates, guess where it ends up? Unfortunately, when Bull Shoals begins to release water, areas all the way to the Mississippi River may be affected with high water and flooding.

No matter how dismal this trip may seem, it cannot ever surpass the suffering of the people of Tuscaloosa, AL. Pray and help if you can, either as a volunteer, or in donations. Every penny counts and every prayer is heard.


Arkansas Patti said...

Now that was a well shot and related trip. I recognized all of the areas and am just sorry that you had to travel through all the mess. You drove right into the mouth of the dragon.
Had to laugh at the bread winner sticking his head in harms way. They do that don't they?
It has really been a bumpy ride lately and we are not finished I guess. More coming today.
I am glad you have been spared the proceedure for now but hate that not accepting assignment thing. I fear that is a coming thing for a lot of doctors. Not fair.
Hope you miss todays mess and that the flooding is not too bad for Ar.

Sandi McBride said...

SO glad you came thru the storms relatively unscathed! Yes, Mac would have been at the window and I'm afraid to say, so would I. I often stood with my grandfather and watched storms and LOVE them! By the way, the new meds that Mac is on for his Afib (I'm pretty sure it was you whose hubby also has this) are: Pradaxa the cumedin replacement and Multaq for the rapid heart rate (the afib) He's had good results so far...


Mumsy, Chancy and Co. said...

I am glad you made it safely to LR and back home safely. Nasty weather all around during that time. Now all the flooding.

I have read "The Shack" and enjoyed it. My brother bought the book and sent for me to read a few months ago.

Hope you will be able to find another doctor, a good one that will accept Medicare.

Take care of yourself and stay safe. Hugs

Betty said...

Glad you escaped the twisters and returned home safely. We watched the weather news all evening. I'm afraid I'm a lot like your husband - very likely to go outside and watch for the tornado.

faye said...

Good to hear that you are once again
safe at home. Glad the medicine is working.

Pat - Arkansas said...

When I lived in Harrison, and my parents lived near Little Rock, I traveled that same road many times. I'm glad to say that the highway itself has improved greatly since those days, but still no fun to travel under the conditions you encountered. Glad you made it down here and back safely, and that the scary procedure can be delayed for the time being.

I've been "puny" with a bad bronchial infection and in bed or asleep in the recliner during much of the storms. I was happy to see a glint of sunlight this morning and hope the seemingly interminable rain is over.

flowerweaver said...

I'm glad you were safe! Also good to hear you won't need a procedure. I see a lot of my doctors are dropping Medicare patients, so I'll have nothing to look forward to when I get there. As it is many of them are no longer taking Blue Cross which we are stuck with as teachers.