Wow…what a weekend. I was sleeping Saturday morning when my youngest daughter came in my room to wake me up and ask me if I saw the emergency alert? As I tried to open my eyes and focus on her iPhone, this is what I saw…BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. My heart literally stopped. I tried to think. What do I do, what did I learn? Are we supposed to go somewhere? How much time do we have? Was it 5 mins, 10 mins? By this time I had actually lost at least half of my allotted time given…My mind went blank. I had to stay calm. I looked outside to the road that is usually very busy with cars and it was quiet. There were no cars.
My youngest daughter started to cry and my older daughter was calling from the gym. She was panicking and said everyone was literally running out to their cars and everyone at the mall was running out too. People were driving crazy, running lights and speeding. She ran from her car to our house. OMG!! Their friends were already at shelters and I wasn’t even aware we had shelters for this type of emergency.
I was trying to calm my youngest daughter and telling her everything would be all right. I was hoping and praying that this was all a huge mistake! My heart was beating a mile a minute. I called my mom to check on her, called my oldest daughter who was sleeping and didn’t know what was happening.
By this time I’m thinking, wait…it must have been at least a half hour and nothing happened but no new updates. I’m starting to feel a little better. We are still alive and I’m able to start thinking a little more normal. PHEW!!! The updates finally started to come and we were in the clear.
I’m pretty sure everyone in Hawaii had similar thoughts going through their minds along with that moment of fear. I have never had this feeling ever in my life!! Tsunami warnings, earthquakes, aborted landings, blown tires on a 747, landing gear malfunctions and even a fire in the cabin while in the air…I’ve experienced many scary moments as a flight attendant but nothing like this!
I actually had tears just start falling about a couple of hours after everything settled down once I dropped my daughter off at class. The initial shock of what had just happened and then moving forward with life as usual was a lot for me to take in I guess. Seeing and hearing how friends and family felt was very emotional. People called their loved ones to say I love you and even said their goodbyes which was just overwhelming for me to see.
I tried my best to stay calm once I saw the initial emergency alert but my body reacted and I went from 0-100 in seconds! I had that feeling in my stomach that hit me once I realized what was happening. It took me about a minute to regain my focus, calm myself down and try hard to figure out what to do. A fear that I have never ever imagined had just become a reality. I felt horrible that my kids were experiencing this and I can only imagine how scared they were! I really wanted to scream but needed to pull myself together. I literally felt helpless….almost frozen in time for a moment.
Living with Sjögren’s syndrome can be challenging and having a reaction to this emergency situation actually caused me to have a little flare. I normally work hard to control my body and how it reacts to stress but this was something I was unable to control. I actually didn’t realize how I had been affected until the day ended and I woke up on Sunday. I felt tired even though I slept about nine hours. My joints were achy and I was still in bed. My eyes were feeling a little dry and gritty too. I even felt a little brain fog. But…my symptoms subsided and by Sunday night I was getting back to my norm. I woke up this morning feeling fine.
I believe that making life changes over the past seven years has helped me to get healthier and handle any situation that might cause my body to react. Even though I wasn’t able to control the high level of stress, I was able to recover quickly and get back to my stable life living with Sjögren’s syndrome.
News reports have been telling us it was thirty eight minutes until we received an all clear from the State of Hawaii. Those were the longest thirty eight minutes of my life. I hope that we never have to experience anything like this again. I’ve learned a lot from this “human error” and will be educating myself. There were no protocols set up, it was very disorganized and everyone panicked. Being better prepared should that moment arrive and knowing how to help myself and my family feel safe is a goal. Knowing what the consequences might be and learning more about a potential missile threat will at least give me some peace of mind. Feeling blessed….
START EACH DAY WITH A GRATEFUL HEART!
Please remember everyone’s body is different and unique. Always discuss any areas of concern about your autoimmune disease with your doctor.
Hugs to all…..You can do it!
Don’t be afraid of failure. If you never try, you will never succeed.