David and Glenda Young await news from Houston, where their son, Davey and his wife Lindsay, live and work among the chaos of Hurricane Harvey. / Loretta Gillespie
MOULTON – As flood waters recede in Houston, and the full scale of the disaster is revealed, David and Glenda Young, of Moulton, sit glued to their television and by their phone, waiting for more news of their son, Davey, and daughter-in-law, Lindsay.
Both Davey and Lindsay are young medical professionals in Houston's world-famous medical complex – Davey, 38, at Texas Children's Hospital and Lindsay,33, at Texas Women's and Children's Hospital.
Davey, who attended school at Austin High, in Decatur, and college at the University of Alabama, set out to see the world soon after graduating in 2001.
He signed on with Operation Smile, traveling to Africa twice to work with children born with cleft palettes. "He loves working with children," said his dad. "He says that often people will bring their children in hopes of having surgery that will give them a more normal life, riding two or three days or walking long distances, only to find that the doctors can only do two hundred surgeries, leaving hundreds more in despair."
"I sure would hate to be the one having to make those decisions," said David Young with a shake of his head. "Davey says that parents are the same the world over, they just want what's best for their children. He's seen them travel for hours, some for the first time in a motorized vehicle, to try to get help for their children."
Davey's travels have also taken him to the jungles of Vietnam, he's walked the Great Wall of China, seen the mountains of Peru, and the tropical beaches of the Phillipines. But these were never vacations for pleasure, they were working trips that resulted in children's smiles.
Davey's first degree was as a child life specialist. After meeting Lindsay, who is an RN in Houston, he went back for an additional degree as a registered nurse.
The couple married in 2012, and are expecting their first child, a girl, in January. And now, they watch the news like everyone else, wondering if the water encroached upon their home in Sugarland, about 30 minutes from the hospitals where Davey, a member of the Texas Children's Hospital Rideout Team (formerly the Disaster Response Team) is at work for what could turn into days of caring for refugees from the storms and flooded streets of a city under siege from the relentless rains that seem to have stalled over the sprawling metropolis, the fourth largest in the United States. Seven million people live in the affected area. In excess of 50 inches of rain has been recorded.
Cullman County residents will be familiar with some of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, but not so much with the horrendous flood waters unleashed on the flat plains of Texas. People were on rooftops for days, waiting for someone to help them to safety.
As the floodwaters recede from the beleaguered area, the staff of Texas Children's Hospital is busy taking care of the smallest of the city's residents. Not only are they taking care of their regular patient load but refugees who stagger in from the streets and patients who are being transferred from hospitals which are in the flood evacuation zones. Some of them were cut off from their families by the raging waters, others are surrounded by loved ones who were able to get to them or were already there for some other reason.
One of the most common ailments the hospital treats is shock. That and hypothermia caused by hours spent in the water.
They also see cuts from broken glass or floating metal. Fire ants use anything solid as a raft to float everywhere imaginable. Alligators have been spotted in the water, and snakes will soon follow. There are all kinds of bacteria in the water, as well. Exposure, though, has become a daily fact of life for the medical staff. "They told me that I would be here for as long as four days," Davey told his dad. "Now I might be staying for a lot longer; there might be nothing left to go back to."
The catastrophic rains have put his home in an evacuation zone. Lindsay, who was at home when the warning came, is now at the home of a friend's parents. Her father tried to get to her but could not get around the barricades; however, friends found a way in from another direction. They have no phone service and the power is out.
"Davey has a good head on his shoulders," said David Young. "I know he will take care of himself and Lindsay and anyone else who is in his care."
Glenda gave her oldest son over to the Lord long ago. "I had to; I am concerned, but I know the Lord will take care of them. I hate that they might lose everything they have, but their safety is the important thing."
With 54 counties declared disaster areas, more than 12,000 people rescued, and no end in sight, cresting water levels at what is being described as a 500-year flood, bayous flooding even the most remote areas of Harris county, the situation is grim.
Davey has been at the hospital since Friday, and says it is still pretty dry there. In a phone call to his mother Tuesday night, he said, “People are seeing snakes in their homes. The I-10 through Houston is still complexly under water. People are crowded into shelters.”
Two million gallons of gasoline are now behind schedule, the refineries closed down for the duration, and predicted prices of more than $.32 a gallon more than when this devastation began, people everywhere will be affected, not just the ones on the flood plains.
This event has been predicted to be the worst disaster in the history of the U.S.
Even veteran newscasters are amazed at the situation. As television screens continue to show footage of homes underwater, of people waiting for days to be rescued, a family of six missing, and lives lost totals climbing hour by hour, people are running out of food, clean water and dry clothing. Rescue workers are working round the clock, and are exhausted. And unlike tornadoes, it goes on and on…
As newscasters warn people to get on their roofs, spread sheets to show their locations, and boats troll for survivors, or for bodies, the sense of all of this being surreal deepens. At least with a tornado, you are usually dry by the following day.
Davey and Lindsay need your prayers for their city, their patients and themselves.
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