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Editor's Note: With all the very serious and sad weather-related news, this is a lighthearted submission about the snowy winter of 2010-2011. From visiting Ohio a lot this past winter, I can attest to the problems it caused. Maybe next winter we will get a break!!

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The "snowtacular" of 2010-2011 will certainly be memorable for the visiting nurses who serve the public. I peeked out my living room window at the nearly 2 feet of snow; I knew I had to rush to dig out my car and that my travel times to my patients would be doubled at best. "It is a state of emergency!!" said my husband. "Even the mail people are staying home."


"Not nurses, we are essential personnel. I have to go," I responded. As I donned my sweater, coat, knee-high boots, and gloves, I felt prepared for the challenges of the day. Little did I know...?


I was pretty winded after 2 hours of shoveling, digging, and scraping to rescue my car from the snow bank that buried it. As I turned up the defrosters and peered through the windshield I realized I could barely see across the street, fog hung over the street, limiting visibility, and large flakes threatened to re-bury my car. Cranking up the heat, I eased out of the driveway and onto the road. "Slow and steady wins the race," I thought. Maintaining a triple distance from the car in front of me, I eased down the ice-caked streets toward my first patient's home. Slowly driving, I couldn't believe my luck as I caught up with a huge plow truck that was clearing the road and spreading sand and salt. Happily I followed him for a mile, when he pulled over and waved me to pass him. Perplexed, I carefully eased past him praying that the slush wouldn't cake on my wheels and stall me in the middle of the road. I continued down the road and glanced in my rear view mirror; the plow truck was following me!!


Suddenly, I heard the crack and pop of a gun. I jumped and my eyes scanned the tree-lined streets for hunters or deer. Behind me, an enormous branch caked with ice had broken off a tree and fell onto the road, missing me by inches. The plow truck stopped. I kept going. Plop. Plop. Plop. Wet snow started falling in clumps from the trees. I turned up the windshield wipers. Now I noticed the fallen branches that were strewn across the lawns I passed.


Forty-five minutes later, I arrived, from a trip that normally would have taken 15 minutes. The mailboxes were buried and the house numbers were not on the houses. The house numbers were on the street curbs that were now shrouded in white. Thankfully, I had been here before and looked for the Christmas wreath with the gold balls, hoping it was still on the front door. As I eased along the mounds of snow looking for the house, I saw a piece of large cardboard mounted to the front door with the words "We live here" written on it. I laughed; thankfully, I had called the night before to schedule my visit. I slowly pulled into the snow-filled driveway because street parking is not allowed when it snows. I reached for my computer and pushed on the door to open it. The door wouldn't budge. I pushed with all my weight. The door moved a half inch. I was trapped. I put the computer back on the passenger seat and started the car to pull back into the street. The car wouldn't move. Rocking back and forth for several minutes, I was ready to give up and call a tow truck. One more try, I thought; I took a deep breath, and rammed the car in reverse and it flew back into the street. Releasing the breath, I decided to park on the street.


Grabbing my computer from the front seat, I steeled my self against the wind to get my blue nursing bag out from the trunk. Using my fist to help free the lock from its frozen shell, I finally got the key inserted into the lock and opened the trunk. As I lifted the trunk, ice slid off the back windshield into my supplies. Thankfully, the bandages and catheter kits were in plastic containers with lids, but all my admission packets were dusted with crystal shards of ice. I hurriedly brushed them off and turned to enter the house. I realized, "Sick people do not shovel their walks." As I forced my way up the center of the driveway to the front door, I realized two things. First, the ground was a sheet of glass under the snow and that I needed ice skates. Second, the snow had drifted, and my knee-high boots were too low-I needed thigh-high boots!! Did they make thigh-high ice skates for nurses? The snow slid into my boots, melting on contact with my warm skin and saturating my socks.


As I reached the front door, there was a make-shift board covering the steps as a ramp. The board was covered in ice and I reached for the nearby tree branches to pull myself up the ramp. I knocked on the door; the family said, "You came."


"Of course I did." I responded. "Driving is okay, but walking is a bit dangerous."


"While you visit Mom, we will go shovel the walk". As I shook the snow off my legs and boots before entering; I heard the garage open and the sound of a snow blower being powered up. I visited Mom and delivered the needed skilled care. It was time to return to my winter wonderland. The snow blower had revealed an ice-caked path of bricks. I carefully slid down the makeshift ramp and started down the path resolving to buy cat litter for the next storm and keep it in the trunk.


Then the thing I feared the most happened. My feet went left and body went right. Down I went into a snow bank at the end of the driveway. As I sunk into fluffy snow I realized my bag and computer were weighing me down and I could not get up. I waved my arms and legs trying to get some leverage to get up but all to no avail. I could feel my cell phone pinching my waist, but my sweater and coat caused my arms to have limited bendability so I could not reach it. I thought I was trapped until spring came.


In the distance, I saw a man with a snow shovel over his shoulder walking down the street looking for work. I lifted my leg and yelled "Help!!"


He laughed and headed in my direction. "Looks like you're stuck until the thaw," he said as he reached a hand to pull me up. As I gained my feet, snowflakes matted my clothes. Grateful to be upright again; the man said, "Look, an Angel in the snow." I glanced back at the indent in the snow, clearly showing the pattern of a snow angel.


"Thank you for helping me," I said. The man said, "You're a nurse?" and I nodded. He smiled and said, "I mean, you-you are the Angel in the snow." Heartwarmed, I began my journey to my second home visit.