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College Station family fights cold and the clock

Posted at 8:32 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 17:11:00-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Tens of thousands of residents in the Brazos Valley are still without power, as many families try to pack up their belongings and go to a local hotel, but it’s not that simple for the Cox family of College Station.

“We can’t take Kyle to a hotel unless one of us goes because he’s got to be turned throughout the night, and he can’t go to the restroom on his own or bathe, or anything like that,” says Kristen Cox of College Station.

Kyle Cox, Kristen’s son, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which affects most of his muscles throughout his body, in order for him to sleep throughout the night, he needs power for his bi-pap machine.

The Cox residence, like so many others in Brazos County, have been without power.

“So, for the last two nights we put the mask on, and we have power, but if the power goes out, he can’t breathe at all because he has a mask on his face, so he screams for us to come to take the mask off,” said Kristen.

With a degenerative muscular disease, Kyle’s bi-pap machine gives him 14 out of 22 breaths every minute, allowing him to sleep throughout the night. Kyle has now gone two nights without it, causing a lot of stress on his lungs.

“It makes it very hard to breathe and with the cold, we’re trying to keep everything covered, including your face. And then in the morning, when I wake up, I feel very fatigued. I wake up with a sore throat and cough, so it really does affect me in a negative way,” says Kyle.

The Cox family doing all they can to stay warm, and take advantage of the little spurts of power they’ve been getting throughout the day

“When my feet get cold, it’s hard to warm them up because there's not a lot of circulation going,” says Kyle.

“Yeah, the circulation in his feet has been affected by the muscular dystrophy, so when the power comes on, it heats this heating pad to the highest, and when it goes out, we wrap the heating pad around his feet,” says Kristen.

The American Red Cross says, typically, in weather emergencies, those with disabilities are top priority in getting to a warm powered hotel room. However, given the widespread power outages throughout Brazos Valley, the Red Cross says, going to one of the local hospitals, may be the best option for those in serious need of power.

“Right now, for those people who have a critical situation for their health, then 9-1-1 and the hospital accommodations are appropriate,” says AJ Renolds, Executive Director, American Red Cross Heart of Texas Chapter.

But for someone like Kyle, a hospital is the last place he needs to go.

“We’ve had friends offer to take us in, we can’t leave the house completely unoccupied because of his animals, so I wouldn’t go to the hospital. There's just a lot of illness. They are great places for some people, but not for people just trying to warm up,” says Kristen.

Another obstacle the Cox’s have faced is Kyle’s pets, which include leopard geckos and saltwater aquariums. Due to the lack of power, his pets are struggling to stay warm.

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Cox’s still experiencing power outages, like so many others in the Brazos Valley