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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

Ingenuity gets woman help she needs

Sunday, February 11, 2007

While visiting Bolivar last weekend, I learned of a news account about a 68-year-old woman and her trials during the ice storm.

The power went off on Sunday, and she also lost the phone service. She related she had propane heat and a stove, so at least the house was toasty warm. By Monday, she knew she was running out of drinking water, so she boiled some on the stove. Thinking she had more than she needed, she decided to pour some out. In the process, she stumbled and the pot of hot, boiling water spilled on her lower leg, resulting in third-dgree burns.

She related, "I had on long flannels and sweats and I couldn't get my shoe off; it was so hot!"

Since she had no phone service inside the house, she stepped outside and began to yell for help. Unfortunately, there was so much noise from generators and chain saws, no one could hear her. She went back inside and cut the leg out of her sweat pants. She went to get her cell phone, but since there had been no electricity to charge it, it was dead and didn't work.

She decided she needed to get a message to the neighbors. Owning a Jack Russell Terrier named "Jack," she wrote a note and attached it to the dog's collar. The note read, "Barbara, I need help. Come up quick." She then told Jack to go see Barbara, referring to one of her neighbors. Jack took off but didn't come back. Apparently, the neighbors were all outside in their back yards playing with their dogs, so Jack began to just play along. Finally, Barbara noticed the note on Jack's collar and the neighbors all raced to the aid of the 68-year-old woman. Barbara went home and called a registered nurse who works at the hospital and was willing to come check on the woman. Then, using the cell phone, they called an ambulance and got her to the burn unit in St. John's in Springfield, where she was hospitalized for seven days. In spite of the terrible accident, Jack did go see Barbara, and the woman's ingenuity got her the much-needed help.

Dick Hedges
Fort Scott Community College