Woman, 91, Who Was Stranded for 2 Days After Falling at Home Ate Plant Soil in Order to Survive
Rosemary Frank, who fell at her Kempsey, Worcestershire home and was found by a volunteer bus driver, said doctors told her she was six hours from death
A 91-year-old British woman relied on eating plant soil for two days in order to survive after she fell while home alone and was unable to get up, according to local reports.
Rosemary Frank has volunteer bus driver Derek Cowdry to thank for saving her life after he decided to check on her when she missed her usual bus trip to the hair salon recently, The Worcester News reported.
Upon entering Frank's Kempsey, Worcestershire home that day, Cowdry, 75, discovered the elderly woman lying on her bedroom floor, where she had been for two days with nothing other than some plant soil to sustain herself, the outlet reported.
"All I know is that if Derek hadn’t had gone out of his way to help me, I would be dead," Frank told The Worcester News. "He saved my life, he is my knight in shining armor."
Though Frank knows Cowdry saved her life, she told the outlet she cannot recall exactly what happened leading up to that point.
"The last thing I remember was speaking with my daughter in Canada on Sunday night, the next thing I know it was Tuesday and I was in [the] hospital," she shared. "I don’t remember anything that happened for those two days or how I fell and injured myself."
"They found soil in my stomach so I must have eaten some in desperation to try and stay alive," she added, according to The Mirror. "The plant was a gift from my son, so I’m obviously very grateful for it."
Cowdry, who volunteers with Worcester Wheels, told The Worcester News that he immediately thought something was wrong when Frank failed to show up for her ride and decided to take action.
"It was unusual for Mrs. Frank to arrange a lift and not use it, so I popped over to check on her," he recalled. "There was no response, so I knocked on the neighbors' door to see if anyone had a key."
"Eventually I found someone who did have one, and we went over to the house together," Cowdry continued. "We found Mrs. Frank on the floor of her bedroom – she was barely conscious. I phoned an ambulance and she was taken to [the] hospital."
As it turned out, Cowdry's timing was impeccable, as doctors reportedly said Frank was just six hours away from death had she not been found. Frank also suffered three fractures to her right wrist and was severely dehydrated from the incident, according to the outlet.
After spending 10 days in Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Frank was discharged. She is now recovering at home with the help of her son Richard and other caretakers, The Worcester News reported.
"I also have carers come in twice a day to help me," she added to the outlet. "The NHS [United Kingdom National Health Service] has been wonderful, but of course, the hero of this story is Derek."
Speaking to The Mirror, Richard, 60, said he gave his mom the Madagascar Dragon Tree just days before the incident because he was moving and had no room to keep the plant.
"It was recently re-potted, otherwise it would have been dry as anything," he explained to the outlet. "We think she might have eaten it just to try and get any nutrients and moisture into her as she was so dehydrated."
"But as she can’t remember anything, we don’t know exactly what her intentions were. But we think it might have just been on instinct," he continued of his mom, who is a retired physiotherapist. "When you're six hours away from death, I imagine you'll resort to anything. It’s incredible, really, but Derek is really the life-saver here, not my plant."
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Dormston Cook, the manager of Worcester Wheels, echoed Frank and Richard's sentiments, telling The Worcester News in a statement: "We are so glad Mrs. Frank is recovering well and are so very proud of Derek for his dedication and courage."
The company, which provides transport for the elderly and people with varying abilities who cannot use public transport or have no access to transport, added in a Facebook post: "A remarkable act which truly embodies the spirit of Worcester Wheels. Thank you Derek for your intuition and kindness!"
Though he's being praised as a hero, Cowdry feels differently and believes his acts were nothing out of the ordinary.
"I don’t see what I did as a big thing. It is what, I hope, anyone would have done," he told The Worcester News. "I am just relieved that Mrs. Frank is recovering well."