A 91 year-old grandmother who fell in her home in the United Kingdom and was left stranded for two days managed to survive by eating soil from her potted plant, a Madagascan Dragon Tree.
The Mirror reported that doctors say that Rosemary Frank was about six hours from death when she was rescued last month by a volunteer who regularly drove her to the hair salon for her scheduled appointments. She had fallen in her home in Kempsey, Worcestershire two days before. Frank, a retired physiotherapist, remembers waking up in a pile of dirt after eating soil from her tree.
“The last thing I remember was speaking with my daughter Caroline in Canada on Sunday night. The next thing I know it was Tuesday and I was in a hospital,” said the grandmother, who was severely dehydrated and was left with a wrist fractured in three places.
“They found soil in my stomach so I must have eaten some in desperation to try and stay alive,” she continued. “The plant was a gift from my son, so I’m obviously very grateful for it.”
The soil was all over her face and fingernails, “so I’d obviously had a good go at the plant,” Frank said.
Derek Cowdry, the 75 year-old driver who found her, found Frank semiconscious on the floor after he decided to check on her when she missed her regular salon appointment.
“It was unusual for Mrs. Frank to arrange a lift and not use it, so I popped over to check on her,” he said. “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.”
Frank was rushed to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where she stayed for ten days for treatment.
“I don’t remember how I fell and injured myself. All I know is that if Derek hadn’t had gone out of his way to help me, I would be dead,” Frank said. “He saved my life, he is my knight in shining armor and I cannot thank him enough for what he did.”
Frank’s son Richard said he gave her the plant just days before she fell, only doing so because he was moving.
“It was recently re-potted, otherwise it would have been dry as anything. We think she might have eaten it just to try and get any nutrients and moisture into her as she was so dehydrated,” he said. “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. 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.”
Cowdry, however, doesn’t see himself as a hero.
“I don’t see what I did as a big thing,” he said. “It is what, I hope, anyone would have done. I am just relieved that Mrs. Frank is recovering well.”
As for Frank, she is now recovering at home with the help of her son.
“I’m still a bit unsteady on my feet but I feel much better and don’t need to use my walking frame as much,” she said.