Woman hurt in fall goes home

Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2004

After spending six days on the floor of her bathroom following a fall in September, 81-year-old Doris Oglesby was found alive by Soldotna Police Officer Mark Berestoff, who called medics and had her rushed to the hospital.

Having survived the harrowing ordeal, Oglesby's only wishes for this Christmas are to be able to walk a little better and to have "God take care of everybody and protect them during the holidays," she said on Monday.

"This should be a season of joy. There should be peace," Oglesby said.

On Sept. 26, Oglesby fell in the bathroom of the Soldotna home where she has lived alone since her husband died about 20 years ago.

In the fall, she broke her hip and was unable to move because of the pain.

The longer she lay there, the worse things got.

One arm was pinned beneath her and she could not even get to the sink to get a drink of water.

As hours turned into days, her muscles became numb and she got weaker.

Outside, newspapers piled up in the driveway; her lights burned 24 hours a day and nobody noticed.

Several thousand miles away, Oglesby's daughter, Carolyn Zibolsky, 64, of Appleton, Wis., began to worry.

Zibolsky usually telephoned her mother daily, missing only once in awhile when her "very independent" mother was busy running errands and doing church business on the Kenai Peninsula.

Finally, on the sixth day of not connecting with Oglesby, Zibolsky called the police, and Officer Berestoff responded immediately, heard the elderly woman's faint cry, kicked down the door and saved her.

She was rushed to Central Peninsula General Hospital, where surgery was performed on her hip once she was stabilized.

Oglesby was then transferred to Heritage Place for post-surgery care and recovery, and was finally sent home last week.

"I still can't walk on that one leg," she said Monday.

"I can put weight on it, but I can't get the motion going. I have a couple of walkers and a wheelchair to get around the house."

Though she can attend to her own personal care such as bathing and grooming, she said neighbors and people from her church - Family Church of God in Kenai - are bringing meals, doing laundry and helping her around the house.

"I'm just overwhelmed," she said.

"We just don't know how much thanks we owe God and all the good people around us.

"We think we don't need other people, and then something like this happens," Oglesby said.

She also said she never thought she needed a medical alert device such as Lifeline service.

"I've got neighbors living right here, but they never noticed my papers piling up or my lights on day and night," she said.

Oglesby has since become a subscriber to Lifeline medical alert and recommends it for others.

"It only costs about $40 to install. That's cheap insurance," she said.

Keri Stout, Lifeline coordinator at CPGH, said the hospital waives the installation fee, and charges the $40 monthly fee only.

"We don't want people to get hit with an $80 fee when they start, so we just charge the monthly fee," Stout said.

Subscribers wear either a pendant or wristband that has a personal help button they press when in need of help.

Although Lifeline is not covered by Medicare or most insurance companies, the service can be paid for through Medicaid. It can be arranged through a health care coordinator or by contacting CPGH.

"I know there's a reason all this happened," said Oglesby.

"I have so many people to thank - the police officer, the nurses, my doctor, the neighbors and people from church.

"There are just wonderful people around here," she said.



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