A gran who was hours from death after spending two days trapped on the floor of her home following a fall has told how she survived – by eating her POT PLANT.
Rosemary Frank, 91, managed to stay alive by eating soil from her Madagascan Dragon Tree after she was left stranded on her bedroom floor for 48 hours.
Doctors told her she was only six more hours from death before she was saved by a volunteer driver who found her at her home in Kempsey, Worcs., on October 13.
Derek Cowdry, who works for community transport service Worcester Wheels, said he decided to check on Rosemary after she missed her regular trip to the hair salon.
He discovered her semi-conscious on the floor with soil around her mouth and dialled 999 before paramedics rushed her to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Gran-of-two Rosemary was severely dehydrated and had fractured her wrist in three places and medics told Derek he had undoubtedly saved her life.
Following a 10-day stay in hospital she is now recovering at home with the help of carers and her 60-year-old son Richard.
Retired physiotherapist Rosemary said she remembered coming to face down in a pile of dirt with soil around her mouth.
Richard said he believes his mum had instinctively eaten the soil from the nearby plant in order to sustain herself.
Mum-of-two Rosemary said: “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 hospital.
“But I do recall coming to face down in a pile of soil with it all around my mouth and face. I must have been a right sight for sore eyes.
“They found soil in my stomach so I must have eaten some in desperation to try and stay alive. The plant was a gift from my son, so I’m obviously very grateful for it.
“The dirt was all over my face, mouth and underneath my fingernails so I’d obviously had a good go at the plant.
“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.
“He saved my life, he is my knight in shining armour and I cannot thank him enough for what he did.
“I am now at home getting better with the help of Richard. 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.
“I also have carers come in twice a day to help me, the NHS have been wonderful, but of course, the hero of this story is Derek.”
Richard, who lives in Knighton, Powys, Wales, added: “It was a very frightening time and we are just grateful Derek found her.
“I had only been up the weekend before as I was moving house and I didn’t have room for some plants, so I brought my mum the dragon tree.
“It was recently repotted 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.
“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.”
Driver Derek, 75, said: “It was unusual for Mrs Frank to arrange a lift and not use it, so I popped over to check on her.
“There was no response, so I knocked on the neighbours’ door to see if anyone had a key.
“Eventually I found someone who did have one, and we went over to the house together.
“We found Mrs Frank on the floor of her bedroom – she was barely conscious. I phoned an ambulance and she was taken to hospital.
“I don’t see what I did as a big thing, it is what, I hope, anyone would have done. I am just relieved that Mrs Frank is recovering well.”
Dormston Cook, manager of Worcester Wheels, added: “We are so glad Mrs Frank is recovering well and are so very proud of Derek for his dedication and courage.
“The people we transport are more than just passengers, they become friends and our drivers know them and their routines.
“When something out of the ordinary happens they are usually on the ball and we are so glad Derek was on this occasion.”