Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sailor duck saves life.

Bay Area News reported that a rubber duck in the form of a sailor saved a 90-year-old woman's life this weekend.

Thursday, after Shirley Madsen had a riveting day at the casino she decided to have a bath before dinner.

"I only had an egg and a half of a pancake for breakfast," Madsen said. "When I got home I was trying to decide whether to have dinner first or take a bath."

According to Madsen's daughter, Diane Weber, Madsen leads a very active lifestyle, and it is not uncommon for her to miss her daughters phone calls during the day.

However, when Madsen decided to get out of the tub she could not lift herself. She stayed warm by continually draining and refilling the tub with warm water.

Too weak to use her hands as a cup, Madsen discovered that a rubber sailor duck had a hole in the bottom that would be sufficient for collecting water.

Madsen was discovered by Weber on Saturday when another daughter, Christine Steigelman grew concerned. Madsen returned home with dry skin, a deep tissue bruise and the equivalence of two bed sores.

"I will never get in another bathtub, ever," Madsen said.

With a laugh, she further advises: "Get a bunch of rubber duckies and make sure one of them can't swim."

Having a safety plan is important when many of us have older relatives that are beginning to show signs of aging. Madsen's daughter Steigelman said, "
We are close (family) and we had a routine, but we did not have a plan."

Madsen will be equipped with a waterproof medical alert device in case of this ever happening again. Unfortunately for some, it is too late, our elderly relatives may be too weak or confused to push the button on the device.

If you have an elderly relative, make sure you talk with your family to create a plan like Madsen's daughters did. If she doesn't answer their twice daily phone calls, a member of their family will go to her home and check on her.

For more information on medical alert devices, check out LifeStation's 11 tips, and an article in the NYTimes about the importance of research.

Flickr photo by Jo Naylor.

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