McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

October 31, 2013

Quadruple amputee regains independence after tornado-related illness

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — Louella Aker survived a deadly tornado in southern Indiana last year with little more than a scratch, but the aftermath of the storm cost her all of her limbs and nearly took her life.

Now, the 66-year-old quadruple amputee is regaining her independence in a new home built to accommodate her disability. The exact cause of the disease that took Aker's extremities is still a mystery, but doctors believe it may have been a rare bacterial infection brought on by the March 2, 2012 tornado, an EF4 storm that leveled schools and businesses, killing 13 people in southern Indiana.

On the day of the storm, Aker recalls seeing the funnel cloud barreling toward her home in Henryville, Ind.

"When you see them on TV, they're always white," she said. "This was the dirtiest funnel cloud I had ever seen. I mean, it was just black. When I heard it roar — and it truly does roar like a freight train — I had never heard that before, it was frightening. We all hit the basement."

Aker and her family rode out the storm, and then came outside to see homes flattened and trees uprooted.

"I was just really in a daze," Aker said. "I had never seen anything so horrible and so frightening. You just wanted to sit and cry…It was the toughest thing I had ever gone through. It really was."

But for Aker, it was only the beginning. A few weeks after the tornado, she started to feel sick. She had flu-like symptoms and a fever that spiked to 104 degrees. The last thing she remembers was sitting in the emergency room, waiting to see a doctor.

Then she slipped into a coma.

She was unconscious for a month, even as doctors did exploratory surgery to try to determine the source of huge blisters on her arms and legs. The doctors found nothing, but when Aker awoke several weeks later, things had gotten much worse.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National News
  • Another botched execution

    (AP) Since the start of the year, executions in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona have gone awry, with inmates gasping for breath as lethal drugs coursed through their bodies.

    July 25, 2014

  • Budd family National news: Struck by rock thrown from overpass, mom fights for her life

     A 52-year-old Uniontown, Ohio, mother of four fought for her life in a hospital here Monday as a result of a rock thrown from a highway overpass that shattered the windshield of the family car during a trip to New York City.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Airman Airman laid to rest six decades after death

     Unchecked tears rolled down Paul Martin’s lined face as he clutched the hand of an Air Force servicewoman who handed him a handwritten note at the graveside service for his older brother.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12 states now have plans for a minimum wage of $9 or more

    Rhode Island last week joined 11 other states that plan to raise their minimum wage to at least $9 over the next several years.
     

    July 7, 2014

  • Higher airfare, crowded planes likely to linger after summer

    Air travelers are paying more to fly in the U.S. this summer on crowded planes as carriers keep capacity tight, conditions passengers will have to get used to beyond the vacation period.

    July 5, 2014

  • More Americans are stuck in part-time work

    New government data slated for release Thursday is expected to show the economy added more than 200,000 jobs for the fifth straight month - the longest streak since the late 1990s.

    July 5, 2014

  • Americans falling out of love with shopping malls

    Abandoned malls are hot: The Dead Malls Enthusiasts Facebook group boasts almost 14,000 members; a Google search of "dead malls" produces 5.7 million results; and the desolate interiors of these unused retailing meccas keep making cameos in thrillers and horror films.

    July 5, 2014

  • Avoidable injuries are killing too many young Americans

    Not so cheerful news before your holiday weekend: Some sobering new government numbers show just how many young people die from injuries that could have been avoided.

    July 4, 2014

  • Happy birthday, America. Now legalize fireworks.

    Through the smoke of Roman candles and bottle rockets, the absurdity of Americans' obsession with do-it-yourself explosives is nonetheless clear: One day each year, we gather with neighbors, friends and loved ones to blow stuff up in our backyards. Go, U.S.A.!

    July 4, 2014

  • VIDEO: A boom in firework sales

    This year could be quite the boom for fireworks sales across the U.S. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, or the APA, sales are already off to a good start.

    July 3, 2014

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman
NDN Video
What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.