trucker Jessie Douglas owes a lot to the folks in Marion, OH.
who hails from Cedar Rapids, IA, was pulling loads through central
Ohio in late November when he started to have pains in his abdomen, The Marion Star reported Jan. 9. On Nov. 23, he was headed
south on U.S. 23 shortly after delivering a load in Martel, a
small town northwest of Marion, when the pain became too much
to bear. His temperature flared, and he decided it was no longer
safe to drive.
pain flared up like crazy," Douglas told the newspaper. "At
that time, fever came on me so bad that I was in and out (of consciousness)."
called 9-1-1, and was taken to Marion General Hospital, where
he was treated by Dr. Karen Stacey-Erwin. Although he had suffered
pain for three weeks and had sought medical help before to little
avail, the diagnosis was a surprise.
I came to, the doc told me my appendix burst two days earlier,"
Douglas told The Star.
But the help
Douglas received from the folks in Marion didn’t end there. The
trucker’s family could not afford to come all the way from Iowa
to Marion, which is roughly 50 miles north of Columbus, OH, to
be with him. And he, obviously, could not make it home for Thanksgiving.
So the Rev. Dan Kiger, the hospital’s chaplain, raised $1,000
from local churches and the hospital's administrative council
to bring his family to Ohio.
On Dec. 31,
after going home to Iowa to convalesce, Douglas came back to Marion
to pick up his rig, which had been in the hospital’s parking lot.
And while he was there, he made sure he stopped for a visit with
the folks in Marion who lent a helping hand to him and his family
during the holiday season.
been dead," Douglas told the Marion newspaper. "That's
the best gift I could have had this Christmas – my life."