welcome to anxieties 102!


anxiety disorders
anxiety disorders with depression
generalized & social anxiety disorders
panic disorder
obsessive compulsive disorder
post traumatic stress disorder
how it all works
young adults...
lifestyle diet
lifestyle exercise
lifestyle sleep
lifestyle relaxation
lifestyle counseling
lifestyle medications
archived info!

click here to send me an e-mail!

The Night The Lights Went Out - disabled person faces a tornado alone - Brief Article

by Nancy G. Holman 

The disabled face many challenges. But perhaps the toughest is facing possible death, and being powerless to stop it. As a man with quadriplegia, Curtis Dougherty lives much of his life in his motorized wheelchair. A counselor at the Southeast Kansas Independent Living Resource Center in Chanute, KS, he commutes daily from his apartment in Parsons to help empower other people with disabilities. Although he needs assistance with certain tasks to remain independent, Curtis, 41, is a survivor.

But what Curtis Dougherty didn't plan on was that the same courage, which urges him to keep going when others quit, would be put to the test one windy April night.

"It was about 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. on April 19," he recalled. "My attendant had just put me into bed, and I was watching TV after she left. An announcer said a tornado was possibly going to pass through Parsons. A picture of a tornado with a little hook in it appeared on the radar screen -- we were supposed to watch for that."

Suddenly, the TV screen went blank, and the electricity went off in Curtis' high-rise brick apartment complex. It was completely dark outside. Curtis' first-floor bedroom window was open, and he heard a terrible whooshing sound, like a train passing by. Curtis, who has no mobility once he is put into bed, was alone and helpless in a tornado.

"I live a half-block from the train tracks, but there was no train on the tracks at that time of night," he said. "I knew we were probably being hit by a tornado. There was lots of noise."

The noise of the 158-206 mph wind tunnel that wreaked $35 million worth of damage in three counties was unbelievable. Though Parsons (pop. 11,413) lies in a tornado belt which encompasses parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, it had not been struck by a wind disaster in over 100 years. Parsonians were lulled into thinking that their little town would never be hit again ... at least not while they were alive.

They were wrong.

Janet Thompson, Curtis' attendant, was frantic with worry about him. She had to be sure he hadn't been killed in the disaster. As the tornado went shrieking by his window, Curtis' telephone rang. It was Janet, calling from the First Four Square Church a mile and a half away. Curtis quickly assured her that he was still alive, and all right.

"Janet could hear the tornado roaring," he remembered. "The phone lines were buried and they were okay, so we were able to talk during the tornado. It was a real quick tornado -- just a couple of minutes, and then it was over."

Curtis told Janet that the tornado was now headed her way, and to stay at the church. Though he was about a block away from the tornado's horrific main force, he could hear the terrifying sounds of trees being uprooted in the darkness. But Curtis, who had been in several previous tornadoes, was not terrified, even though he was helpless.

"I figured it was either my time to go, or it wasn't," he said. "I was stuck, but I wasn't really afraid. I didn't think the high-rise would fall, and it didn't. I was thankful that we weren't hit directly."

Though Janet later returned to Curtis' apartment to check on him, Curtis was the one who reassured his frightened attendant.

What will he do if another disaster strikes?

"I'd just ride through it again," he says matter-of-factly. "There's not much you can do - unless you have a back-up attendant. If you live alone, you should throw blankets or a mattress over yourself."

"This tornado blew into our town, and then it blew out," he said. "I'm just thankful I'm still here to talk about it."

Curtis is employed by SKIL, which operates six southeastern Kansas independent living centers. SKIL helps people with disabilities or disabling environments live more independently.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Cheever Publishing, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

source site: click here

Enter supporting content here

you've been visiting anxieties 102...
please have a great day & take a few minutes to explore some of the other sites in the emotional feelings network of sites! explore the unresolved emotions & feelings that may be the cause of some of your pain & hurt... be curious & open to new possibilities! thanks again for visiting at anxieties 102!
emotional feelings - emotional feelings, 2 - emotional feelings, 3 - emotional feelings 4 - feeling emotional - feeling emotional, too - feeling emotional, 3 - feeling emotional, 4 - sorry to report that extremely emotional no longer exists! it was a sad surprise for me, believe it! now there is feeling emotional five! It's a work in progress, but you're welcome to visit when you have the chance!- your unemotional side - your unemotional side 2 - the layer down under - more layers down under - the layer down under that - the self pages - night eating - teenscene - angels & princesses - changes 101 - more changes - different religions - parental alienation - life skills 101 (not published yet) - physical you 101 abuse 101 - children 101 - try recovering 101
anxieties 101 - click here!
anxieties 102 - you are here!
almost 30 sites, all designed, editted & maintained by kathleen!
until next time: consider yourself hugged by a friend today!
til' next time! kathleen
thank you for visiting anxieties 102!