Woman stranded in Santa Fe is now back home in Seaford

By Lynn R. Parks

After a three-week stay in a New Mexico hospital, including two weeks in the intensive care unit, Jeanenne Owens is back in Seaford. Owens left St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe the morning of July 19 and was admitted to Life Care at Lofland Park nursing home early Sunday morning, July 20. “She had an exhausting trip back,” said her husband Ed. “But we are both doing much better, now that we are back in good old Seaford.” Owens, 72, was admitted to St. Vincent’s June 26 after lapsing into a coma during a train trip. She and her husband were on their way to San Diego, to visit their son and his wife, Johanna, who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They were also going to go to Sacramento, to visit Jack Petrie, Jeanenne Owens’ brother, who has stomach cancer. Jeanenne was diagnosed with emphysema early this year. Since then, she has had pneumonia several times. Doctors believe that on her way to California, she developed pneumonia again. Shortly after his wife was admitted to the hospital, Ed Owens appealed to the Seaford community for financial assistance in getting back home. He was worried at the time that his wife would require an air ambulance, estimated to cost up to $17,000. If she recovered to the point that she was breathing on her own, cost for a first-class ticket and a medical attendant to fly with her would be about $6,800, he said. His appeal resulted in contributions totaling more than $5,000, Owens said Monday. As it turned out, Jeanenne Owens awoke from her coma Wednesday, July 9. The ventilator that was helping her breathe was removed Friday and she was moved out of the intensive care unit Saturday, July 12. With the help of her son Jerry Little, who flew to Santa Fe from his home in Wilmington, N.C., she and her husband were able to return to the east coast on a regular commercial flight. The cost of the flight, along with the cost of shipping items that the Owenses were unable to take on the plane and the bill at the Residence Inn in Santa Fe where Ed Owens stayed, will amount to about $5,000, the amount contributed by the community. “It just seems like God had a hand in all of this,” said Owens, a member of Christ Evangelistic Church in Laurel. “When we had a need, that need was met.” Charles Parrott, who was designated by Owens to receive checks on his behalf, said that he got about 20 donations at his house, totaling $1,150. They ranged from a check for $5, sent by a Seaford native who is serving time in a Virginia prison, to three $100 bills that were dropped off anonymously at his house. In addition, donations were sent directly to Owens’ bank by employees of the Seaford Wal-Mart, who contributed more than $1,200, and by the VFW, which sent $1,000. Area Moose and American Legion groups also sent money. “I have never been involved in anything like this, and the outpouring is really gratifying,” Parrott said. “This is a big-hearted community.” Owens said that his wife, while still very weak, is recovering at LifeCare. Physical therapists anticipate that she may be able to return home in about two weeks. In addition, Ed Owens said, his daughter-in-law and brother-in-law are both recovering from their illnesses. “Everything is looking up,” he said. “I am overwhelmed with the response of the people in Seaford,” he added. “When I asked for help, I was like a drowning man grabbing for a straw. I am so grateful for the way people responded. It speaks so highly of the people in this area.”

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