Tornado relief worker recovering after losing limbs - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Tornado relief worker recovering after losing limbs to mysterious bacteria

Posted: Updated:

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- A Good Samaritan who helped victims after the March 2, 2012 tornado, found herself in need of assistance.

More than a year after the storm, the helper has gotten help to get back on her feet - literally.

Louella Aker's Henryville home survived last year's March 2nd tornado nearly intact. But her life was torn to shreds.

It's been a hard fight, but Aker is adjusting to life as a quadruple amputee.

Thanks to modern technology and old fashioned determination, she's come a long way in a year; a long way since she watched the dark, ominous tornado bear down on her town.

"My son-in-law and I were standing on the porch watching it. And I said 'Why is it that color?' And he said, 'It's all the debris,'" said Aker.

Little did she know how that debris would change her life.

"I mean it just gave me cold chills."

Louella worked at the Family Dollar Store in Henryville. And after the storm passed, she emptied the shelves and pushed shopping carts filled with supplies to the relief center.

"Pick up another cart, come back and fill it up and push it back down," she remembered.

But towards the end of March, Louella got sick. Her fever reached nearly 105 degrees.

She fell into a coma, waking up one month later.

"When I woke up, my arms and my legs were just completely black and charred. I mean they were crispy like somebody had laid me on a grill," she said.

Doctors had to amputate all of Louella's limbs to save her life. They believe she may have become infected by bacteria in the storm debris.

"Six weeks ago, I was up and running and working and doing everything, and now what. Now what," she said.

It was Stephanie Decker, perhaps the most well-known March 2nd survivor who helped push Louella's recovery. She contacted March 2 Recovery.

"Stephanie Decker called us first and said, 'I don't know if there's anything you can do,'" said Carolyn King, Executive Director of March 2 Recovery.

March 2 Recovery and New Hope Services provided Louella with a new, completely accessible home.

"She's a lovely lady, and we're glad she's totally independent and has such a wonderful attitude about getting back on her feet. Which she has," said King.

Back on her feet and moving on with life.

"There are so many people that can care about someone that they don't really know. It's just amazing to me," said Aker.

Right now, Louella's biggest battle is with the federal government. For more than a year, she's been fighting for Medicare to pay for her prosthetics. The price tag, $250-thousand.

Copyright 2013 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.