Retired Texans survive carbon monoxide poisoning
By ELISA SAND, Staff Reporter
A Texas couple formerly from the local area is recovering after their daughter found them semi-conscious in their home last week.|
Carol Hutson of Palestine, Texas, said her parents, Betty and Bill Fritz, are recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
"Mom is doing remarkably well," she said. "Dad, not so well."
Bill Fritz is 93 and his wife is 85. According to Hutson, her father, who is hard of hearing, had gone to the store to get hamburgers for supper; when he returned home, he left the car running in the garage.
"They went to bed as usual," Hutson said. "I went over the next morning at 9:40 a.m."
By that time, the car had run out of gas and shut off. Hutson said her father thinks there was about a half-tank of gas in the car.
When no one answered the door, Hutson said, she took out her key and let herself in. She immediately knew something was wrong when she saw the house was still dark. Her mom is usually up by 6:30 a.m. and her dad is typically up by 8 a.m. She'd also planned to meet her dad there that morning between 9:30-10 a.m.
Hutson went first to her dad's room and found him semi-conscious. Thinking he'd had a stroke, Hutson immediately called 911 and went to find her mom. She found her semi-conscious as well, and said she knew then it was carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hutson told emergency responders that she suspected carbon monoxide poisoning; when they arrived, they measured the carbon monoxide levels inside the house at 96 percent.
"They rushed them by ambulance to the local hospital and put them on oxygen," Hutson said, indicating that her mother almost instantly responded but her dad's recovery has been slower.
"He had a lot more in his bloodstream," she said.
Both Bill and Betty Fritz were transferred to another medical facility where they have had treatments in a hyperbaric chamber.
"Each time they had a treatment, I saw a marked improvement," Hutson said. "Hyperbaric treatments are a modern miracle."
The couple will soon be transferred to a care center in Palestine, where they will spend about two weeks recovering before heading back home.
"It's amazing that they pulled through it," Hutson said.
Both her parents have maintained their independence at home. While her mother has rebounded well, doctors are having issues with managing her father's blood pressure, heart rate and diabetes.
The couple married on Pearl Harbor Day in 1941. They lived in South Dakota from 1941-80, farming in the Winfred and Junius area. After retiring, they moved to Texas and opened a roller skating rink, which they operated for the next 25 years.
Hutson said her parents plan to continue living in their home, but she doesn't see driving in their future.
"I believe the doctor's orders will be no more driving," she said. "They'll need some help and I may be able to do what they need. At this point, we're just taking it one day at a time. We're hoping for a full recovery for both of them -- especially for my dad."
Hutson and her sister, Debbie Vasquez, both live in Palestine. Hutson and her husband moved to Texas about a year ago.
"We moved back in March of last year to be near my parents, and I'm so glad I did."
Bill and Betty Fritz reside at 512 Gardner Drive, Palestine, Texas, 75803. Cards would be welcome.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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