Record carrier called ‘guardian angel’ by injured woman

Published: November 27, 2006 | 5091st good news item since 2003

In the early morning hours of Sept. 30, Cohoes resident Jeanne Freeman awoke with a start in her Park Avenue home to find the television blaring.
She had apparently fallen asleep watching the late news.
Freeman, a senior citizen, was groggy when she climbed out of bed to turn off the set and lost her footing as she reached for the dresser where the TV rested. Both the television and dresser toppled down on top of her, causing her to fall over backwards. She hit her head on the floor.
Most of what followed is unclear, but Freeman believes she fell multiple times but lost consciousness only once. By the time anyone found her, it was at least three hours later.
Her guardian angel appeared around 6 a.m. in the form of 27-year-old Lisa Rysedorph, a Record newspaper carrier, she said.
“I lay on the floor – I don’t know for how long. I managed to crawl over the dresser drawer and TV to my front door and then into the hall. I must have fallen again. By the time I got to the end of the hall I was on my back,” Freeman said.
She had no way of knowing how much time elapsed as she struggled on all fours but did know that her only hope of making contact with the outside world hinged upon getting to the door at the end of the hall.
When she finally got there, all she could clearly see from her vantage point on the floor was the mail slot and a broom.
Despite the pain and her inability to get up, Freeman summoned the strength to get hold of the broom and push it against the mail slot. She next worked the end into the narrow passageway and wiggled it back and forth, hoping to flag down a passerby.
“I thought I heard something and the next thing I saw was a pair of eyes looking through the mail slot,” she said.
Rysedorph, an automotive services student at Hudson Valley Community College, delivered Freeman’s paper around 6:15 a.m. She saw something poking out of the mail slot and took a closer look. That’s when she heard Freeman’s frail calls for help.
“I’m here! I’m here!” yelled Rysedorph until Freeman replied.
Rysedorph ran next door to the home of Vincent DeChiaro to call an ambulance. She rushed back to Freeman’s house and tried to make her way inside, but reaching the elderly woman’s side proved more difficult than she first thought.
“I had to unravel the rope around her picket fence and hop over the deck because it was padlocked. I shimmied through the back porch window and screen and jumped in feet first,” Rysedorph said.
After kicking in the back door she had no idea how to get to Freeman because she’d never before been inside the house.
When she did find her, Freeman was framed in a halo of blood and covered with dark bruises.
She was rushed to the Samaritan Hospital emergency room and she remained hospitalized for three days.
All of her tests came back negative with the exception of some blockage found in the carotid artery that had nothing to do with her fall. Her doctors told her she was fortunate to have sustained only minimal injuries.
“They wanted to run more tests, but I signed myself out after three days. I figured it was best to get out of there as fast as possible,” she said.
The ordeal has left her counting her blessings.
“People will think this sounds strange, but I want to talk about it anyway. When I came to after the dresser fell on top of me, the first thing I saw was a small statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary right next to my head,” she said.
The illuminated figure fell off the dresser and landed upright next to Freeman. She was amazed it hadn’t been broken by the fall and even more intrigued that it continued to glow brightly.
“I can’t tell you how much the sight of that statue comforted me when I saw it,” Freeman said.
Rysedorph’s appearance several hours later was almost as miraculous, she said.
“She was my little guardian angel. I really believe that she saved my life,” Freeman said.
The pair shared a tearful but happy reunion after Freeman got out of the hospital.
“I’ll never forget something that Lisa said to me,” she said.
Rysedorph told Freeman that she believed she had never done anything truly worthwhile until that day.

Published in Life, Rescues
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