Neighbors came together during California snow storm to help a 79-year-old man get to his wife who was miles away at a nursing home having breathing problems
- A California man made a Facebook plea for help to clear his driveway to get to his ailing wife.
- Robert Rice had been trapped at home due to California's rare snow storm, The New York Times.
Neighbors in a California community came together to help a 79-year-old man reach his wife, who was in a nursing home nearly 30 miles away having a medical emergency, during the recent snowstorms that hit the state and trapped residents.
Robert Rice, 79, told The New York Times that he thought he could stay indoors and weather the storm but when he was notified that his wife, 81-year-old Ann Rice, was struggling to breathe at her nursing home he said had no option but to go be by her side.
California has been experiencing several rare winter storms, which have created hazardous conditions for many residents across the state.
Doctors thought Ann, who had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure, could die because carbon dioxide was building up in her lungs, the Times reported.
Robert, who had been trying to keep at least part of his driveway clear throughout the whole storm, was unable to clear his driveway as more snow continued to come down in late February, he told the paper.
He'd spent hours in the freezing cold of the San Bernardino region trying but was only able to pave a small path, he told the Times. He called it a day, but then officials from Ann's nursing home called him to let him know some of the carbon dioxide was removed from his wife's lungs.
That gave him a little more time to make it to his wife but he wouldn't be very successful at clearing a path in the days to come.
"I looked out there and said, 'There's no way I'm getting out,'" Robert told the Times.
He'd call the nursing home daily to check on his wife of 54 years before one day receiving a call that her hemoglobin levels were dropping because of internal bleeding, the Times reported. And despite getting blood transfusions every other day, doctors recommended they stop intervention and said she most likely only had a few weeks left.
"I sat there and thought, 'Oh my God, she's going to die before I get there,'" Robert told the Times.
Desperate and in tears, he told the paper he looked to Facebook for help.
"I never thought I would have to do this. Here goes," Robert posted to a local Facebook group. "My wife Ann is in a skilled nursing facility down the hill. She does not have long to go. I can't even get down to say goodbye. Is there anyone who can help with my driveway. It's about half done, needs to be wider so I can back my small car up. I'm a Army Vietnam veteran and retired LEO. This is very embarrassing for me to even ask for help. Sorry."
People began calling him to help.
Firefighters stopped by for a wellness check, neighbors showed up with shovels, and others offered to drive him or pay for a hotel near his wife.
Eventually, a neighbor came down with a tractor with a front loader bucket to pave his driveway and by March 9, he was finally able to hop in his car and drive down to see his wife, and hold her hand.
"I was hoping that people wouldn't think I sound corny," he told the Times about his plea for aid. "There were other people who probably needed the help more than me."
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