When Wayne Colburn woke up in a hospital bed, he wasn’t sure why he was there, or how he got there. But he did know that the woman standing by his side was sent from God.
"Mr. Colburn, I know you don’t know me…" she began.
"I know who you are. You’re my angel," he said to Jennifer Folds, a nurse in the intensive care unit at Providence Hospital in Mobile.
Jennifer had been driving on Airport Boulevard on her day off, passing Burger King, when she saw something that seemed not quite right. Within seconds, she realized a man was lying on the pavement between his car and the curb.
She found herself pulling off Airport and running to him.
That morning, Wayne and his wife of 48 years, Shirley, had left home in Lucedale, Miss., and headed south to Pascagoula, where he bought her a new car. The last thing he remembers is getting on I-10, bound for Mobile, where he had a doctor’s appointment at Providence.
Shirley, meanwhile, hadn’t noticed that anything was wrong with her husband. He doesn’t usually talk much while they’re driving, anyway, she says. They decided to stop at a Burger King not far from the hospital, but, as Wayne got out of the car, he fell, hitting his head on the curb. He lay there gasping for air, his face turning blue.
Shirley ran inside the restaurant, asking one of the employees to call 911, then waited for the ambulance by her husband’s side. She threw her hands in the air and called to God for help.
And that’s when help arrived, in the form of Jennifer. Wayne was on his side, so she turned him over onto his back and opened his shirt, noticing the scar on this chest from open-heart surgery. She started CPR on him and continued with chest compressions until the paramedics arrived.
‘I think I have a purpose now’
Wayne is "a very lucky man" to be alive today, says Jennifer, who earned her nursing degree in 2014 and is in the process of becoming an acute care nurse practitioner. He was in full cardiac arrest, with no pulse, when she got to him. The paramedics shocked him, and he coded five times more in the hospital, she says.
Jennifer and her now-fiance were on their way to eat lunch that day, with her 2-year-old in the back seat, before picking up her two older children from school. "I try to avoid Airport Boulevard like the plague," she says, but she ended up there – heaven-sent, perhaps – navigating through the traffic.
Jennifer is following in the footsteps of her mother, a nurse practitioner who has a doctorate. "I hope I can live up to be half the nurse she was," she says.
She remembers, as a child, driving north on I-65 on a family vacation and encountering a big wreck. Both of her parents got out to help the injured. "I’m grateful I was brought up in a family that’s willing to put themselves out there," she says. "I’m privileged in that sense."
Earlier this year, while on vacation, Jennifer was on the scene of an accident on Fort Morgan Road in Gulf Shores. Still in their bathing suits, she and a nurse friend rushed to help the driver, whose leg was nearly severed. They applied pressure, using some shirts a bystander happened to have in her trunk because she planned to donate them.
The victim was removed from the vehicle by Jaws of Life and taken to the University of South Alabama Medical Center via air ambulance. When Jennifer called later to check on him, she learned that he’d survived, and his leg had been saved.
Then, in August, she stopped for Wayne and Shirley Colburn.
"It’s been an interesting year," she says. "I think I have a purpose now."
‘Tell me God isn’t real’
Wayne and Shirley grew up living only about 500 yards from each other in Lucedale, but they went to different schools and didn’t meet until they were teenagers. "I saw her on a bus and said, ‘That’s who I’m going to marry,’" he remembers.
On that morning this past August, the couple had been driving to Mobile so that Wayne could have an MRI done on his left leg, where he was wounded by gunfire during the Vietnam War. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran is the recipient of a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. He has a sore on that leg that requires medical care at the wound-care center at Providence.
Wayne served in Vietnam for 61/2 months before he was wounded. He spent four months in a hospital in Guam, then two more months recovering in Pensacola. He was told he would walk with a cane for the rest of his life, but he returned to Lucedale and did his own version of physical therapy in which he would climb up and down a ladder every day. After three months, his leg was strong enough that he could put the cane aside.
He’s nothing if not tough. Four years ago, right before he underwent sextuple-bypass surgery, Wayne went to Dollywood with his family. "Me and this one rode the roller coaster," his son, Wayne Colburn Jr., says incredulously as he nods toward his dad.
Shirley cries as she remembers the large group of family members, friends and clergy who came to pray for Wayne in the hospital after Jennifer helped save his life. "You could feel the Holy Ghost coming through there," she says. "The nurse told me that if he’d coded one more time, she didn’t know if they’d be able to save him or not."
But their daughter, Debbie Williams, had no doubt that her father would make it. "I told my uncle, ‘It’s not his time,’" she says. "Why would God have put that angel there?"
Wayne’s kidneys were failing, so he underwent dialysis and, almost immediately, started to improve. The next day, according to Wayne Jr., the external defibrillator came off, and soon he was taken off the ventilator.
"He was healed almost as fast as he went down," Shirley says.
Before he was released, his doctors found an 80 percent arterial blockage and fixed it with a stent.
"I’m still alive, and I still have all my functions," says Wayne. "You tell me God isn’t real."
Jennifer says Wayne’s recovery is nothing short of incredible. "It was truly a miracle for him to make it that far and not have any deficits. He’s been given a second chance."
Since then, Wayne and Shirley took a cruise out of Mobile for their anniversary. "We celebrated 48 years together this year," she says. "This has made us so strong."
‘Best part of humanity’
While Wayne was still in the hospital, his family tried to learn more about the nameless nurse who’d come to his rescue. They didn’t know if they would ever be able to thank her.
Meanwhile, Jennifer had been thinking about Wayne. She knew that the EMTs had rushed him to Providence. She called a friend in the hospital’s emergency room who gave her hard news: Things weren’t looking good. "My heart dropped," Jennifer says.
So she was thrilled when she learned that Wayne had pulled through and was recovering at the intensive care unit on her floor. "I ran over there," she says.
Shirley, of course, recognized Jennifer from the Burger King parking lot, but Wayne hadn’t seen her then – or so she thought. As soon as he saw her face, he knew she was the angel who’d shown up at just the right time.
Jennifer feels a little embarrassed by the attention. "This was such a humbling experience," she says. "I really feel like I was just doing the right thing. I was just doing what we all should be doing for each other, just helping."
What touched her the most, she says, was the way that so many people, from all walks of life, pitched in that day to help. "Everyone did what they could, as fast as they could," she says.
The parking lot scene was chaotic, she recalls: Her glasses and Wayne’s wallet had fallen to the ground, their cars left running, as everyone’s attention and efforts were focused on getting Wayne to the hospital before it was too late.
"The best part of humanity in every way was there," Jennifer says. "There’s a lot of bad in the world, but so much good is still out there."
As Christmas approaches, Wayne’s tight-knit family is constantly reminded how thankful they are that he is here with them. "For me, Christmas came early, in August," says his daughter, Debbie, wiping away tears of joy. "What a Christmas gift we got."
Interview: Writer Ales Kot eager to take on ‘complex’ character for ‘James Bond: The Body’
If James Bond was an actual person — and, moreover, an actual veteran of countless international espionage missions — he would have the scars to prove his trade. His body would be a patchwork of wounds, fresh and old, and each one would have a story of some close encounter with death. (Or at least an injury that probably hurt.)
"James Bond: The Body" #1, cover
Those stories of broken bones and torn flesh are coming in Dynamite Comics’ new miniseries "James Bond: The Body." Written by Ales Kot and illustrated by a different artist in each issue, the miniseries aims to explore the physical costs of being a superspy as well as what Bond means in 2017-18. I talked with Kot via email about what led him to an anthology approach for Bond and his views on the character (which I won’t even begin to try and decontextualize).
From the James Bond line at Dynamite, we’ve had ongoing series, miniseries and various one-shots. Your approach though almost seems like an anthology series — is that a fair way to characterize it, and how did you settle on that approach?
Yeah, definitely. I worked with this format on "Zero," my spy-SF psychedelic action horror drama and who knows what else series at Image Comics that came out between 2013-2015, and I’ve been asked to revisit the approach, which I originally experienced in "Global Frequency" by Warren Ellis, ever since. I didn’t want to repeat myself, so I turned down a few offers, but then came Bond, and since "Zero" was my dissection of the Bond archetype, it felt like an opportunity to mess around with the original in a way that could be fun and interesting. The opportunity to work with six artists during six issues is another incentive.
In your creator-owned books like "Material" and "Generation Gone," you explore complicated issues in dense, analytical works. What will those familiar with your other works see and recognize in "The Body"?
That’s for people to see and/or analyze, not for me to tell. The story and the characters — that’s where it’s at for me. I don’t really want to turn myself into the description you can take a look at right next to the painting. I already made the painting, together with other people. It’s all there.
You’ve called Bond an "imperialist colonialist construct" — what makes him a problematic character in 2017, and how do you unpack that in the series?
I mean, I feel like "an imperialist colonialist construct" about sums it up, right? I’ll also add patriarchal and racist, since Bond’s always a white man who objectifies women and uses them without regard for their well-being. He’s also very cool in many ways — like wow, super driven, excellent problem-solving skills in some ways, a chameleon, doesn’t give up.
"James Bond: The Body" #1, unfinished interior
I don’t really care about using the word "problematic" in regard to him — I prefer complex. I enjoy exploring complex characters. And this one has such deep history. I have nothing but respect for Mr. Fleming, who himself wrote the character this way on purpose, so I want to do the same. Whatever glamor we see in Bond — it’s not worth the price.
But it’s worth examining, and it can make for some very interesting stories.
Problems aside, Bond is a compelling character — especially when he shows vulnerability. How does your work compare to the emotionally fragile Bond we’ve seen on occasion in works like "Casino Royale"?
I don’t really know how it compares, but I know I’m definitely taking from these works.
"James Bond: The Body" #1, unfinished interior
Some of the most famous supporting characters in Bond are around to give him orders (M) or gadgets (Q). What was it like to focus on someone literally trying to keep him together?
I’m not really involving them in the stories. We do get Felix Leiter, though, and the idea of keeping Bond together is something we’re experiencing from the first chapter. After all, the entire arc is called "The Body," and I was interested in exploring the inner and outer fragility of being a person like James Bond. By the time Leiter appears, Bond goes into some pretty tough places, both mentally and physically, and it was real joy to write an entire chapter around them catching up in a London pub.
You’ve mentioned you have family history that dates to both Soviet and Nazi regimes. How did that shape your approach to writing the character and your views on him?
Utterly. War is stupid. There must be a better way.
"James Bond: The Body" #1, unfinished interior
If you had another Bond series in you, what would it be? And what should readers expect out of this one?
I do have another one in me — it comes directly from the events of "The Body," and is one bigger, continued, globe-spanning story that puts Bond against the military-industrial complex in a way he can’t beat.
As for what the readers should expect of "The Body" — I don’t want to tell them. I can say that I worked with rawness, obsession, my knowledge of Mr. Fleming’s work, the characters and the current sociopolitical climate to explore what it’s like to be James Bond today. I can say that there are multiple assassination attempts, a whole issue about extrajudicial torture, a sauna full of neo-nazis, a writer in the hills, a shotgun and a deep sense of the world going to s—.
"James Bond: The Body" #1, from writer Ales Kot, artist Luca Casalanguida and Dynamite Comics, goes on sale Wednesday, Jan. 17.
Protecting my garden over winter (Garden Talk)
How can you protect your garden during the winter?
By: Andrew Baril
For most of us, college football is in the rear-view mirror and so are our vegetable gardens. I get excited about gardening in February and March, but after the heat of summer and filling my shelves and freezer with produce – I’m tired of gardening. This year and last, I did not plant a fall/winter garden. I know many of you plant a fall garden, but I bet the majority of us won’t look at the garden again until spring. If you are like me and don’t want to tend a cool season garden, prepare your garden now for next spring; cover the soil in your garden spot.
As I travel through central Alabama in the winter months the vast majority of gardens I see are bare. The soil is exposed to the elements; sun, rain, wind, and cold all take its toll on the garden. Year after year soil exposure causes reduced yields in gardens. Heavy winter rains can wash the soil right out of the garden. Even if the rain doesn’t wash the soil out, it can wash all of the nutrients out. Wind can easily transport your soil into the adjacent county if it is not protected. Thirdly, winter weeds can overtake a garden with exposed soil. Normally we don’t think about winter weeds because we just till them into the soil in the spring. As I consider this, I think of the hundreds of weed seeds I just tilled into my garden, which will stay dormant just waiting of the light of day to sprout. Instead of leaving your soil bare, try covering it with something.
Some years, like this year, all I do is rake all my leaves into my garden. At 60′ x 30′ or 1800 square feet, my wife says ours is a large garden, however, it’s not too large to accept all of our leaves each fall. Those leaves and the compost pile will sit on top of the soil until April, when I till it in. Two weeks later I begin planting. Some years however, I plant a cover crop. Planting a cover crop in the unused portion of the garden protects and adds nutrients to the soil. What plants should a gardener consider when planting a cover crop? For that answer let us learn from hunters and wildlife biologists. Every fall when many gardeners are laying fallow their gardens, many hunters are planting food plots, hoping to attract deer and turkey. Extension has a great publication, ANR-0485, "Plantings for Wildlife" http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0485/ANR-0485.pdf used by hunters. In this publication, wildlife biologists list the 50 top crops planted for wildlife. In the list planting dates, seeding rates, planting depth, and growth type are listed. Nineteen crops are listed as cool season annuals; these are the plants to use as a cover crop. Cereals such as barley, oats, wheat, and rye grow throughout the winter. Brassicas such as rape, kale, turnips, and canola have deep roots and large leaves. Legumes like Austrian winter & Caley peas; arrowleaf, ball, button, crimson, red, & white clovers; blue lupine, common and hairy vetch all add nutrients to the soil. In the spring, all one has to do is rototill these plants into the garden, allow two weeks for decomposing, and then begin spring planting. These cover crops in companion with any portion used for winter gardening will provide the soil the protection needed to over winter for next spring.
Garden Talk is written by Andrew J. Baril of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, C. Beaty Hanna Horticulture & Environmental Center, which is based at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This column includes research-based information from land-grant universities around the country, including Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 205 879-6964. Learn more about what is going on in Jefferson County by visiting the ACES website, www.aces.edu/Jefferson or checking us on Facebook and Twitter. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities), is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Everyone is welcome!