“I just remember being cold and wet,” Freda said.
The door on top of Michael helped protect him from the hail.
“The hail was unlike any hail I had ever seen before,” Freda said.
Michael was home from work that day recovering from recent rotator cuff surgery. In fact, he and Freda were preparing to drive to Clarksville for a friend’s birthday party when the twister hit.
Besides a broken back, he also broke his arm, leg, dislocated his shoulder and suffered nerve damage in his back.
“I was pretty much all broken bones,” he said.
Freda suffered a severe leg injury, broke her arm in three places and her pelvis. She also had a large open wound in her back and only had one-eighth of her body’s blood left when she arrived at the hospital. She immediately received a blood transfusion and despite being conscious during the aftermath and helicopter ride to the hospital, was told later she was near death.
The two were in the hospital for 11 days, and were then transported to rehabilitation. They began walking again with some normalcy in June, but are still reminded daily of their injuries.
Freda is no stranger to pain. She had 23 surgeries before the tornado and this marked the third time she had to learn how to walk again.
Michael is recovering from a second shoulder surgery and remains on painkillers. He also suffered a heart attack while in the hospital after receiving morphine, to which he is allergic. He has trouble sitting for a period of time.
Freda takes eight pills per day and will be on antibiotics for the next nine months due to the infection in her back from the large wound. She also wears a brace on her arm and said there are still medical challenges ahead.