STUART, Fla. - These days, it seems like people are spending more time checking their Facebook than they are checking email. The instant interaction you get from the social networking site is one of the main reasons why it's so popular. And if you ask one Stuart woman, that real-time communication is also a lifesaver.
Cindy Lincoln has been at Heartland Health Care Center in Palm Beach Gardens for over a week recovering from an injury she suffered while doing laundry. It happened on Memorial Day. Lincoln's husband was out of town and she had the house to herself.
"I worked all day, went to bed, woke up at midnight and decided to fold some clothes," Lincoln said. As she sat in an office chair folding towels, she dropped one on the floor. When she bent down to pick it up, the chair rolled out from underneath her, causing her to fall. "When it slammed up against the wall. I heard a crunch. I knew I was in big trouble," Lincoln said. The crunch she heard was her femur bone, breaking.
All alone and in excruciating pain, she knew she needed help. Her first thought: call 911 -- except, she couldn't get to the phone. "To go up to the kitchen to the telephone, I would have had to go up a couple of steps and I knew I wasn't going to be able to do that," Lincoln said.
Lincoln was in a predicament, a painful one. But she knew that she had to do something to try to find help. Her other option: the laptop sitting on top of the desk just a few feet away. Except getting to the computer would be no easy feat. But it was her only hope. So she began to crawl.
"All the time dragging this leg and it was the most painful thing I've ever been through," Lincoln said. The pain was so bad, at one point, Lincoln thought she would pass out. But she had to keep on crawling. It was the middle of the night and Lincoln knew no one would be looking for her. It was hot in the laundry room and because she suffers from respiratory problems, it was difficult for Cindy to breathe. She really wasn't sure if she would make it.
Eventually, she did.
To reach the keys to the laptop she had to hoist herself up and into another chair. Cindy was afraid that it would run out of power if she pulled it down to her. Once she was in reach of the computer, she faced another challenge. Because she didn't have her glasses on, Lincoln couldn't see the screen. "I just sat there crying," Lincoln said.
Thinking about what to do next, she remembered Facebook. She had signed up for the site two months ago. Lincoln figured she would at least be able to see the profile pictures. That's when Lincoln happened to click on a Facebook group that only her family members were in. So she typed a comment. "I wrote 'call 911, I need help,' " Lincoln said. That was at 10:00 a.m., nearly 10 hours after she fell.
Cindy's kids, who are all adults now, carry their smartphones everywhere they go. Lincoln hoped one of them would see that they had a new Facebook notification. It didn't take long before one of them did. Minutes after Cindy's cry for help comment went out on Facebook, she received a reply. "ON MY WAY", her daughter-in-law wrote.
It wasn't long after that, that emergency officials arrived and took her to the hospital. For Cindy and her family, it's the road to recovery. She says if it hadn't been for Facebook, she's not sure she would have survived.
If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation where you only have a computer, here is a list of local law enforcement agencies using Facebook and Twitter: