Back on her feet

Published 11:59 pm Monday, October 5, 2009

This month marks a year since Fannie Mae Carthon has walked on her own two feet.

But last week, she was up and around the in-patient rehab unit at Andalusia Regional Hospital, walking on her new prosthetic legs.

“It was diabetes and it started with ingrown toenails,” she said of the problems that led to the 86-year-old having her legs amputated last year. “When one foot hurts, they both hurt. But I haven’t had a pain since.”

Carthon said it was always her hope that she would walk again.

“By God’s help, and me doing all I can do, I’m walking again,” she said with a smile. “And I love these people here (at rehab). They’re sweet as they can be.”

Mrs. Carthon spent three weeks at the rehab center.

“I stand up and walk. I walk some. Then I sit down and rest a while,” she said.

Learning to walk again might have seemed difficult for some people her age, but as she looks back across the years, she points to much bigger challenges.

“I’m the mother of 13,” she said. “One weighed over 11 pounds.”

“There was no money then,” she recalled. “I raised them all on 50 cents a day.”

She explained that she earned 50 cents a day working in the fields and her husband earned 60 cents.

“When the field work was over, I would clean houses, clean yards and scrub floors,” she said. “If there was no money, I took food. I hauled it home in a croaker sack to feed the children.

“If we had bread, we stretched it,” she said. “I would come home from working in the fields and find boxes on my porch. People brought us clothes. I’ve sewn buttons and zippers, but we had clothes.”

She and her family moved to Andalusia in 1949. She has seven surviving children, and too many grandchildren to count.

“I quit counting at 21,” she said. “They had a reunion and said there were all kinds of young’uns there. And I’m the seed of the whole thing.”

She attributes being a healthy octogenarian to “loving everybody and living right.”