Baby, It's Cold Inside, Too

Dale Page comforts his wife, Nancy, who has severe medical problems, at her stepdaughter Shari Turner's home in the Kenilworth section of Bowie.
Dale Page comforts his wife, Nancy, who has severe medical problems, at her stepdaughter Shari Turner's home in the Kenilworth section of Bowie. "It does draw the family closer together," he says of power outages, which area residents call routine. That is "the only positive thing about losing power." (By Lois Raimondo -- The Washington Post)

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By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 16, 2007

At 12:25 p.m. yesterday, Ryan Turner looked out his bedroom window and announced some potentially good news.

"BG and E just came through our street!" the 11-year-old called out to family members sitting near a fireplace in the living room.

"Go get them," his mom joked.

"They passed us. Mom, they passed us," Ryan called back.

For the rest of the afternoon, Ryan, his mother, Shari Turner, and four other family members coped through their second day without power or heat in the Kenilworth section of Bowie.

They put two new logs on the fire every half-hour or so. They played trivia games, laughed through obscure movie references, filled out sudoku puzzles. Ryan made himself two bologna-and-ketchup sandwiches.

"It does draw the family closer together," said Dale Page, whose wife, Nancy Page, is Shari's stepmother. "That's about the only positive thing about losing power."

The family members' relatively good spirits could be attributed at least in part to a perspective brought about by severe medical problems faced two of them. Leukemia was diagnosed in Ryan, a fifth-grader at Kenilworth Elementary School, five years ago. He completed three years of treatment, and the cancer is in remission.

Her back ravaged by two operations, Nancy -- who was married to Shari's father, who is now deceased -- needs a walker or wheelchair to get around. An implanted automatic drip feeds morphine into her back. Nancy also has respiratory problems and uses oxygen when she sleeps.

"You doing okay, Nanc'?" Dale Page asked her yesterday inside the home.

"I'm hanging in there," she said, sitting near the fire.

Dale and Nancy, who live about three blocks from Ryan and Shari, lost their power, too. Because their gas heat is governed by electricity, they said, their heat also was out.


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