Few people could do what a guy in North Dakota did on this day in 1992.

After losing his arms in a farm accident, he got himself emergency care and then got his arms back.

John Thompson lived and worked on a farm in Hurdsfield, North Dakota.

He was loading feed into a grain auger when his shirt got caught in what’s called the power takeoff shaft.

That’s what he recognized after the fact: he said he blacked out and then woke up to find that his arms were not attached to his body anymore.

Worse, Thompson was the only one home, which meant that the only person around to call for an ambulance was Thompson himself.

But that’s what he did: he gathered up his strength to walk the 100 yards to his house, used his teeth to turn the doorknob, dialed for help with help from a pencil, and then sat in the bathtub so he wouldn’t get blood on the carpet.

He said he had lost so much blood that the medical staff at the emergency room couldn’t believe he was alive.

Not only was he alive, he was conscious.

He even cracked a joke, telling the crew that was airlifting him to Minnesota for surgery that his arms, which had been packed in ice, felt cold.

Dr. Allen Van Beek was the surgeon who reattached Thompson’s arms.

The patient was in a coma for four weeks right after surgery, and after that he had rehab, and more surgery, and he had to fight off a very dangerous blood infection, but Thompson made it through it all.

And for a time, he was a media sensation, visiting the White House and singing the national anthem at a Minnesota Twins game, though he says he doesn’t remember much of what happened in the time after the accident.

John Thompson has written a book about his experience, called Home In One Piece.

He’s also continued to sing and give speeches, he’s raised money and awareness about blood donations, he’s helped design a bottle for prescription medication that’s easier for people with disabilities to use.

And he makes a point of helping others who have been through similar accidents, so they have support and advice from someone who knows what it’s like.

Today in 2023, a family in Bloomington, Illinois started hearing noises in the garage.

Was it a lost dog, or maybe a raccoon?

Was somebody trying to case the joint?

It was a ring-tailed lemur, which wildlife officials quickly and carefully brought to a nearby zoo for health checks and rehabilitation.

The family named it King Julien, after the character in the Madagascar movies.

Whatever happened to John Thompson, the ND farm kid who had his arms ripped off in a 1992 farm accident? (Ag Week)

An Illinois family heard a noise in their garage. It was an endangered ring-tailed lemur. (Yahoo!)

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Photo by Bill Tanata via Flickr/Creative Commons