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Karen Perrin: 8-hour bathroom nightmare ends in heroic escape by Karen Perrin

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Karen Perrin experienced the most unimaginable nightmare when she found herself trapped in a bathroom for eight hours with no way to escape. Karen Perrin, who is the wife of former Redskins running back Lonnie Perrin, does not like closed spaces. “'I felt hopelessness. I felt like I was going to die in there because of the anxiety I was feeling,” she told ABC News according to a Dec. 11, 2013, report.

Karen Perrin’s experience of being trapped in a bathroom for eight hours might sound less of a tragic experience to those readers who would just go to sleep after being trapped in a bathroom. But those readers who understand the feeling of panic, anxiety, and hopelessness that takes over when being in a closed space, might understand.

On Friday night, Karen Perrin, who works as a senior assistant at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Washington, D.C., stayed at the office until 10 p.m. because she was making travel arrangements for her boss.

Before leaving her office, Karen Perrin called her husband Lonnie Perrin to tell him that she’d be home in about 10 to 15 minutes, and then wanted to use the bathroom briefly before heading home. Because it was just meant to be a quick bathroom visit, Karen Perrin left her bags, including her cell phone at her desk.

After Karen Perrin had washed her hands, she went to the bathroom door, turned the handle – and nothing.

The handle would not budge.

“I thought, ‘Ah! This cannot be,’” Karen Perrin told ABC News, describing the initial moment of panic. “It sounds crazy, but I went back into the stall and then washed my hands again hoping to change something.”

But nothing changed and the bathroom door handle still wouldn’t budge.

“That’s when it hit me,” she says. “‘I’m locked in here.’”

No jiggling the bathroom door handle, no kicking the door with her boot, and no screaming changed anything – Karen Perrin was trapped with no way out.

In her despair, Karen Perrin stuffed more than 200 paper towels under the door in the hope that someone would see the movement on security cameras. She climbed on a chair in order to reach an escape door in the ceiling but unable to hoist herself up, she still found herself trapped.

What Karen Perrin did find was a 3-foot long rod that she used to chisel her way through the wall so that she could reach through the hole and open the door from the other side.

After two hours of chiseling through the layers of dry wall and insulation, Karen Perrin finally had a hole large enough so that her arm could fit through it. “She then reached out, grasped for the handle on the other side and opened the door.”

Karen Perrin told ABC News about the moment that marked the end of her eight-hour nightmare in a bathroom. “I was crying. I felt like I was escaping a bad dream, like when you have a nightmare and you wake up and your heart is pounding and you realize, ‘Oh, I was just dreaming. Did that just happen. Am I OK?’”

Once Karen Perrin was free and able to get to her cell phone again, she immediately called her husband to let him know that she was o.k.

When describing her eight-hour bathroom nightmare, Karen Perrin said that while being trapped, she was thinking about “Shawshank Redemption,” the 1994 movie with Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman that was based on a novella by Stephen King.

Being an author of science fiction, fantasy, suspense, and contemporary horror, Stephen King might just give Karen Perrin’s eight-hour experience the title “Nightmare in the Bathroom.”

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