Mom Sick For 10 Years Until Repairmen Find Something Very Wrong In Her Furnace

Treat Yourself

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Kathi heard the doorbell ring. She dragged herself upright and hunched over, coughing heavily. She reached for her walking stick and got up from the couch. She shuffled to the door. Her cane tapped and scraped against the wood floor. The contractors had arrived. While they went upstairs to finish the job, she retired back to her usual spot—the couch. She closed her eyes, hoping a nap would take away some of the aches. Then, they screamed her name.

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Illness

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Kathi Wilson was a regular 41-year-old from Shelbyville, Indiana. She worked hard to support her family. She wasn’t a CrossFit champion, but she lived a regularly active lift. Ten years ago, she unexpectedly fell ill. She convinced herself that she was just run down from stress and work. But her daughter was worried. And she was right to be.

Visit

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Kathi took over-the-counter medicines and a mixture of vitamins to try and shake the illness. Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Zinc, Iron—nothing seemed to help. After a few weeks, Ashely, her daughter, dragged her to see a doctor. But the doctor just told her what she already knew. She was given a note to take a few days off work to recuperate. But Kathi’s illness was persistent.

Not Right

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Kathi continued to deteriorate. She was pale. She had random bouts of exhaustion. Her appetite vanished. Ashley was worried. Weeks after her first visit, she was forced to return to the doctor. They were surprised. Strong, young women with a healthy immune system like Kathi should have overcome the flu weeks ago. Now, they were concerned.

Mystery

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Dr. Mary Beth Hensley began to take Kathi seriously. She ran blood tests and allergy tests to eliminate any intolerance or disease. All the tests clarified that Kathi was a healthy woman. Although they didn’t have a diagnosis, Kathi was put on a number of different antibiotics as an “elimination” approach. Dr. Hensley hoped Kathi’s reaction to the medication would give her a better clue to her ailment, but the opposite happened.

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Bed Rest

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Kathi felt worse instead of better. Her body ached. She could barely keep her eyes open. And the mystery illness began to take its toll on her mental health. Friends and family members began to worry. Maybe it was all in her head? But Kathi knew her body. And Ashely was witness to her mother’s deterioration. They knew something wasn’t right.

Doctor

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Kathi was determined to get to the bottom of her illness. She searched her symptoms online. She tried natural remedies, herbal treatment concoctions, spoke to apparent “experts” in online chats. Nothing helped. And no one could give her an answer. As time went on, more and more people began to lose faith in her. She never felt so alone before. Maybe it was all in her head?

Tests

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Over the next 10 years, Kathi visited her doctor regularly. Dr. Hensley explained that she provided Kathi with the utmost care, testing for everything she could. Dr. Hensley explained the lengths she went to diagnose Kathi, insisting on “cardiac testing, chest x-rays, MRI’s [of] the brain, the spine, to see if something was related.” But nothing seemed out of place. “I felt we were very thorough but didn’t come up with a solution.” Kathi was sick and tired.

No Cure

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Kathi’s mystery illness affected her relationships, her work, and her quality of life. Years of illness impacted her mental health. Ten years after her original flu-like symptoms, she decided to treat herself to a bathroom makeover. If no one could help her, she would help herself. She planned to remodel the entire bathroom to create a sanctuary. She arranged for contractors to take care of everything. Then, they made a shocking discovery.

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Frenzy

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“When was your water heater installed?” The contractor’s forehead was crumpled. Kathi had to think. It had been years before she had gotten sick. Ashley must have been a little girl at the time. “Maybe 10 years ago?” They were horrified. The men had discovered the furnace and water heater had been fitted incorrectly, causing trace amounts of carbon monoxide to leak into the house over the years. But wasn’t carbon monoxide poisonous?

Deadly

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Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. The gas is colorless and odourless—invisible. When exposed, the gas displaces oxygen in the blood, causing serious damage to the heart, brain, and vital organs. Slight exposure to CO can cause fatigue, nausea, headaches, chest pains, and dizziness. But prolonged exposure can have a serious impact, including vomiting, muscle weakness, fainting, and confusion. Some cases result in death. How had she been misdiagnosed so many times?

Answers

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Suddenly, Kathi’s decade-long symptoms made sense! After years of searching for answers from healthcare professionals and specialists, she had given up hope. But finally, the most unexpected visitors gave her an answer. “I was shocked,” she shared. Kathi suffered from an unexplained illness, leaving her in the physical condition of an old woman. How could she ever thank them?

Changed Life

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Ashley was overjoyed with the news. Finally, they were given proof of her mother’s ailment. Now, she would be able to function like a regular human being. "Over the years it kept getting worse and worse," her Ashley explained. After years of being bed-ridden, they would be able to go shopping and go for meals and do all the things they missed out on. But how could she forgive doctors after years of neglect?

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Recovery

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Kathi got much more than a new bathroom from these contractors. She hasn’t felt as good in years. She finally has her life back. Although she still has some recovering to do after the years of being exposed to poison, she’s delighted to have her body, mind, and spirit back. "I feel great," she said. "I haven’t been this happy in I can’t tell how long." But there’s a worrying aspect to this story.

Trust

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Kathi was called crazy, delusional and a hypochondriac over the years. Tests were negative. Doctors prescribed bed rest or exercise or a potion of pills. Nothing helped. No one could give her answers. Kathi was right to trust her instincts. But she wishes she had pushed harder for a diagnosis. Although Kathi had to wait a decade for answers, she’s thankful. She hopes her story will raise awareness to the dangers of carbon monoxide and now looks forward to her new-found energy.

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