Treasurer, ARDS Alliance Inc.
My life changed forever on July 3, 2008. I could not have known how my ARDS journey would shape my future. Nor would I know that I would have ARDS again in 2014 and 2017.
On June 30, 2008 I felt like I had a sinus infection so my husband took me to the doctor. The doctor diagnosed me with walking pneumonia and a sinus infection. As the week progressed, I began to feel worse. That Thursday I had asked my daughter to come to my house and take my cat to the groomers. She arrived at my home around 11:15 and found me having a hard time breathing. She is a nurse anesthetist so she knew that I needed medical attention. When we arrived my doctor’s office, they took me back to a room. When they checked my oxygen level it read 42. They thought their pulse ox was broke and tried another one. It had the same reading. They did a blood test to check my oxygen level. It had risen to 46 because they put me on oxygen. They called 911 and the ambulance arrived at the office. They transferred me to the hospital next door.
I was sent to the ICU unit immediately. I was placed on Bi-Pap. Several hours later I was not doing better so they decided to intubate me. They told my family that I had ARDS. I was placed in a medically induced coma for seven days. After I woke up, I was not getting better so they transferred me to a level one trauma center. I was intubated. I was awake on the ventilator this time. I would spend thirty-five days in the ICU at this hospital. I was released after forty-two days in ICU. I was sent to a rehabilitation facility.
I never dreamed that I would could get ARDS again but in 2014 and 2017 I had this condition. Having survived ARDS three times has made me a different person. I now have a passion to make a difference in the ARDS community and to help others by sharing my experiences. I served on the Patient Advisory Board for the American Thoracic Society, lobbied on Capitol Hill for respiratory causes, and written articles for medical journals that have been published around the world. This is a just a few of the things that I have done because of having ARDS. I choose to use my ARDS illnesses to help others. I hope that one day ARDS will not be a devastating illness.
Having survived ARDS three times has made me a different person. I now have a passion to make a difference in the ARDS community and to help others by sharing my experiences.