Mysterious illnesses are one of the worst fates anyone could be subjected to. Everyone knows you are unwell, but not even the experts can tell what’s wrong. For over ten years, this woman was sick and no one knew the cause. So how did a crew repairman accidentally discover what doctors couldn’t? Cathy Wilson lives in Shelbyville, Indiana, with her husband and daughter, Ashley.
Ten years ago, Cathy’s life took a dramatic turn. She started feeling extremely fatigued, and it wasn’t a one-day thing that could have resulted from stress. The mother of one’s feeling of exhaustion became a regular thing that affected her job, and from tiredness, it only became worse. She had flu-like symptoms and began struggling with all of her daily activities, her daughter said. Over the years, it just kept getting worse and worse.
Everything that was happening to her was extremely scary. The 41-year-old and her family were very worried because the symptoms she exuded were not only of a cold but other various illnesses. I would get dizzy, lightheaded, bronchitis, and pneumonia. I lost the ability to use my left leg. Then it started moving to my right leg.
I would get nervous, twitches. It got to the point I couldn’t concentrate anymore, she said. She visited her doctor, Mary Beth Hensley, hoping to get some definite answers. Dr. Mary said she presented several times with just flulike illness, malaise, muscle aches, fatigue.
Then her physician ransom tests such as cardiac testing, chest xrays, MRIs of the brain, and even the spine to see if something was related. However, despite their best efforts, none of the tests showed something was wrong. She visited other medical centers as well. The Indiana women had other tests such as blood tests, heart tests, spinal taps, and also Cat scans. Still, she didn’t get the answer she was looking for.
They kept testing and testing and testing and everything kept saying, no, no, no, you’re fine. She tried other medications and purchased various vitamins, but they didn’t ease her suffering either. What made Kathy’s situation more baffling is that the medical practitioners all confirmed one thing. Her immune system was intact. Despite this, her body continued to deteriorate, and it got to the point where she couldn’t even get out of her bed.
So what could cause the mysterious illness that was getting worse by the day? Then her husband and daughter also became sick as well. Her partner developed chronic bronchitis, and her child bounced of pneumonia. But could their sickness be tied to the same source as Cathy’s? Since her health wasn’t getting better, she remodeled her bathroom to be more suitable for her present state.
The contractors she hired were to demolish the existing fixture, install a modern shower, replace existing tile and put in a new vanity. And they were also going to fix her heater. Her apartment were Evans and Luz Duran, along with Doug Tucker from Bespoke Construction. During the reconstruction job, the man noticed a mistake that was made over a decade ago. The furnace in her bathroom was not vented and her heater was badly fixed as well.
There were two gas leaks in her heater, and the leakage released poisonous gas. Carbon monoxide. This is a clear, odorless gas, and it isn’t called a silent killer for no reason. It stayed true to its name, and therefore doctors never discovered what was wrong. It was filling up the Hoosiers home, and the more she stayed indoors, the gas had more time to slowly destroy Kathy’s organs.
The quadrignarian symptoms were exactly that of someone who had inhaled carbon monoxide, flulike, headache, dizziness and weakness. Would you believe it that these guys repairmen discovered what was responsible for the mother’s decade long sickness while fixing a water heater. Sounds surreal, doesn’t it? The poisonous gas was also responsible for Ashley and her dad’s illness as well. Let’s just say these men were right on time because if they hadn’t shown up, who knows what might have happened?
One of the contractors, Duran, said. We moved the heater to another room. The floor was falling in. That’s what caused the flu to shift and it affected the water heater. They were slowly being poisoned.
It’s the worst I’ve ever seen. Cathy States that the contractors were her Guardian Angels. She had begun using a cane to walk, and her family’s optimism about her health had diminished. I felt like an 80 yearold woman stuck in a 40 year old body, and I also had various lung infections. The more I stayed home, the more I slept, the more sick I got.
They brought my life back to me. In my heart of hearts, I know I’m not the only one that has gone through this. I feel great. I haven’t been this happy since I can’t tell how long a relieved Kathy said. The BMV employee also said that her family has two carbon monoxide detectors attached to the ceiling, but none of them caught the poisonous gas.
However, the handyman explained that this was the case because carbon dioxide stays close to the floor rather than ceiling, hence why it wasn’t detected. Experts advise that every home should have carbon monoxide detectors placed close to the floor and close to the rooms. Should your home not have these detectors, get them as soon as you can as they are vital for your safety. For three years, Sue Westwood Ruttledge and her family’s lives were saved by open windows. In 2003, she moved into her house in Greater Manchester with her husband, Tony, and son, Josh.
She began a construction business after moving into a new city. An ambitious woman, she spent her day shuffling between various sites she was managing. At night, while her son slept, she sat in her office to do some paperwork. After finishing her work, she closed the window, but her partner always insisted she left it open. The Britain’s hard work and dedication paid off as she got the recognition she deserved.
Most notably, she was nominated for the Northwest Entrepreneur of the Year. However, while she thrived at work, her health was debilitating. I constantly fell ill. I was tired. I often feel sick and get headaches that I couldn’t get rid of.
I put it down to stress because I was working six days a week, she said. Sue thought that her illness was down to the work that she was putting in, so she reduced her workload and spent more time at home. Still, her health didn’t get any better. Instead, it got even worse. The building contractor started experiencing regular dizzy spells, nausea and fatigue.
She went to a doctor, and she was only told what she had always thought. The doctor told her she was working too hard. Sue took her foot off the gas and instead worked for her office at home rather than jumping from one work site to another. Also, she wasn’t the only one that was sick. Her husband and son were unwell, too.
Seven year old Josh regularly woke her up at night with a stomach ache. But when she took him to the doctor, they found nothing wrong with the boy, so his mum thought perhaps he was being dishonest. She said. He’d wake up with a stomach ache so often, I’d think, Here we go. And by the time he arrived home from school, he was fit and well again.
That made me think he was trying it on. Then, when her sister Emily spent some time working in her home office, she also became so ill that she had to call an ambulance. But she was told that it must have been caused by the food she ate for her boss. The flulike symptoms persisted. By the end of the year, I seemed to have a constant headache, she says.
I was popping paracetamol like there was no tomorrow, and I always felt like I was coming down with flu. I was achy and tired, and at one point I remember sitting on the floor of my office with my head in my hands and just sobbing because I didn’t think I could go anymore. What is the cause of Sue’s unknown illness that has affected her throughout the year? She started having chest pains and collapsed on her front doorstep. At the hospital, doctors conducted all types of blood tests, ECGs, chest X rays and an echocardiogram.
Still, it was the same old story. Some of the medical team even thought maybe her chest problems were caused by cocaine. But sue had never used drugs. She left the hospital with no answers. Instead, she noticed another challenge she had become forgetful.
The entrepreneurs, missed appointments, struggled with facts she’d recently been told and started the same conversation several times. She thought she was suffering from dementia. However, in November 2006, her boiler’s warranty had expired, so she booked a service to fix it. The engineer noticed high levels of carbon monoxide in the room and ordered sue and Emily to leave the house immediately. She said he found that the flu on the middle floor was leaking fatal levels of gas into the house due to the wrong equipment being fitted.
Basically, if my husband hadn’t insisted on opening the windows every night, my family would not have survived. Can you believe that? It took a few minutes for an engineer to diagnose what doctors couldn’t figure out for three years the boiler was replaced and sue began to recover. Her home office was close to the boiler and she spent a lot of time there. Therefore, she was affected more than her husband and son.
I’m just happy she and her family now have a healthier home. Do you have any similar stories of carbon monoxide infection? Share with me in the comments and don’t forget to get your carbon monoxide detector till next time. Time stay safe, everyone.