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Rosemarie's Story
You might think that it won't happen to you -- it can and it will.

It was March 4, 2006

I awoke like every other morning - It was about 3:47am and as usual, I reached for my cigarettes. I keep a fan blowing on me winter and summer to help me breathe, so I turned my face into the pillow with my o2 on my face as usual. Flick, flick, finally it lit but boom was the next thing I heard, and fire going everywhere, my face included. I yelled at my husband Tom who was sleeping beside me. But it was too late. I was on fire including my face where the o2 was concentrated. The smell was terrible. I was scared to death because, just one year before my Mother had done this and was burned in the lungs by inhaling the fire.

All I remember saying to Tom is I have 3 days to live because that is what mom had lived. He got the fire out, and changed my clothes. We headed the hospital to have them see what they could do. Once there I went through the usual things of an ER. Finally they wanted to send me to Pittsburgh Burn Center, but I refused to go, so they admitted me. I put in some hard time the next 3 days.

Little did I know the hard times was yet to come. Well I passed the 3 day mark, but the o2 level in my blood was dropping and making me very sick.

A week went by and I got worse. Some days I don't remember at all. I have been told that I was out of my head. I do remember being moved to another room and the hospital staff telling me they were life flighting me to the Burn Center in Pittsburgh. By that time I could have cared less, I guess from the drugs. The men from life flight was there to get me and I went. From what I remember I enjoyed it. Once there they tested and tested and punched and prodded until I just didn't care any more. Thank God I needed no plastic surgery and the burn seemed to heal with the creme they put on it. So after 5 days there they send me home.

I didn't feel good but I was home and I would get stronger -- wrong. The health nurse came on Wednesdays. That week, my sats were way down so it was back the hospital for me. In the ER, the took one look and put me in a room. When ask why, I was told my lungs were infected from the o2 burns and I wasn't responding to treatment. The left lung wasn't holding any air and appeared to be not working at all. I have days I don't recall at all. The doctors had given up on me living. By then I couldn't walk, or turn off of my left side.

From then until May 24th, that is where I was. I was only being able to come home then because the doctors said I only had 2 days at best to live.

But through a lot of love and great care I live to tell this story. My habit of cigarettes caused all of this. Smoking with your o2 on is not smart! You might think that it won't happen to you -- it can and it will. Cigarettes will kill you one way or the other. Thanks to them I forever wear o2 all the time and have shorted my own life - all for the puff of a cigarette.

Please think what your doing. It's not easy to quit but it is the only way to live!

Rosemarie Leatham

Rosemarie Leatham, we knew her as Whitedove,  a contributor to the  library passed away on Sunday 10/28/2007.
Her philosophy of helping others is best exemplified by the following:

"my goal for writing this was to help someone
not to live through what I did."

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