SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) — There’s not a step Kathi Wilson takes each day that the 41-year-old BMV employee takes for granted.
“For the first time in I don’t know, 8 years, 10 years, I have energy and I almost feel like a kid inside again," Kathi said.
That’s because just a year and a half ago, Kathi struggled to even take a step using a cane or walker.
"I felt like an 80-year-old woman stuck in a 40-year-old body," she said.
It all started 10 years ago when Kathi developed extreme fatigue. It just got worse from there.
"I would get dizzy, lightheaded, bronchitis, pneumonia," said Kathi.
"I lost the ability to use my left leg. Then it started moving to my right leg. I would get nervous twitches. I got to the point I couldn't concentrate anymore," she said.
Doctors tested Kathi for everything. She has a stack of medical bills to prove it.
She underwent blood tests, heart tests, cat scans, spinal taps, EKG’s and MRI’s.
"They kept testing and testing and testing and everything kept saying ‘No, no, no, no, you're fine,'" said Kathi.
She said most days, she could hardly get out of bed.
"The more I stayed home, the more I slept, the more I got sick," she said.
Even when her husband and daughter developed chronic bronchitis and bouts of pneumonia, Kathi never thought it could all be connected.
That is, not until three contractors, who Kathi calls her saving graces, started renovating her bathroom last month.
"They were being poisoned," said Brothers Contracting's Mike Evans.
The contractors, Evans and Luze Duran, along with Doug Tucker from BeSpoke Construction, found Kathi's house full of carbon monoxide from an improperly vented furnace and two gas leaks in the hot water heater.
"This actually was the worst I've ever seen," said Duran.
The Wilsons weren't naïve about the dangers of carbon monoxide. They had a dual carbon monoxide-smoke detector on the ceiling. They found out the hard way that it wasn't the best location for it.
"On the ceiling, that's the wrong spot to put it," said Evans. "Carbon monoxide is heavier than air. It would go closer to the floor."
Evans said that's where carbon monoxide settles, and why Wilson's alarm never sounded.
The Wilsons had no idea being in their home was slowly killing them.
Blood tests finally proved that Kathi had carbon monoxide in her blood, even days after staying out of the house.
Kathi's doctor told Eyewitness News Kathi’s many health issues were because she’d slowly been poisoned by carbon monoxide.
The Wilsons would never have known though if not for the men renovating their bathroom.
"They are my angels. They brought my life back to me," said Kathi.
Now Kathi is taking that life and telling her story to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
"In my heart of hearts, I know I’m not the only one that has gone through this," said Kathi.
The Wilson family was proactive in trying to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and there are measures you can take right now to protect yourself.
Click this link to learn more about the symptoms and steps to take to prevent this from happening in your home.