Is that smoke? Is there a fire?

I have had many close calls with near disasters.  Most of these have centered around my brain fog and issues with short-term memory.  The first happened early on after I moved into my “safe” house.  I was sitting on my cot which was not only my bed but my place to sit and read.  Then all of a sudden my smoke alarm was going off!  What could be on fire?  I panicked.  This was my only safe place.  What if there was an electrical fire?  Quickly I began to search room by room.  As I made my way through the living room, I could smell smoke in the kitchen?  What could be burning?  It was a pot of beans that I had put on to cook and then just as quickly forgot about.  After that incident, I began setting the timer on the stove.  Of course the timer only works if you can hear it.

One day my husband and I were outside and we saw smoke coming out of the vent in the kitchen.  Again, a pan was smoking!  I had set the timer and then walked outside and never heard it go off.  Now I set the timer and stay within range or turn the burner off.  I have had so many close calls.  The scariest part is that if my house were to burn, where would I go?

Fast forward a couple of years and it is Christmas time.  I am taking this excerpt from my book:

   On Christmas Eve, Laura and I made a cheesecake. There must have been too much butter in the crust or the pan was not put together correctly because it leaked all over the oven. In my infinite wisdom (and brain fog), I decided that we would just set the oven to the self-clean cycle and watch a movie. Then it would be clean the next morning and not smoke when we cooked dinner. All of a sudden we heard popping and crackling! There was a fire in the oven. We immediately turned the oven off and the whole house smelled of smoke. It was cold but we opened doors and windows in an attempt to get the smoke out. The smoke eventually left but the smell did not. Great! I had contaminated the only safe place I had. My only option was to go into the garage and sleep in the car. But it was so darn cold. My clothes in the house smelled, as did my blankets. My only choice was to sleep in the car wearing two Tyvek suits to try to stay warm, and I occasionally started up the car to turn the heater on. Morning came and, while the house wasn’t perfect, I managed by wearing my mask. But I had the awful task of washing and drying all the clothes my family would be wearing when they arrived as well as all my bedding. We survived but what a story that made.

Have you had any close calls with fires or near disasters because of brain fog or short-term memory loss?  I would love to hear your stories.

6 responses to “Is that smoke? Is there a fire?

  1. Kathy!   I love my new towel!   I’ve been trying for over a week to figure out how to send you an email.   I’m getting dummer and more forgetful.  AT&T changed my format and obviously I’m a creature of habit and finding the right thing to click on to do things I’ve been doing differently for years is driving me crazy.  Looks like you are keeping very busy.  Are you a millionaire yet?  I can’t think of anyone I’d rather see make a million.  What would you do if you won that much money?    I saw my lawyer last week.  Waldinger wants to settle for $8,500.  Platte County offered $3,500.  My lawyer says both companies are admitting that there was a problem in my work area and he suggests I accept their offers, saying it will increase his chances of winning my lawsuit with the Missouri Second Injury Fund.    I reminded him that the Second Injury Fund is funded by Companies, went bankrupt two years ago and before they went bankrupt they stopped making payments to injured  individuals who had won their cases and the Injury Fund promised to pay them benefits for life.  My lawyer said that everything indicates the Missouri Second Injury Fund will paying people again.  DO YOU FEEL THAT COLD AIR???  HELL IS FREEZING OVER???   A year ago he said that going public with my problems would be beneficial for my cases.  Last week he said “Going ;public with your information will only piss both companies off and they will both resend their offers.”   I said, “What offer?   $10,000 is not enough to pay your expenses and that leaves me with nothing anyway,”  He just glared at me.  I said I’d make my decision in a week.  He said, “You have a very weak case and if you hesitate you may have to find a different lawyer to represent you.”   I said, OK and left.    I stewed over my decision and researched welding poisoning lawsuits and found a government site that said several thousand people have lawsuits like mine pending in courts and the government wants lawyers to settle as many of these cases as possible before they have to admit that Chemical Sensitivity is a Disease and people who have not settled begin winning their lawsuits because the government is fearful that if would adversely affect the United States economy if all of these people who are sick from breathing welding fumes win their lawsuits.  Millions of dollars would have to be paid out and that might bankrupt America.   I guess they don’t realize that America is already bankrupt and owned by China because America has been overspending and borrowing too much money for years.    I’m going to fight because the meager amount they offer isn’t enough to help me.  I’m willing to gamble it all realizing it can go either way.  Too many years have passed for me to sue either company for wrongful termination, salary fraud, employer tort or anything but Workman Compensation. I want my grandsons to know why I “act funny.”   That there is a reason why I am not able to go places and do very many things with them.  I want them to know “my story” and your success encourages me to eventually write a book to tell my story.  I just finished reading Canary in the Court Room.  It was great.     I called my son yesterday so I could bounce my decision off him.  He answered the phone and I said, “I love you.  Pack the whisky and come over tonight because I need to talk.”  He said he’d come earlier if I needed him and I said I was OK but I needed to talk.  He said quit being embarrassed, send your information to 20/20, 60 Minutes and anyone else you want to send it to, keep one copy of everything and thro the rest of these papers away.  If you’re still alive when this crap comes to trial you will either be a rich woman able to afford treatments that will no longer help you – or – you will receive nothing and you continue living like you have for the past 14 years.  You’re a fighter.  A bull dog.  You won’t let go of this until you do everything you believe is important.   If you accept their offers you will never be happy again.  I don’t give a damn if you win or lose this stupid lawsuit.  I want you happy.  I want you to enjoy your life.  Finish this battle.  Don’t give up until you have to.  To hell with what people think or say or imply when you wobble around.  You don’t sleep with them.  The only person you owe anything to is you.  Yourself.  I love you no matter what you do.  Elsa and the boys love you more than anything.  You won’t be happy until you fight this to the end.  Organize this crap, put it in an envelope, mail it and then relax and see what happens.  Shit will hit the fan.  If Waldinger or Platte County sue you for making this mess public what are they going to take away from you?  You have no money.  They can’t take your house.  You can’t work.  They can’t take your salary.  If they win then you win.  Your disclosure will embarrass the Giants which will make you happy.  If you end up getting money fine.  If you get no money and they sue you then your life won’t change.  They can’t get blood from a turnip.  Make yourself happy.  That’s all I want for you.  Damn I raised two great kids!     Well, the short email I planned on writing has turned into the chapter of my book!   I hope you and yours are all OK.    Your very good friend,  Ann      

    • Hey All – This is from a very dear friend of mine that I met in 2003. I feel that there is so much to say to this comment that I am going to dedicate a post to it. If all goes well, I will have it up later today or tomorrow.

  2. I can appreciate your concern about having your safe place contaminated – glad all worked out.

    Fortunately I have a timer on my stove that keeps beeping until I go and turn it off – it has saved me more than once. My mother has taught me to turn on my oven light every time my oven is on – it’s a quick reminder that I have something cooking or that I forgot to turn off the oven.

  3. i can absolutely relate to this post! i often forget things due to brain fog – (where are my keys??), and cooking worries me the most. i once put a pot of water on the stove to boil noodles, then forgot about it and left the house!!! when i came back a little while later, all the water had boiled off, but the stove was still on. fortunately nothing caught fire, but it definitely opened my eyes to my short-term memory problems. now if i’m cooking, i set a timer, or i will even just sit on the kitchen floor (i can’t stand for very long) and read a book, so i can keep a constant eye on the stove or oven.

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