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My experience with ARDS began in January of 1995 when, at the age of 52, I developed pheumoccal pneumonia and sepsis. ARDS was diagnosed a couple of days after arriving at St. Clare's Hospital in Schenectady, NY. I spent the next three months in the critical care unit. I was given sleep inducing drugs, had a tracheotomy, was placed on a respirator, had five pneumothoraxes, seven blood clots and had gall bladder surgery. After that, I went to an inpatient rehab, Sunnyview Hospital, also in Schenectady. I was there for one month. My family did not know what ARDS was. No one had ever heard of it. There was no information available. My husband found the definition of ARDS at our local library, but that was it. My family was beside themselves with fear and grief. I am a luck survivor. Upon the anniversary of my 5th year of survival, I decided to check the internet. That is when I found the ARDS website. For the first time, I understood what had really happened to me. I can not describe what it felt like not to be alone. All of a sudden, I found others who knew what I and my family had been through. About a month later, I was invited to be included in a group of people who communicate with victims and their families. It seemed to be a way that I could pay back all the people who prayed for me and supported me when I was in crisis and recovery. They include the wonderful medical staff at St. Clare's and Sunnyview, my family and friends. To them I will be forever grateful. Until this happened, I don't think I knew what it was truly like to say thank you to God. I still don't know why I was chosen to live. I will do everything I can to help families in ARDS crisis. By sharing my experience, I can give hope, practical advice and insight to others who suffer from this devastating syndrome. It is a way of telling people that they are not alone.

Linda Root