30 Days of PH: California Wildfires

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by Jen Cueva |

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Day 28 of 30 Days of PH⁣⁣ Topic: California wildfires ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ This is Kim’s story @klovesk14⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ My name is Kim Keen Gunaratne. I was diagnosed with PAH in 2014 after being very sick for two years with no answers. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Before my PH diagnosis, I moved from my coastal home in Fort Bragg California to Magalia California, I wanted to finish nursing school, which wasn’t available in my area. After relocating I became ill, and instead of moving back to Fort Bragg, I stayed in Magalia. I wasn’t medically stable enough to make the move, and I needed to find doctors immediately.⁣ ⁣⁣ On November 8th, 2018, my life as I knew it was no more. I was awakened by a call from my Mom. She told me that she and my brother were heading to my house as they were just evacuated. They live 6 minutes away in the neighboring town, Paradise California. But within minutes she called back saying that they were not allowed to come in our direction. The fire was spreading quickly, as in the length of 3 football fields burned within a matter of 3 seconds. I jumped up and my husband, my caregiver, and I grabbed everything we could possibly grab. This included our three dogs, my oxygen concentrator, and all of my PH medications. You can imagine the added stress this was on us and the effects of the smoke had on my breathing. ⁣ ⁣⁣ Over 20,000 people were forced out of their homes with nowhere to go. We had to sleep in a tent. Without enough portable oxygen for a full night, an amazing couple put an extension cord out for my concentrator. After a long cold night, we went to an RV park 4 hours from home, then to a motel. We were evacuated there for over a month.⁣ ⁣⁣ Within time, thankfully we learned that our home only had smoke and ash damage. Out of our family, unfortunately, my adult son and his girlfriend lost their home and everything they owned including a car. Because of the fires, our hospital is gone, causing a major shortage of healthcare and housing. One year later and I am still trying to figure out how to live in the aftermath of the fires with PH.⁣⁣ ⁣ #30daysofPH #californiawildfires ⁣

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