Terry Barrett Green stands outside her house between Nacogdoches and Woden remembering vividly the day Columbia went down."And when I looked up in the air there was two huge big vapor trails right above my house," she recalled. Fallen debris and a strong ammonia smell followed, the end of the shuttle, but the beginning for Green's medical problems.
"They confirmed me as being contaminated and they said by what they figured it was by a ruptured fuel cell," said Green. The cell carried three potentially deadly components. Green continually faces skeptics, like the E-R doctor who first saw her for respiratory problems and nausea. Green said, "He told one of the nurses that was working there it will be amazing how many cases of shuttle bug we end up treating in the next two weeks and he laughed about it. So I left."
Green called NASA and was told to log every symptom. Respiratory illness, fatigue, persistent itching, rashes, vomiting and high blood pressure were on the list. Out of 85 potentially contaminated victims, Green is the only one who received compensation. There is no real 'medical' explanation why Green got sick while others didn't when the shuttle fell.
"I received $1700 that was for medical bills, time lost at work and they seemed to think it would be out of my system in three months and here 2 1/2 years later I still have problems."
Cancer is Green's worst fear so she fought for continued coverage, but eventually gave up. She is now an advocate for Columbia's chemical trail awareness.