Posted: Jan 26, 2013 10:43 PM by Erin Schattauer
Updated: Jan 26, 2013 10:44 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - They say she is the woman who had a house fall on her - and survived.
"I'm so happy to be alive. I shouldn't be," Laura Lee Sheehan says while sitting in her fourth floor hospital room.
Laura Lee has spent 145 days in the University of Utah Health Care Burn Unit. Actually, it's 145.6 to be exact, according to her mother, Lisa. Today, Jan. 26, she was finally able to leave and return home to Montana.
Laura Lee was burned over 67% over her body after the house where she lived in Harrison exploded on Sept. 2, 2012. She suffered second and third degree burns all over her body as well as broken bones and other internal injuries that have made her hospital stay even longer.
While she has fought for her life in a Salt Lake City hospital, she has inspired thousands of people, including the staff members who have taken care of her. A Facebook page, Supporting Laura Lee Sheehan, allows 3,530 followers to stay up-to-date on her progress. In her hospital room was a panoramic photo taken outside the Pony Bar where she bartended. In the photo are dozens of people who turned out to snap a photo to send to Laura Lee to show their support.
The photo was one of the many items packed up and trucked back to Montana today. That, along with a Christmas tree, decorations, pictures, a George Strait cardboard cut-out, a mini fridge and other things, helped to make the small, sterile room a little homier.
Many believe it is Laura Lee's strength, her attitude, her spirit that has kept her alive. She is a fighter. It's clear that for her, there is no other way.
For Laura Lee, today was a bittersweet day. She was saying goodbye to the people who saved her.
She ended up leaving the cut-out of George Strait at the University of Utah Health Care Burn Unit as a gift for the doctors and nurses and others who helped her along this journey. On it, she wrote a short note: "Thank you for saving my life! Love, Laura Lee." It's a little something to remember her by, as if they could ever forget her.
Later that day, after the goodbyes and promises from nurses who plan to come to Pony to visit her this summer, Laura Lee boarded a plane and flew to Butte before driving back to Bozeman to stay with her mother.
Laura Lee is now back in Montana, ready to start the next chapter of her life as a survivor.
(Follow Laura Lee's story on KBZK over the next week as we visit with Laura Lee on her last days at University of Utah Health Care and talk to her as well as the doctors and nurses, her friends and her family.)