Friday, November 3, 2017

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

My family almost died over the weekend.

That looks really dramatic in writing. But I'm not being dramatic and I'm not exaggerating.

Saturday morning at 3:00am our carbon monoxide detector went off. Joe and I thought it was because the battery was dying and it hadn't been plugged in for a few hours. I had unplugged it at our old house and stuck it in my nightstand drawer. In the chaos of moving, I hadn't remembered to take it out of the drawer and plug it in. So we took out the battery and went back to bed.

The next morning, he went to the gym and reminded me to put a new battery in the detector. I put in a new battery and went about my morning. As I'm playing with Teacup Human, I hear it go off again. "Maybe a bad battery?" I thought to myself. I just pulled a random one from the drawer so I tried another one.

Switched out the batteries and everything was fine. Until it went off again.

I called Joe and told him he needed to come home immediately and we're calling the fire department. He got home and went to wait outside for the department while I sat in the three season room with Teacup and Bentley.

The firemen came inside and basically do an about-face, telling Joe that we needed to get out of the house immediately. Teacup and I sat in Joe's car while he stood outside with Bentley and some of the firemen, waiting for any sort of information. 

They found carbon monoxide and they found a lot of it. Watching the firemen walk in and out of our house with their masks on was enough to tell me that any news they had wasn't going to be good.

While I was sitting in the car with Teacup, keeping warm, one of the firemen came over and said he' was going to test my CO level. He put a clamp on my finger and the test read 17. For reference, I was three points away from being labeled with severe carbon monoxide poisoning. Joe, who had been out of the house for a while, was at a 6 and Teacup was too small for them to get an accurate reading.

She'd been home with me all morning though, so common sense told us all that if I was that high, there was a good chance she was high as well. Teacup and I were instructed to wait in the ambulance so we could get oxygen while Joe waited in the garage with the firemen, who have already called the gas company, for his parents to arrive and take Bentley. We'd been informed we were all going to the hospital with CO poisoning. 

While waiting in the ambulance and giving one of the firemen information for both their paperwork and for him to give the doctors at the ER, he looked me directly in the eye and told me it's a good thing we had a CO detector. That with as much CO was in the house, if we had spent one more night there we might not have woken up the next morning.

Let that sink in.

I shared this story on my Facebook page and had numerous people tell me they either went out and bought a detector or bought more. I share this with you because I want you to be safe. I want your family to be safe.

Carbon monoxide is referred to as the silent killer because it is colorless and odorless. There is no way to tell it is in your house unless you have a carbon monoxide detector. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptoms are a "headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as 'flu-like.' " Sounds like something your typically over-the-counter medication or some rest could take care of, doesn't it?

This was by far the scariest day of my life. I never thought I'd have to see my 11-month-old hooked up to machines, with a blood pressure cuff around her arm, placing an oxygen mask in front of her face, and holding her to me while the doctor's had to draw blood. (She luckily had the lowest level of CO.) But we are alive and healthy. As a wife, mother, and human being I am begging all of you to ensure you have a CO detector, if not one of each floor, in your homes. It saved all our lives.

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