Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carbon monoxide PSA

In honor of my anniversary coming up and in honor of the colder weather, I would like to share with my readers a cautionary tale of two young newlyweds embarking on their FIRST week together.

Mark and I were married Nov. 25, by the first week of December we were experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning. I don't joke. I moved into our lovely duplex on Spring Garden the day after our wedding and pretty soon after (like in the first week) I experienced my first and only migraine EVAH!
Mark worked at the car plant during the night. It was a Friday night when this all started. I went to work writing obituaries that evening with the worst headache of my life. I don't know how I made it through. After work I stopped by my mother's house. I was sick and didn't want to be alone. Mark called around 10:30 p.m. not realizing how sick I was, he refused to pick me up and instead made me drive the two blocks home. (I still hold a grudge) Instead of driving myself those two long blocks, I had my loving twin brother take me and drop me off. The next day was our town's Christmas parade and Mark and I were planning on attending. On Mark's way home from work he even stopped and bought us both long underware in anticipation of the next morning.

After stopping off for long underware, Mark made it home around 4 a.m. At this time I was dry heaving in the bathroom. I was in SO much pain, my whole body ached. After staggering back to the bedroom I asked Mark 'Where were you in my time of need!' He replied that he was sitting on the bed gathering up the courage to come watch me throw up. Turns out my new husband has a weak stomach.

The next morning I tried to gather up the strength to go watch Christmas floats on Main Street. No such luck. I was so pitiful and in so much pain. I couldn't even sit or stand. Not only did my head hurt but my whole body ached. Mark insisted on taking me to the emergency clinic.

We went to the clinic, missed the parade and all I could tell the doctor was 'Make my head stop hurting NOW!!!' So I left the office with pain medication and medication for a throat infection. Turns out I also had a throat infection which I should have been hurting from but I was in so much full body pain my throat felt wonderful.
So for about a week I was on the antibiotic for my throat and took a few of the pain pills. I didn't take many because I have really low tolerence for medication and they made me loopy (as in I did the cha cha slide at a wedding and professed my love for The Pick of Destiny and Jack Black all while taking them)
During this week I noticed that Mark and I were sleeping for long periods of time and our little dog was throwing up EVERY day. Little did we know what was lurking in our house.
When I moved into Mark's duplex my dad installed a carbon monoxide detector. He just said he felt safer with us having one there. I fully believe my dad saved our life.
A few weeks or so after the body aches the carbon monoxide detector went off. Mark had just left for work. It was a Thursday night. I was in the house with Mack and all of a sudden the alarm started going off. I grabbed Mack and the phone and stood by the back door and called my dad. After talking to my dad we decided we needed to call the fire department to have it checked out.
The fire department came. Remember I had been airing out the apartment before they got there. The firemen closed our apartment back up for a few minutes and then went in to take readings. The readings showed there was definitely carbon monoxide in our apartment and it was coming out of the air vents. I forget the numbers they told me but they were definitely high. The firemen confirmed that my illness earlier in the month and our sleeping late and Mack's throwing up were all symptoms. Our gas was turned off and they told me I needed to find a place to sleep for the night. Mack and I packed our bags.
The firemen told us we were lucky that it wasn't that cold outside because our heater wasn't working as hard as it would be in the upcoming weeks. If it had been colder out and our heater was running more often then it was quite possible that something could have happened.
So as we all enter the winter months, remember to make sure you have a working detector and if yours goes off, DON'T IGNORE IT. You can't smell or see carbon monoxide. It's better to be safe. I share our experience and symptoms so you will be aware that it can happen, even in your first week or month of marriage!


  1. Thanks for posting this, carbon monoxide is scary stuff, I'm glad everything turned out okay for you guys!

  2. That is scary. Thanks for posting this. I am going to check into getting one in our house as we have gas heat and that scares me. I am glad that everything was good with you guys.