Last year, while doing the #postaday challenge for WordPress, I posted that every day I was going to do one thing this year: Breathe. Well, given my recent run-in with CO, I have to say that I am happy with the fact that I can and am able to still breathe is an amazing feeling. Every day, when I take a breath, I remember that I am glad to still be alive. This is the second silent killer that has tried and not succeeded. So please, every one, take a moment and take a breath.
We hear so often how important it is to have a smoke detector to improve your ability to get out of your house if a fire happens. Somewhere in the mix, we are also told to get a carbon monoxide detector, but do we really understand the effects it has on us? Well, I now know… first hand.
I moved into the home that my grandparents bought new in 1962, so this house has always been in our family. I moved in January 1, 2012 and worked out of the house. Near the end of February, I started feeling back pain. I’ve had some issue with it, and it usually lasts two weeks or so and decreases with medication and exercises. It started getting worse and worse to the point where I could barely get out of bed because of the amount of pain I was in. I didn’t have the energy to do anything, partly because of constant pain, partly due to medications. I figured that my energy was going to attempting to heal the body. I went to see an osteopath (by taxi because it was too painful to drive) who said that there was a lot of swelling in my abdominal area as well as around the injury. He did what he could and suggested some changes to my diet over the next week and see if it improved by our next appointment the following week.
When I called in a contractor in early April to give some advice about the layout of the plumbing and HVAC system in our basement that we are renovating, he wasn’t there a few minutes before he said, “Have you had any problems with carbon monoxide? A lot of headaches, or the like?” I replied that we had a detector that was at the top of the stairs that led to the basement and no, I didn’t have any headaches. With all the renovations going on downstairs, there were no outlets to plug the detector into anyway. He said that he was pretty sensitive to it and our HVAC system was leaking it… severely. It was so bad that he said that he had to shut the system down immediately. One of the vents that went up to the chimney had deteriorated and it was a hazard. When I asked how long it would have taken to get like that, he said it could have been as little as one month. He could have a crew in the next day to install a new furnace and hot water tank. Make it so I said!
That night, it got to be quite cold, but I figured that was better than the carbon monoxide! The crew arrived the next morning to replace everything. By noon, I had regular water restored to the house and before the end of business day, I had heat and hot water restored. I also noticed I was able to get up and walk around a little easier. I did a quick search on the internet and found that there could possibly be a connection between the amount of carbon monoxide in the house and my back pain.
Within less than 48 hours, I was up and walking around without much difficulty. I was able to cook my own breakfast, make coffee and… go outside! I got into the car and drove the 20 or so minutes to my osteopath appointment and sat in the waiting room for 30 minutes because I was early, something I thought would be impossible a week ago. There hadn’t been much of a change in diet, but there was a huge improvement in my condition. It wasn’t perfect, but he noticed the reduction in swelling both in the abdominal area as well as around the injury. He was impressed by the change. I’m continuing with the diet as much as possible and expect to return to normal within a week or so.
The lesson today: If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, GET ONE! Put it in the lowest level of the house and close to your HVAC system so that you get notified sooner than me. In addition, if anyone wants the name of the contractor or the osteopath (both of which I highly recommend), please contact me.