Since the fire I have been feeling very ill…off, not myself. I know the holidays are tough on everyone but I found myself extremely depressed, emotional (a freaking SEARS COMMERCIAL MADE ME CRY LIKE A BABY over and over again), irritable to the point where I couldn’t even have the TV on because the sounds made me crazy. I’ve been disoriented, unable to think clearly and haven’t even been able to read let alone compile a blog post, as I’ve been struggling to comprehend words.
I lost my appetite, had stomach aches, felt nauseous all the time and from the 26th of December haven’t been able to get off my couch due to the severe pain I have been in caused by really bad muscle aches, joint pain and fatigue. I have Fibromyalgia and for the first little bit I thought I was just having a particularly bad week but as it crept in to January I knew it had to be something else.
So last Monday I finally went to the doctor (a girl at work mentioned Strep throat because I had a rash on my neck and white on the back of my tongue but it turns out that was just yoghurt. oops!). So the Doc couldn’t figure it out, chalked it up to my Fibro and decided to test me for Mono just in case, as the exhaustion has been absolutely overwhelming. BUT when I casually mentioned the fire that happened just before Christmas he perked up and said ‘That’s it!’.
So I don’t have Mono! WOO! But I do have MONO-xide poisoning, of the Carbon variety. It seems I didn’t escape the fire unscathed after all. Officially, it’s Acute Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. A one time exposure, very mild (holy shit I feel bad for the people who get extreme poisoning), and after taking a few natural remedies (Vit D-3, CoEnzyme Q10, Stress Vitamins, algae, antioxidants, Omega 3), I am feeling ten times better since last Monday. I feel my energy returning, my skin colour is getting back to normal and the headaches are gone. I’m not 100% yet, but even the relief of knowing what’s wrong makes me feel better and I know I’ll make a full recovery.
I know, this isn’t a health blog! BUT the reason I am sharing this is because there is not a lot known about this kind of poisoning and many doctors misdiagnose it as something else (as would have happened with me, had I not mentioned the fire). There are so many side effects that people wouldn’t normally associate with it, like strong emotions, pain, fatigue, nausea and so many more. These symptoms can last a life time as a result of brain damage caused by the poisoning (if you’ve had long term exposure to CO, or a very bad case of poisoning at some point in your past), and I can’t even imagine how many people are out there going crazy thinking they’re depressed or ‘just tired’ or thinking it’s ‘all in their head’ when in fact they’ve been poisoned. Half of the people affected don’t even realize there’s something wrong until friends and family point out that they’ve been acting differently.
I think awareness has to be heightened about CO poisoning and the scary fact that the symptoms mimic other health concerns. From a house fire to a bad space heater to dirty chimneys, there are SO MANY ways one can be poisoned and as we all know, it can be deadly. Please, for the love of god, make sure your detectors are plugged in and operational. If you notice you’re feeling ‘off’ or someone you love is acting differently than normal, talk to them and your doctor about CO poisoning. Unfortunately there is no test that can officially diagnose a past exposure but talking about it and being educated on the symptoms can make a huge difference. And as I said, the relief that comes with knowing what’s wrong is immense and will free you to take the necessary steps to recovering.
Oh and one more thing, if you’re ever in a situation like I was, seek out the paramedics and get oxygen immediately, even if you think you’re OK. If I had taken oxygen that night, my symptoms would have been a LOT less severe, but I thought I was fine and the scariest part? So did the firemen.