Sleeping with the enemy

My home was built in 1955. Some may say this home is old, and to others like myself, it is just “right”. Purchased this house over two years ago, with the mindset to renew some esthetics and make this my home. To give you a better idea, it is a split level, three bedrooms on the top floor, and a family room on the lower level. My family is small, and so an extra family room is not needed. Therefore, I converted the family room into my master bedroom. My bedroom has 4 nice size windows and is adjacent to the boiler/furnace room. A back entrance was within close proximity as well. For some reason, I got into the habit of opening my windows and backdoor when the weather is nice. The ventilation that comes in is so refreshing! I was very happy overall; the only thing that was “old” was the heating furnace, which seemed to be working fine.

As anyone with a new home, I started tackling small projects, such as painting and such. I knew the furnace needed replacement due to the age, but as I researched the internet, I was eased by the information I was reading- “if its working than why change it?” and so, it was not a priority for me, especially knowing that is would be a financial setback.

As the fall started to arrive and the weather began to fluctuate over a month ago-I called the heating company and as everyone would do, got the system bleeded and ready for the winter. They encouraged me to look into a new furnace sooner than later, but no urgency in the matter. If its working, it was all I needed… and so I thought.

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Soon after that, as the temperature dipped especially at night and the heat would turn on, I remember hearing on occasion some mild rattling sound coming from the pipes where the furnace was. I listened, and then it disappeared. It was an old house after all. Shortly after that, I remember waking up day after day, exhausted. I was drained and had no explanation. My headaches returned but it was different. It was constant pain that lasted day in and day out. Tylenol and Advil became my buddies but it didn’t alleviate the pain or fatigue I was feeling. My lifestyle remained the same, and I did not feel stressed or anything around those lines. I had no answer, and convinced myself that perhaps I was just stressed about something I wasn’t aware of. Eventually this would go away. My mood swings became more apparent to me, and questioned myself in several occasions if perhaps I was bipolar. It’s a crazy thought, but it sounded real. I must say it was a bit overwhelming, but I stood quiet and kept living as normal as I could. Within the last two weeks, my symptoms became more apparent and I started to worry about the possibility of have a brain tumor or such-my headaches were so agonizing and never ending. This affected my driving skills, which made it difficult to focus, and was of definite concern. I was frightened at this point. Unfortunately I don’t have health insurance right now, and did not want to carry a medical bill if I went to the ER.

Three nights ago, upon my youngest daughter’s persistence, I allowed her to sleep with me. It was the weekend and she was up watching tv by my side as I had drifted into deep sleep. I remember her waking me up worried about a loud noise that kept coming from the furnace, and as I opened my eyes from that deep sleep, I listened and I was surprised to see I had slept through it. I told her it was the furnace, its an old house, it was ok-and I drifted off again. The next morning waking up again with the same headache and fatigue that had become part of my new lifestyle, I realized the noise was still there; not as loud, but there it was. I also realized that if my daughter was concerned enough to wake me up, that it was perhaps something I should address. I called the heating company to come and see. It was Sunday morning shortly after 9am. This call saved my life. My daughter saved saved my life.

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An hour after my call, they came. My furnace had a crack which was leaking carbon monoxide. I was being poisoned in my sleep, and every second I had spent in my bedroom. I was explained that luckily because of my daily habit of opening my windows and back door, I was allowing some ventilation to pass, hence saving my own life. All of these symptoms I have been suffering from in the past few weeks now made sense, and it was somewhat of a relief. Needless to say this was an expense I did not anticipate now, but it had to be done. I contracted them to remove and replace the furnace immediately. It is now 2 days of significant health improvement. I am almost at my old self again. I can function and my headaches have almost disappeared. I am so thankful for being alive and having the opportunity to tell my story. I was sleeping with the enemy who was killing me in silence.

So I write this to express the importance of keeping your appliances upto date. Most importantly, to be aware of your symptoms and pay close attention to them. Our bodies are good indicators of when something is wrong. Listen and investigate! Please share this story. It could save someone’s life.

“The greatest gift you can receive, is another day in life” – author unknown

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