When I arrived at the temple I wanted to be in the area where I knew my dad would be working that day. I still felt the urge to hurry, so I changed and went to the area where he was. I was ushered into the room where he was working, and was able to give him a quick hug, which made me feel better. Little did I know that I was the one who would almost die that day. Within just 3-4 minutes my father was needed elsewhere and left the room. It turns out I was greatly needed that morning to help with the work that was being done, and I was glad I had followed the urge to hurry and get there. As I left the temple later, I felt very glad that I had come when I did. I was needed at the particular time AND I got to see my dad.
I spent most of the rest of the morning preparing for a class I was teaching at a nearby drug and alcohol treatment center. I try to be very in-tune to know what to teach each time I go. My daughter Madelynn was able to come with me, and we had a great time being with the wonderful warriors there who are fighting for their lives. It is truly a privilege to know them, and always makes my day when I get to be with them.
Around 4 p.m. my son-in-law Marco showed up to help me. We are finishing our basement and the plan was to cut our concrete floor to make way for new pipes for a bathroom and kitchen. He began cutting with his Quickie saw, while my other son and I hooked up and turned on the hose that attaches to the saw to keep the concrete dust down. Marco was running low on fuel, so I ran to Home Depot to get more. When I returned there was a lot of water on the floor. I found our shop vac, hooked it up and began sucking up the water. By this time Marco had been downstairs cutting for nearly an hour. I was able to suck up most of the water in about 20 minutes. At one point I sat on the stairs and watched Marco work, and waited for enough water to accumulate to get up and start working again. I considered going upstairs to do other things and then come back in a few minutes, but for some reason I decided to just stay and wait. Soon I was back to sucking water while Marco stopped and evaluated the next place he would need to cut. When I turned around Marco was laying on his back. I figured his back was hurting from bending over the saw for so long, but when I went over to him he was non-responsive. I shook him but he would not wake up. I reached for my phone but did not have it on me. I had absolutely no idea where I had left it. I tore up the stairs and screamed for help, not even knowing if anyone else was home. Luckily two of my children responded, and my daughter-in-law called 911. I raced back down to the basement to be with Marco. I checked him. His heart was beating and he was breathing. I tried to wake him. Finally he awoke and sat up. He thought maybe his respirator was too tight around his neck and had cut off his circulation. He didn't think that I needed to send for an ambulance.
When the paramedics arrived 5 big guys came down the stairs. I told them what had happened and they started to check Marco. I had been sitting by him, but I was in their way, so one of them took my hand to help me up. As he did, I suddenly felt very dizzy and could not lift my arm. Then everything went black. I could hear the paramedics yelling that we needed to get everyone out, and there was a frantic flurry to lift us and get us up the stairs. I then lost all consciousness until I was outside on the driveway. I looked over and Marco was slumped against the leg of a paramedic. I wanted to lay down so badly, but the paramedic attending to me kept me sitting up most of the time. I was in and out of consciousness. I remember worrying about who was going to pick up the grand kids and something about the dinner that was in the crock pot. I heard the paramedics say we had carbon monoxide poisoning. I remember being in the ambulance, and that my paramedics name was Trevor and that he wore funny glasses. I had oxygen on. Then I was at the emergency room at Utah Valley Hospital. Someone put an IV in me, and my blood pressure cuff kept squeezing my arm. They kept asking me the same questions over and over. I worried about Marco. They told me he was a few doors down. More things happened, but it is all very spotty. I remember my nurse was pregnant, and that someone came in to talk to me about finances since we don't have insurance. (Yep, we became self-employed on February 1st and didn't get insurance.) I remember a doctor came in and that he tried to shake my hand but I couldn't lift my arm or keep my eyes open. I remember that I hated my oxygen mask, but every time I took it off I got very dizzy.
Then they put me in a wheelchair and took Marco and I to another part of the hospital where they had these long clear tubes lined up along one side of the room like something out of an alien science fiction movie. A nurse helped me change into a hospital gown, and Marco and I were put on gurneys and wheeled into the tubes, where they closed and sealed the doors. The chambers were then pressurized with oxygen to force the carbon monoxide off of our red blood cells. We had to stay inside for a couple of hours. Luckily they put on a movie. We each got our own. I have tried to remember for the last few hours what movie my son picked out for me. I finally remember, it was Sleepless in Seattle. I watched the whole movie, but can hardly remember it.
After we got out of the tubes, called hyperbaric chambers, they did a bunch of tests on us. They had us put one foot right in front of another, cross our arms, close our eyes and try to keep our balance. I totally couldn't do it, but before they put us in I couldn't even stand up, so it was still an improvement. We had to try to count backwards from 100 by 7's, flip our hand back and forth as fast as we could against our other hand, and probably a couple of other tests I can't remember. I pretty much failed them all, but at least I could walk and stay awake, and respond coherently.
We went back to the hospital early the next morning and spend most of the next day in the hyperbaric chambers watching movies and having lots more tests before we were finally released.
The doctors told us that had Marco been in that basement 10 more minutes he would have died. We realized that had I gone upstairs instead of sitting and waiting for more water to accumulate and not come back right away, OR if my children Chad and Ashley had not been home to call 911, one or both of us would have died. We were told that when your blood level reaches 50% carbon monoxide you can die. Marco's blood level was at 45% when he reached the hospital. Mine was at 29%. We were both completely incapacitated. It happened SO fast. It did not come on slowly. We both went from being fine to collapsing in just a few seconds each. We had no idea that using gas-powered tools indoors could do that. Please don't make the same mistake we did!
As I think back about my almost last day........ if it would have been my last day it would have been an unusually good one to end on. I followed promptings, went to the temple, served others, taught good things to great people, spent time with my daughter, and even put dinner in the crock pot. (I'm never that on the ball) It would have been a good note to end on, but I am so glad God has allowed me to have the chance to live, to be with my husband, children, grandchildren and friends, and have more good days, bad days, and everything in-between!
For the news clip they did, visit the link below: