Hiatus Adventures 2018-2020 · Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Carbon Monoxide, Hotel Life and An Unexpected Adventure

It was a typical Sunday in early February…

The day started out like any normal weekend day. As the day progressed I got downright lazy and let a few tasks slip.

I figured I’d just wrap those tasks up on Monday. Wouldn’t ya know… it was the ONE time I shouldn’t have slacked off!

Around 8:30 pm I’d gone upstairs…

Dad sleeps downstairs so I typically get Dad settled in for the night and, then, head upstairs to watch a movie and have some time to myself before bedtime.

I don’t go to sleep until 11 or 12 but I go upstairs early because it’s the only down time I’ve been getting these days.

My downtime is important to me. It’s how I recharge. When I don’t time to recharge… life becomes more challenging.

Dad sleeps in his recliner and has a landline phone beside his chair. Before I go upstairs I always put a fully charged cordless phone on Dad’s walker. He can’t walk without the walker and, this way, if he gets up during the night and falls or needs my help he always has a phone with him.

My phone rings about an hour later…

Dad’s picture came up on my cell phone indicating the call was from him.

I quickly answered because he doesn’t call unless it’s urgent.

All I heard him say was “the smoke alarm is going off!”.

I said “I’ll be right down!” and hopped out of bed lickety-split, got dressed, grabbed Cookie and headed down stairs.

Normally, when I go downstairs during the night, Cookie stays upstairs (sleeping) not having a clue I was even gone. But I wasn’t leaving Cookie upstairs this time – in case there really was smoke or fire.

I open the door at the bottom of the stairs and immediately smell gas…

Once downstairs I looked around for signs of smoke and notice the aroma of (what I thought was) natural gas wafting through the air.

I didn’t smell this an hour ago when I went upstairs but it was certainly there now.

It wasn’t the smoke alarm going off…

The annoying chirpity-chirp shrill that Dad thought was the smoke alarm was coming from the carbon monoxide detector.

My first thought was get fresh air (just in case).

Dad wasn’t thrilled when I opened the window and let the cold February winter air flow through but I felt we needed fresh air.

I grab the phone and call 911…

The 911 Operator sent out the troops and stayed on the line until the Police Officer arrived at our house.

I’m not sure if this is how it works anywhere else but, here, they always send a police officer out first.

The Police Officer arrives at the house…

Once the police officer got there it wasn’t long before the fire department and ambulance arrived.

I knew the ambulance had arrived because I could hear the loud BEEP BEEP BEEP (backup alarm) as it backed up the driveway not to mention the bright flashing lights piercing through the darkness of night.

The house was quite full of people who had come to our aid.

Things started to get crazy…

As the 2 firemen came through the door one of them said their CO2 (carbon monoxide) meter registered high as soon as they opened the door to come in.

I don’t remember who asked what or when. But, between the Police Officer, Ambulance Crew and Firemen, there were several of them and only 1 of me and everyone seemed to be asking questions at the same time.

We had to get out of the house!…

The firemen went into the basement to check the furnace.

Once the firemen got downstairs to the basement I heard one of them say “Wow!” as they talked about what they just discovered.

I couldn’t hear everything they said because I was still being asked questions by the ambulance crew.

It all seemed so surreal, though.

The firemen came up from the basement and said we had to get out of the house.

The furnace was cracked (or something to that effect) and we couldn’t come back until a new furnace was installed.

The Ambulance Crew put dad in the ambulance…

The Ambulance Crew was helping Dad get out of the house as I worked on gathering enough things for us to spend a couple days at a hotel.

I had to gather enough for Dad, Cookie and myself and I had to do it right then and there. No pressure!

As I was gathering our things and putting them on the porch I saw the Ambulance Crew laying Dad on the stretcher.

I said “Oh no! What happened!?!”.

The Crew said they were just going to put Dad in the ambulance so he can stay warm.

One of the Crew started our car so it could warm up while Dad stayed warm in the ambulance and I scurried about gathering our things before heading to the hotel.

The Fireman asked me to call our Furnace Guy…

I felt bad calling the Furnace Guy this late at night but the Fireman insisted.

As I talked to the Furnace Guy I lost my train of thought. My mind was going a gazillion different directions and I couldn’t think what to say to the Furnace Guy.

One of the Firemen noticed my deer in the headlight look and held his hand out for me to give him the phone.

He took the phone and finished talking to the Furnace Guy for me.

The Furnace Guy has been busy with all the cold weather. But, of course, people don’t have furnace problems in the middle of summer!

He couldn’t get to our furnace until Tuesday but, at least, we were on the schedule.

Getting a hotel that I can tolerate with MCS…

With my chemical sensitivities I only know of one hotel in this area that I can tolerate enough to stay. It’s not 100% perfect but, as long as the window opens, I usually do ok.

I’ve had to leave hotels because of deodorizers and cleaning products or because I was allergic to whatever they washed the towels and bedding in.

I was about to call the hotel when one of the Ambulance Crew said he was on the phone with the hotel. He was finding out if they had an opening and letting them know we needed a handicapped room.

I locked up the house…

We stood outside wrapping up a few things and, then, the Ambulance Crew got Dad out of the ambulance and started putting him into the car.

I hadn’t realized it but I was standing between the ambulance and the car – both of which were running and spewing fumes everywhere.

I begin coughing uncontrollably and gasping for air…

One of the Ambulance Crew ask if I’m ok.

I realized I was having a reaction from the exhaust fumes and told the ambulance crew I just needed to get fresh air.

The Ambulance Lady kept her eye on my and, eventually, I regain my composure.

I lost Cookie!…

In all of the commotion, with a house full of strangers, Cookie was being very good.

He barked a bit when everyone came in to the house but, when I gave the sign for him to be quiet, he listened and quit barking.

If you aren’t aware… Cookie is deaf. I use hand signal commands to communicate with him.

At one point I lost track of Cookie. I was so busy trying to gather everything we needed for the next couple days and forgot where I put him!

I found him sitting quietly on a rug in the garage watching all the goings-on.

Finally at the hotel…

After making the midnight drive to the hotel we (eventually) got settled into our room.

It wasn’t long before Cookie made himself at home and dozed off into Poodle dreamland.

Isn’t he cute?! I just wanna (gently) poke his little belly. 

Sharing a room…

Dad and I stayed in the same room. It was cost effective and I was there if he needed me.

The hotel only had a room with a double bed but that was ok. Dad sleeps in a recliner (not a bed). The Hotel Staff were very accommodating and let me pick a room with a recliner. I made sure Dad got comfy in the recliner and I took the double bed which I shared with Cookie – a 13 pound Master Bed Hog!

But there’s a problem…

An open window is a must when I’m staying at a hotel. Without fresh air I start having MCS reactions. It’s just the way it is.

When I can’t have the window open I’ve used the air conditioning (even in winter) and it sometimes helps.

Heat is bad because heat releases toxins into the air. It’s fine if the toxins are released outside but this was a small, enclosed room.

Sometimes I prop the bathroom door open and run the bathroom vent 24/7 but there wasn’t a vent in this bathroom.

Because Dad was with me I couldn’t have the window open nor could I have the air conditioning on.

It wasn’t going to be easy being at the hotel. Even though I was pretty sick I still had to keep up with my Caregiver duties.

The battle between hot and cold…

At home, Dad and I have a constant battle with Dad turning the heat up and me turning it down.

I really don’t know who should get their way in this situation but, at the hotel, I did my best to deal with it so Dad didn’t get too cold.

The only thing I could do was frequently go outside for fresh air – even during the night. I used Cookie as an excuse to go outside by telling Dad that Cookie had to go potty again.

A little kinda sorta white lie is ok, right? I mean, Cookie DID pee when we went outside.

Tuesday morning the furnace is installed…

Around 11:00 am we got the call from the Furnace Guy that the furnace was installed.

The problem was, check out time at the hotel was 11:00 (although they said we would wait until 11:30).

We were also in between winter storms.

Dad was nervous about the weather situation so we (he) opted to stay at the hotel another day.

I wasn’t happy about staying another day…

With being sick, tired and not having my downtime I just wanted to go home, breath good air and sleep in my own darn bed.

I didn’t like it but I understood why Dad wanted to stay at the hotel.

The weather sure has been a pain in the rump lately!

Winter in Northwest IL

We had snow, rain and blowing snow (again) but I couldn’t miss an opportunity for some snowy pictures taken from the back of our hotel located on the outskirts of town.

Winter Adventures 2019

I always find it amazing that such a beautiful scene can come from the winter storms I’ve grown to detest. I suppose there’s a message in that!

Beautiful Winter Scenery

Sadly, these amazing winter scenes don’t last long once the sun comes out.

We headed home on Wednesday morning…

Going home on highway 20 wasn’t bad but once we turned onto highway 78 we immediately saw patches of slushy, icy looking slipperyness.

Thankfully, just up ahead, there was a snow plow generously salting the road and plowing the way.

I drove the last 10 miles home at 30 mph following the snowplow. One person passed us (including passing the snowplow) but the rest of the pack stayed behind me, following the snow plow and staying safe.

Time to rest up…

It was a relief to finally be back home. I still had to finish my daily Caregiver routine but I looked forward to getting some rest that evening.

Being sick, tired and not having any downtime (time to recharge) for a few days had taken it’s toll. I was in serious need of some downtime so I could recharge and get my senses back.

It took me a while to recuperate but it was an adventure with my Dad that I can always look back on.

There’s always an adventure to be had whether you live static or nomadic!

Make Life An Adventure!

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