Ladies and gentlemen, if you have any gas appliances/gas water heater/gas heat....please GET A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR!
(Sorry to yell, but adrenaline is running high today)
Longish story short, I was out of the house all morning running errands, went grocery shopping and then came home with Ethan. I fed him his lunch (we'd picked up chicken and mashed potatoes from the deli). Since it was already later than normal, I decided I'd eat a little later. Ethan finished his lunch and was a little crabby, so I went to take him upstairs for his nap.
On the way upstairs, I stopped to turn on the oven so it could preheat. I was going to let it preheat for 10 minutes (set the timer) and then stick my lunch in. I went upstairs with a headache, changed Ethan and laid him in his crib (5 minutes, tops) and on the way back down the stairs kept thinking how bad my head hurt and noticing that I was feeling kind of nauseated and dizzy, but since I get a lot of headaches, I didn't really give it much more thought.
I sat down in the living room (just off the kitchen) and started reading a friend's blog post and all of a sudden this awful noise starting blaring. I had no idea what it was! The dog was going nuts and frankly it just scared me and made my head hurt. Then I realized it was the carbon monoxide detector. I looked over at it and it was reading GAS. Not a good sign.
I ran upstairs, grabbed Ethan from his crib, grabbed my purse and got out of the house as fast as I could. I had no idea if we had a major gas leak or what, but I was terrified. I went across the cul de sac and called 911 and reported what had happened and they sent out a fire truck. (Meanwhile the dog was running all around the neighbors' yards!)
The firemen checked out the house and couldn't find anything wrong (but then they turned off the oven when they got inside. They waited with me for the gas company to arrive (it took at least 30 minutes). The gas man tested all our gas appliances except the stove and then had me come in (the firemen left since nothing was apparently wrong) and tested the stove with me. Sure enough, as soon as the oven was turned on, his CO detector started going nuts.
So, our oven (which is approximately 18 years old ) has now been officially tagged as unuseable, we've had a minor case of carbon monoxide poisoning and we need a new oven/stove ASAP. But we're alive. I just keep thinking "what if?" I was sleepy anyway, Ethan was supposed to be napping....I wasn't feeling good and so easily could have just tried to nap my headache away like I usually do.....It could have ended so tragically. Quite literally, the carbon monoxide detectors saved our lives, as I am fairly sure that we would have died without them...either now or later when I was supposed to be baking 4 dozen cookies for Emily's school.
So, please get a CO detector TODAY if you don't have one and actually install it. We just recently (in the last couple of months) installed the ones we'd had lying around for years. It really is a true life-saver and every bit as important as your smoke detector. We always think these things won't happen to us...but they do. And if you know a family member or friend who doesn't have a CO detector...tell them this story. In our case, it only took a few minutes for the effects to kick in (less than 10) and I can't imagine how horrible it could have been.