We had been without electricity for 3 days due to the weather, and earlier in the day we ran a generator out in the front driveway/edge of our garage (we had the garage door open, windows in garage open, etc.) The fire chief later told us that since it was so cold and there was no wind that the gas probably just settled instead of blowing away and just crept back into the house via the eaves.
Taylor and I had gone to bed in our respective bedrooms and she told us later that SOMEONE called her name and she was trying to get up to see who it was...she got up, shimmied up her wall, then collapsed at the edge of her bedroom. The thud of her falling is what woke me up. Charlie (her dad, and my ex-husband) heard this as well from the living room and he and I went to the hallway to see what it was and found her lying lifeless on her face. We couldn't get her to respond at all to us and Charlie sent me for a flashlight that was by my bed. On my way to the bedroom I started feeling like something was not right with me either. I got the flashlight, and started running back to the hall so I could get to Charlie to let him know I wasn't ok. I knew if I collapsed in the bedroom he wouldn’t know to come for me and I had to get to him so he would know I was sick. The closer I got to them the further away I felt like I was getting. Everything was spinning out of control. When I turned the corner to the hallway I collapsed face first without any hands/arms to brace me, falling onto the metal flashlight cutting my forehead to the bone. Charlie had to search in the dark for the flashlight as it had rolled when I fell and I told him I felt blood running down my face. He found the flashlight and looked and said he had to get me to the hospital! I said, “What is wrong with Taylor, doesn’t she need to go?” Taylor meanwhile was in and out of consciousness. He was able to get her awake and told her she had to go get a towel to put on my head to help with the bleeding until help got there. My head began to pulse blood out of control. When she brought it back, she then went back unconscious not far from me and Charlie had to drag her over and prop her on top of me, against the wall as I was having convulsions and banging my face into the concrete floor. My eyes were rolling back in my head, and Charlie was yelling that I WASN’T GOING TO DIE ON HIM!
Charlie called 911 and first to respond were the police. Immediately upon entering they looked for the lights and Charlie told them we were without power. They used their flashlights and on first site was my blood, bloody handprints in my hallway where I tried to stand upon falling and Charlie had it on him. Immediately they began accusing Charlie of a crime, etc…and he began explaining what had transpired. Shortly thereafter the fire department arrived, and luckily Charlie knew one of the firemen who came to his defense. The fire chief began asking questions as to what we had done earlier in the day to maybe put some of the pieces together as to what had happened. He told of the generator use and immediately the fire chief went to the truck to get the carbon monoxide detector. The truck was parked at the street and within steps of entering our driveway the detector began to “freak out”, so much that the chief went back to the truck to recalibrate the devise as he was not believing the high readings. Once again, walking in the driveway up to our front door the readings on the devise began to creep higher and higher. Upon reaching the door the chief called for his crew to exit the home and began to get Charlie, Taylor and our dogs out as well. A couple of paramedics were left inside with me to get me stable enough for transport to the hospital. Once outside, they realized that Taylor had “started” this whole incident and the firemen told Charlie they wanted her checked out as well. I left by ambulance and Charlie and Taylor in his truck. Several firemen stayed at our home to open windows and stay and watch our dogs for sickness and make sure they were in a safe place before leaving. Way beyond the call of duty. Once at Mansfield Methodist they checked mine and Taylor’s blood gases and they were “through the roof”, hers being much higher than mine. Mansfield Methodist was not prepared or skilled to handle emergencies such as ours and they began preparing us to be transported to Dallas Methodist to get in the hyperbaric chamber. (In an ambulance, on the ice) First my head had to be stitched up, 15 stitches and I had to have a CT to make sure I was transportable. Off we went, Taylor and me in the ambulance, her sitting with oxygen on and me on a stretcher with oxygen on. Somewhere along the way my oxygen ran out and the face mask adhered to my face, not a fun experience. The paramedics were wonderful! Upon arriving at Dallas Methodist they began to explain to me the procedures for going into the hyperbaric chamber, (all of this I am trying to comprehend while the carbon monoxide is still doing damage to my brain!) I must add that at some time after our arrival we found out that the FAMILY that had just been in the chamber all died, except the father!! Not comforting! Taylor and I are both very claustrophobic, but we survived after our approximate 3 hour stay in the Hyperbaric Chamber. (Taylor was such a trooper, as they had a very difficult time getting her to the depth that we needed to be to be successful) Two ambulance rides, one CT Scan, two bloodgases, two hyperbaric chambers, fifteen stitches and one concussion later, WE SURVIVED! Nothing says I LOVE YOU like a brain injury on VALENTINE’S DAY (02142010)
Afterwards my sister moved in for approximately a month. Physically I was trying to heal my head, but mentally I was left with a traumatic brain injury. I literally started over with kindergarten flashcards…looking at an apple and saying library! Friends and family scooped Taylor and I up and helped us heal! My neurologist told me that people don’t survive what we went through and there really aren't patients like us. He said they really don't know how to treat me. Through his honesty, he became a great comforter as I struggled SO with memory and cognitive skills. Memory is horrible at times, and I’ve lost so many precious memories. Taylor and I have a saying when it comes to trying to remember things, we just look at each other and say, “Did we have fun?” The one who remembers says to the other, “Yes, we had fun!” That’s all that matters. BUT, TO BE ALIVE IS AMAZING! (In whatever capacity!) God is good; no great, HIS GRACE IS UNENDING!) The worse things I daily deal with are breathing, memory and balance, or lack thereof. These are daily struggles for both Taylor and I. I have fallen more times than I’ve stood it seems and forgotten more than I’ve remembered. I’ve had injuries that ranged from Band-Aids to orthopedics visits. Recovery continues every day for me and Taylor. Luckily her Dyslexic brain is use to accommodating skills and this continues to be her saving Grace on a daily basis. She is young and healing has come differently for her, but memory and migraines are big battles for her. Side note: When we arrived home from the hospital I grabbed Taylor’s forearms and said to her, “You know the voice that woke you up was not me or daddy?” Her response, “I KNOW MOM!” My FAITH is AMAZING! God’s GRACE and MERCY IS INCREDIBLE!