Sunday, March 4, 2012


Last week I started to tell you about my prolonged case of dizziness and my concerns that our house might have a build-up of carbon monoxide in it. So while my husband was taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon, I called the Allenstown fire station to discuss my concerns. The person who answered said someone would be right over.

In retrospect, I guess I probably should have awakened my sleeping husband and told him I’d phoned the fire department and they were on their way over. Instead, I took one look at the living room and its state of messiness, considering I’d done nothing but lie in bed for over a week, and decided to try to tidy it up before anyone arrived. I got distracted and completely forgot about my husband.

Trying to do housework while dizzy, I soon learned, was a nearly impossible task, especially since I had to rush. I held a broom in one hand while hanging onto the wall with the other. Whenever I bent over to pick up something, like a dog toy, I nearly landed face-first on the floor. And twice, I tried to hide stuff in my office but ended up walking right past the doorway because my feet refused to go where I aimed them.

I managed to get the living room looking presentable, but in the process, made myself so dizzy and queasy, I had to lie down on the sofa and put my arm across my forehead in an attempt to stop the room from spinning.

That’s when the fire department arrived and rang the doorbell. I tried to get up to answer the door, but when I sat up, I quickly changed my mind and flopped back down. They pounded on the door. I called out to them to come in, but not nearly loud enough, I soon realized.

The next thing I knew, the front door flew open and a firefighter was shouting, “Semi-conscious female on the sofa!”

I knew I looked and felt pretty bad, but I had hoped to at least look conscious when they arrived. Within seconds, I was surrounded by medical-rescue people, both from the fire department and Tri-Town Ambulance. In the background, I could hear one of the firefighters saying they should check the bedroom for my husband.

I cringed, thinking that my poor, unsuspecting, sleeping husband probably would divorce me after being awakened by firefighters bursting into the bedroom...if he didn’t die of shock first.

A few seconds later, he came walking out to the living room, his eyes squinting against the light, and asked me, “What’s going on?”

At the time, I was having my blood pressure taken and my finger pricked for a glucose test.

“Just checking for carbon monoxide leaks,” I said.

His puzzled expression told me he probably thought they were checking me for the leaks, not the house. But actually, at that very moment, the firefighters were making a thorough sweep of the place, including the basement and garage, testing everything. I felt safe for the first time in days.

“We didn’t find any problems with carbon monoxide,” one of the firefighters finally informed me, showing me the “zero” reading on his meter. He suggested we also get a carbon-monoxide detector for the upstairs, rather than have just the one in the basement.

“So, am I going to live?” I asked the guy who’d been checking my vital signs.

“You seem fine,” he said.

“I think you have a bad case of vertigo,” another said.

They also discussed some nasty stomach bug that was going around. “You have any stomach pains or cramps?” they asked me more than once. “Vomiting? Diarrhea?”

I shook my head. “No, thank goodness.”

I imagined myself trying to run to the bathroom while dizzy. I’d probably end up drowning in the toilet.

They then asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, adding that they would be more than happy to take me if I felt the need. I considered it for a moment, then said I guessed I’d be all right. So they had me sign a statement saying I’d refused to be transported, and told me if I needed anything at all, not to hesitate to call them.

After they left, my husband said, “What a nice bunch of people – all of them...even though they nearly scared me to death!”

“That was all my fault,” I said. “I probably should have told you they were on their way over.”

“Ya think so?” he said, rolling his eyes.

A few days later, I finally was able to make it to the doctor’s and was surprised to learn I have a ruptured eardrum. Thinking back, I guess that might explain why I could hear air gushing out of my left ear every time I blew my nose. It also explains why my balance has been so bad. After all, the epicenter of balance is in the ears, so having an extra hole in one probably isn’t such a good thing.

The doctor said my eardrum might take a month or two to heal. During that time, I’m supposed to take anti-vertigo medication (which makes me sleep like a hibernating bear) as needed, not get any water in the ear and definitely not blow my nose.

“Does that mean if I catch a cold, I’ll have to hang a bucket under my nose?” I joked with the doctor, who just stared blankly at me.

The man has no sense of humor.

So if you happen to drive by a house in Allenstown and see a woman out front who has a really runny nose and is walking as if she just returned from happy hour at the local’s probably me.

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