What Does Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Feel Like?

This last week I’ve talked about my experience when we had a Carbon Monoxide leak. The question I’m asked the most is What does Carbon Monoxide poisoning feel like?

What does Carbon Monoxide poisoning feel like?

what does carbon monoxide poisoning feel like

You wake up and your head feels like there’s a lead weight in it. You get out of bed and you can’t stand up straight. Trying to stand up straight is difficult, you wobble about all over the place and try to focus. It feels a bit like a head cold crossed with an ear infection when you lose your balance.

The room spins a bit too.

Then a bit more.

You can’t remember what day it is. It’s very confusing. But the alarm went off so it must be a work day.

You get dressed and get out of the house because you want some fresh air. The penny doesn’t drop though, it’s just fresh air feels nice, even if this is London fresh air.

By the time you’re on the main footpath to the station you realise you’re not walking in a straight line. You hope there’s nobody behind you because they might think you’re drunk. You then think “hang on, what am I doing anyway?” because you’ve forgotten. It helps to write as much as possible down because you forget everything.

There are things you remember. Where to stand on the platform so you have a good chance of getting a seat. Seats are important when you feel so rotten.

You assume it must be caffeine withdrawal; you’ve had to start drinking coffee again to wake up every morning, a nice strong filter coffee too. You look at your phone for a bit, try and do some brain training but you can’t really focus because you feel so odd. It feels like travel sickness like the kind you got when you were nine or ten – but on the train. Maybe it’s a virus?

Your train pulls into Clapham Junction (“the busiest station in the UK” they proudly say), and now you have to deal with too many people. They seem to fly into you from all kinds of places like a Quidditch match in full swing. You just need a clear path to walk along to get out of there; to the comfort of your desk and a good, strong coffee.

But first you have to deal with the bus to work. Fighting for space with the schoolkids, trying to get a seat as you’re feeling a bit less giddy, you know it’s nearly coffee time. Yes, that’s what it must be. You need coffee and it’s affecting your sleep at night which is making you so giddy in the morning. Doctor Internet doesn’t need to tell you that.

You finally arrive at work, feeling pretty dizzy. You get on with your job because that’s something you can keep your head down and get on with, it’s always busy.

By mid-morning you feel fine again – those coffee’s have fixed the weirdness.

Repeat every single day.

Meeting up with people is almost impossible because you forget where and when people are meeting, especially when told verbally. Facebook and emails become your social organisers if you can remember what day it is.

People think you’re a bit flaky. You prefer an early night tucked up in bed as you feel so unwell every morning. Besides, it’s nice and warm at home, even with the terrible hot air heating system.

Then you have a Gas Safety Check and the boiler gets switched off. Apparently with hot air heaters the fumes and stuff go outside via the loft. Something is loose up there and it isn’t good.

That’s okay because it’s April. You’re not entirely sure what the man said when he stuck that big danger sign on your heater because you feel a bit confused.

You ask him a practical question which makes lots of sense to you, and he replies, very seriously, with the word “death”. That seems a bit extreme, you think.

You wake up the next few mornings and think brilliant! I’ve finally cracked this virus!

Then the penny drops.

That time H was sick all over the bed.

The feeling the way I did every morning.

So you google what does carbon monoxide poisoning feel like?

Our bedroom is next to the loft hatch so actually, if carbon monoxide is leaking in the loft, the first place it’s going to head is the bedroom.

I may have sworn a few times.

And a few more.

We were all extremely lucky. Especially as we switched on our heating manually every day, never relying on a timer.

This was written for Gas Safety Week 2017  – 2018 is almost here. That was my story.  I’ve spoken on the radio a few times and appeared on London Live to speak about it.

If I’m ever asked what does Carbon Monoxide poisoning feel like? I reply with all of this.

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