There’s something I want to talk about. And since this blog is the stage on which I rest my soapbox, I figured now is a good time to climb up and rant my little heart out.
Three nights ago I woke up to a house filled with acrid, white smoke. I was having trouble breathing but was so incredibly sleepy that I was tempted to just close my eyes and stop living. Sitting here now, writing this, I am glad I did not. When I noticed that my boyfriend lying next to me in bed was breathing at an alarmingly fast rate, my adrenaline finally kicked in and I got up. I shook him awake and went to wake up his roommates (fortunately, they were still out at a party). After convincing him to leave the house (he was as sleepy as I) and putting out the fire in the woodstove, that first breath of fresh air tasted like life. We spent the night on the neighbor’s couch. I stayed up watching him breathe until he stopped panting and I was sure he was okay. Then I fell asleep. It occurred to me to call 911, but in my smoke-addled state, it seemed like too much trouble. Days later, my voice is hoarse, my nose and throat still sting, and many showers later, my hair still smells like smoke. I’ve been chewing gum to erase the taste of smoke from my mouth and my cheeks have finally faded from the bright pink of carbon monoxide poisoning to a more normal color.
All of this would have been prevented if the smoke alarm worked, if those little batteries had been replaced. I am incredibly lucky to have woken up. I may sound glib or short but the experience shook me.
The past couple days I’ve been processing the stress of waking up and having to be the person who sounds the alarm and deals with the drama. I don’t like drama, but I do like being the solution. I know that I can deal with a crisis but I wish that damn smoke detector had been working. Facing my mortality is not something I wanted to do on Valentine’s day.
The next morning it turned out that a wind storm had damaged the chimney. The house is heated by a wood stove, and all that smoke, instead of being pulled up the chimney, was instead blown inside the house, where it collected for hours. And thus I had a brief brush with death, and with losing a man for whom I care deeply.
So this is a call to action for you, my dear reader. Go and make sure your smoke detector works. It is much more important than you may believe. Do it. Right now.