Last year, Catherine and I decided to try to save money over the winter by heating the rooms we were in with space heaters rather than heating the entire apartment with central heating. So when we fired up the furnace last Thursday, it was the first time we had done so in this apartment.
The next morning I woke up feeling sick to my stomach, and immediately assumed there was something wrong with the sandwich I ate the night before. By the afternoon I had a ripping headache and the chills, so I started to wonder if I had a flu, despite the fact that I didn't have a fever. On top of everything, Elliott was as fussy as I've ever seen her. I finally managed to get her to fall asleep in my lap at about 3:00, and once she fell asleep, I did to, and we slept for about an hour and a half.
When I woke up I saw that I had missed about six phone calls, several of them from Catherine who by that point was starting to worry. I called her and explained what had happened, and she suggested I turn off the heater, so I did.
When I talked to Catherine I felt like I couldn't even leave the house, so we cancelled our plans to meet my parents for dinner. By midnight, I was almost completely back to normal, and I even went out for my usual late night run.
The more we read, the more we worried. I was clearly fine, but Elliott was not acting like herself. She wasn't making eye contact, chattering, or smiling the way she had been for the last few weeks. Although we knew she was probably fine, we started to wonder if carbon monoxide poisoning had caused some sort of permanent damage.
On Thursday, our carbon monoxide detector woke us up. I silenced it, and it went off again almost immediately, so Catherine outside while I called the fire department. They sent two engines, an ambulance, an SUV, and a police car for good measure (it must have been a slow morning). After checking our house and our furnace, they decided that it must have been a false alarm, and that was that.
On the plus side, we now know that our heater is fine (and, by extension, that Elliott and I were not poisoned last week). The downside is that we no longer know if we can trust our stupid CO detector. Even so, if you don't already have one you should probably get one, because dying in your sleep would be a bit of a bummer.
Also, Elliott is back to her usual self.