My brief bio:
Nicole has been in the pharmaceutical development industry for the past 14 years. She has a MS in microbiology and an MBA, and consults for small and mid-sized pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the development and management of their drug development projects. She is an avid hiker, biker, and dog-lover. Sadly, after the events of 2010 – 2012, she lost both of her dogs to early deaths. We will never know if the exposure to CO impacted their precious lives, as well.
My story began in UT in late 2009 with the purchase of a new condo unit. The unit was brand new, complete with energy efficient appliances — “green construction”. By the winter of 2010 I started to feel slightly ill, symptoms of dizziness, mild nausea, problems concentrating. The symptoms would come and go. Pin-pointing the cause was challenging. I kept food journals and diaries, but could never find any correlations. Throughout 2011 into 2012, I progressively developed worse symptoms. Gut pain and nausea became so intense I was unable to drive in to work many days, and therefore, unbeknownst to me, I spent more and more time in the toxic environment that was my home. I cannot emphasize the fear and despair that became my existence.
The doctors were baffled, and I became a guinea pig as they tried test after test. When their experiments (MRIs, endoscopies, following radiation through my GI tract, blood work, dietary tests; the list goes on, and on) continued to come back “normal”, they concluded it was “depression” with presentation of gastric reflux (although the endoscopy showed no evidence of gastric reflux); their treatment recommendation was antidepressants, anti-nausea medication, antacids.
I don’t know what strength, higher power, or intuition led me to continue searching for answers and not just start treating the symptoms. I knew something was at the root of my troubles and my stubbornness saved my life.
When I reached what felt like the end of my hopes, a MD colleague of mine set me up with a retired psychiatrist friend. She was reputed to be a very critical thinker; perhaps she would see something that everyone else had missed. I spent several hours with her over the course of a week, and upon concluding that my symptoms were not ‘typical’ she suggested we test something she termed “a long shot” — what if I were experiencing CO poisoning?
That day I hired an HVAC technician to measure the CO levels in my home. Upon entry the levels were over 10ppm (we calibrated the equipment before entry to confirm that his equipment read 0ppm outside) and throughout a few minutes of testing when the furnace kicked on it had fluctuated as high as 30ppm. With additional testing over a few days, we determined CO levels fluctuating anywhere from 10-50ppm. As you know, standard CO detectors do not alarm below 70ppm or higher, so never, over the course of my 2+ year exposure, did the alarms go off.
The culprit — building inspection determined that my condo’s flue had not been built to code and was not ventilating appropriately.
From 2012 – present I have been healing. I am pleased to say I have gone from 100% pain-days to 5-10% pain-days and am thankful every day for the body’s ability to regenerate and heal. It has taken a very long time, though, and the fear of being re-exposed is one I don’t think I’ll ever completely get over. It was while seeing a CO exposure medical expert that I became introduced to your product. It brought me immediate peace of mind.
George, thank you for your invention. It may sound cliché, but I really do keep my CO Expert by my bed every night.