By Kelly Dame email@example.com
Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 12:15 pm | Updated: 9:04 am, Thu Dec 19, 2013.
A Breckenridge family is recovering after being sickened by carbon monoxide gas in their home last week. The Wright family — son Zane, mother Lori and father Harry — were discovered by Zane’s older brother, Kyle, on Wednesday morning.
Lori shared what happened, via messaging while monitoring Zane’s condition at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Zane, 17, who suffered the worst carbon monoxide poisoning of the group, was on a ventilator until late Sunday.
“Zane is awake, yet has quite a journey,” Lori posted on her Facebook page Monday. “Main thing is he’s alive and able to work on improving.”
Tuesday night, Zane and his father had stayed up later watching a movie together after Lori went to sleep. They finished up about 11:30 p.m., and by 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Lori awoke not feeling right. She described the feeling as “kind of a heavy chest and extremely dizzy.”
She decided to go to the kitchen to get her medication, hoping it would make her feel better. While in the kitchen, she heard Zane call her name from the couch. When she replied, his voice trailed off, leaving her thinking he was talking in his sleep. “This moment will haunt me the rest of my life,” she wrote.
Back in bed, she noticed her husband was shaking, and asked him if he was okay. At some point, he tried to get up, but fell, and later was sick to his stomach.
“I kept hearing him say, ‘Lori you have to help me,’” she wrote, adding she tried to stand up but couldn’t.
By 7 a.m., their son Kyle called, and Harry somehow answered the phone, but was not understandable. That prompted Kyle to go to his parents’ home to check on them.
“Thank goodness he did, for he found Zane convulsing on the couch,” Lori wrote, adding Harry was found lying over the dryer. She described feeling dizzy and dazed, like being in a bubble. Kyle called rescuers, and the family was taken to DeVos where Zane was in critical condition.
“We owe our lives to our son (Kyle), but more importantly we have Zane still,” she wrote.
The incident has left a flurry of well wishes and prayers posted on Zane’s Facebook wall, along with messages from friends excited to hear the news that his condition is improving.
“I believe in the power of prayer, and the community and friends we are so blessed with that are praying for him,” Lori wrote.
A Carepages account has been set up, as well as a GoFundMe page under the heading “The Wright Family Fund,” to raise money for donations with medical bills and transportation.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels like gasoline, wood and natural gas burn incompletely. In homes, heating and cooking appliances that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.
A person can be poisoned by a small amount of carbon monoxide over a longer period of time, or by a large amount over a short period of time, according to The National Fire Protection Association. Symptoms include shortness of breath, light headedness or headaches, nausea, confusion, fatigue, dizziness and loss of consciousness, and can be confused with flu symptoms. At high enough levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes of exposure.
The Michigan Department of Community Health reports 934 people were unintentionally poisoned by carbon monoxide in 2011, including 22 who died from the exposure. The three leading causes of exposure were faulty furnaces or water heaters, generators and vehicles.
To help protect against carbon monoxide poisoning, the NFPA recommends installing carbon monoxide alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of homes. The alarms should be tested once a month. If an alarm sounds, residents should move to a location with fresh air and call emergency personnel.
Residents also should make sure vents for dryers, furnaces, stoves and fireplaces are clear of snow build up, and only use generators outdoors.