Hi! I'm Geeka. I've been a scientist for, I don't know, it seems like forever, I guess since I started college, so, like 15 years? Anyhow, this is where I'm going to give my take on a bunch of stuff. I'm usually a little bit out there (that is, I don't see the obvious at the outset), which means that you are probably going to have to deal with reading such topics as: Interpersonal relationship training for scientists, my lab pet peeves, how to get along in business when you just came straight out of academia, trying to deal with having a life and being a scientist, really odd topics for a paper, random stuff I found on the internet that made me shoot coffee out of my nose, you know, (ab)normal Geeka. Why the title? Because at the very heart of me, I'm a virologist, and while I don't necessarily do that now, it's how I view the scientific world.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
I'm not feeling all that great. I currently have whatever lab plague is going around. I'm have a bit of trouble concentrating. Some people would suggest that I go home and get some rest, but a) I don't want to waste PTO on being sick, and b) I'm not sick enough that I'm just going to go to sleep, which means I would go home and still try to do things, which is my style.
It's been unreasonably cold in my neck of the woods for some time. I'm pretty sure that's probably the case for most of the readers here. So I'm going to do a short PSA. Buy a carbon monoxide alarm. Use it. If you have one, make sure the batteries are fresh. Most of all, make sure the thing makes a god-awful noise that will wake you up and/or be annoying enough that your neighbors can also hear.
When I was 5, my mom and I almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Basically what happens, is that the heme group that holds oxygen in your blood has a greater affinity for carbon monoxide, so you essentially suffocate. It was unseasonably cold the year I was 5, we were living in a small apartment, and my mom was doing some weatherproofing. She plastic sheeted all of the windows, made draft snakes for the doors, essentially she tried to make sure that the heat wasn't escaping the apartment. What she didn't do, was make sure that a pigeon didn't die and clog up the flue, essentially pumping carbon monoxide through the heating system.
Over a week or so, she and I had some headaches that went away when we both went to school. Gradually, all of the fish in my aquarium died (I really, really was hit by the death of my frog Kermit). Our usual routine was that my mom would get up at 5:30AM, get ready for work, get me ready for school (I was in afternoon kindergarten), and drop me off at the sitters. The night before, I was alternately watching the Muppet show and looking out the window, so when we went to sleep, the curtain was slightly open. 6AM came and went, and finally, after the babysitter couldn't contact us by phone, she came to the apartment, looked in the window, and still couldn't wake us up by screaming our names and pounding on the glass. She called the ambulance, and quite a few hours, my mom and I came to at the hospital.
I have 2 CO detectors in my house, one in the basement, one on the main floor. I have a fire alarm on every floor. I suggest you do the same.
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Wow, that's a really sad story :( Thank god for that babysitter!
Good grief, glad you are okay. Another thing to do is to randomly test your CO monitor to make sure its working, those things do have a shelf-life too. My parents thought their's was fine but when they replaced it, they saw elevated levels of CO.
There's actual some residual damage in that I get a lot of unexplained headaches. One of my doctors told me that it's because of the CO poisoning at a young age.
Yeah, there should be an expiration date on them. Smoke detectors too. Actually, smoke detectors have small amount of radioactivity in them, when the smoke blocks the reading of the radioactivity, that's when the alarm goes off.
Quick quiz, what's the radioactive material in smoke detectors??
Isn't is Americium? I remember some kid using a bunch of smoke detectors and made something that was a little radioactive one time.
Yep! I only remember that because it's named after America...
Great post, Geeka! And a word of warning to us all ...
I also have two in my place right now. But, when I was in Ottawa, I had NONE (landlord forgot to mention). SO, as soon as I doscivered that, I bought some immediately.
That is scary!
We have them in all three floors of our house. And now you can get them integrated with smoke detectors so you only have to check/change batteries/replace one detector per room!
I almost died once for the same reason. Now, I am making sure that the monoxide carbon detector in every floor is working. And thank you for passing this advice to everyone.