Eight years ago today, I was serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was a part of the Chile Santiago West Mission. I was living in this apartment*, with my companion Hna (Flavia) Franovich, and two other sisters. Hna (Kerry) McBride, and Hna (Michelle) Affleck. We had all moved into this apartment a week before.
I got up to shower, in this bathroom.**
I lit the califont (water heater). The pilot light went out. I was in there for about half an hour. The other sisters began to worry that they had not seen or heard from me. They knocked on the door, no response. They knocked harder, still no reply. Bathroom door was locked, so Hna McBride ran at the door and broke it open. I was passed out on the floor and not breathing. I understand I was not flesh colored at this time, nor was I my normal size. They got me covered up and made calls to get help for me. Elder (Ryan) Williams and Elder (Jeremy) Jeppson arrived and I recieved a Priesthood*** blessing at the hands of Elder Williams. I am told it was a very short blessing and to the point. And I started to breath.
I was taken to multiple hospitals seeking treatment. Each in its turn rejecting me as being gone, and unable to do anything for me. Until I was taken to a military hospital, where I was placed in a decompression chamber. I remember slipping in and out of consciousness. There was a VERY attractive man**** sitting in the chamber with me trying to keep me calm as I would come to and panic. There was a window where I was able to see President John C. Hadfield. The next thing I remember is coming to in a MRI machine.***** Here are pictures of my brain.
top view sliced down the middle I think it looks like lettuce I appear to have a head like Homer Simpson my face is kinda scarry looking with out the front of it, makes me think of something from Star Wars Yoda-esk “tell ’em Large Marge sent ya”
When I really woke up, I was in a different hospital, and I believe it was the next day. It was a really nice hospital with great care. The hospital tag line is “en las mejores manos” “in the best hands” and it is true. The diagnosis was Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
I was incredibly weak. It felt like the fork weighed 20 pounds.
When I was admitted they apparently had a hard time finding good places for IVs. Here are bruises from different places they attempted to sick me, in the end they found a spot on my right arm mid-way from my wrist to my elbow, on the other side.
Hermana Lexine Hadfield had brought me roses and candy. The candy I ate-I love Toblerone, and the roses I dried/pressed. I still have them. 5 days later I was released from the hospital, and we moved into a brand new apartment-no califont in the bathroom. And a great view from our 16th floor balcany. This was my view when I woke up the first morning. I will forever love the Andes.
I had regular check-ups. I took lots of medicine for a while.****** I ended up having sinus surgery to correct damage done there. I can breath, I still get headaches, have to be careful and eat regularly, and I struggle with memory issues. But over all, I am doing well, and am happy to just be alive, and hope that I can be of service to others. I am very grateful for all the people that were there to help me recover from this.
*My companion and I chose the room with out bed frames. It was nice having the mattresses right on the floor. And it is odd, I know, but I kinda miss the milk in a box. And on top of the fridge is an empty bottle of Show -the best apple soda ever! I do not miss cooking on the hot plate. You can see that some one’s mom sent a package and had peanut butter.
**The sink is to the left of the shot. Picture taken in the doorway. Dates printed on photos are only good if they are the correct dates, these pictures do not have the right dates, at least not all of them.
***It is the very same priesthood power that the prophets of old held. Of Moses and Noah. That same priesthood power of Christ’s mortal life, and that the apostles held even after His crucifixion. That same priesthood was restored to the Earth to Joseph Smith. Miracles have not ended. I know this to be a truth.
****I don’t remember exactly what he looked like. He had a beard, I think he had red hair, he wore green scrubs. I have a pair of green scrubs that remind me of the positives of the event. I remember being quite surprised that I was alone in a small “room” with a very nice looking man, then I realized that he was in scrubs and that, combined with my discomfort indicated to me that I was not dreaming, and that I was probably in a hospital. He tried to explain what happened, but I think I passed out again.
*****If you have never been in one of these, I do not recommend it. They are loud and I heard echos of it in my sleep for at least a month later, and for a while after when I was awake too-it made me feel so crazy when people would answer that they did not hear any pounding when I complained.
******I am pretty sure at the highest medicine intake point I had 12 pills in one day. And people wonder why I don’t like to take meds.