Monday, August 16, 2010

My near death experience.

I wrote the following in my journal and decided to share it. I changed the names to protect peoples privacy:
"Sunday, August 15th, 2010 - 12:15pm
Now back to the events that happened yesterday. I found it interesting that I didn't write about our sewer issues last year after we moved into our house. I will have to start there. Just after we moved to Saratoga Springs we had our sewer backup in the basement. We called American Home Shield who sent a plumber out the next day. The plumber took a long time working with his sewer auger to get the line unclogged. About a month later we had another backup. This time the backup was over Labor Day weekend. The home insurance company sent a different plumber who wanted to try his auger that he had attached to his electric drill. That didn't work at all. He decided to try some chemicals; went to Lowes and returned with the chemicals. That didn't work either. He then gave up. I was so angry at him because when the sewer is backed up, we cannot flush toilets, take baths, do the dishes, the laundry, etc and I knew that another plumber wouldn't be available until the next day. I decided, instead, to call a neighbor, Brother W., who is a plumber to come over and clear it out which he did without charging us. We later took him a gift a certificate for his services. Anyway...that was last year. We thought the issue was resolved because we haven't had any issues since, until last week. It backed up again and we couldn't use any water. Brother W. came over and unclogged it again. Afterwards he went in with a camera and found a bunch of rocks in the sewer line.

P. and I decided we needed to dig a hole in the front yard because all or our efforts failed to remove the rocks. After a couple days, I finally decided to start digging. I dug down about 6 feet and while digging I ran into the water main and almost broke it thinking it was a rock or piece of wood. A little time later, I was also told from someone in my family that the sewer was backed up again which I, at first, didn't believe. Since I was so sweaty, I went to out next door neighbor to take a shower around 10:00pm out of desperation. The next day, I decided to try to unclog the sewer myself because I felt bad about continually bugging Brother W.. I drove to Lowes 3 times and spent about $150 buying items I thought might work but nothing would unclog it. P. finished off digging the hole another 3 feet or so. Later that night I called Brother W. and asked him if he would come over again with his auger. He stated that he didn't have his truck and would get it the next day. The next day he didn't call or anything and I was getting impatient so I called him late in the evening. He said that he was in Provo because his grandma died earlier in the day. The next morning, Friday, I had the thought to go and rent an auger for $25 for 2 hours from Diamond Rental. It took me a whole 15 minutes to have the line unclogged :). After working most of the afternoon on the computer, I went to work on the sewer issue. I cut into the pipe in the front yard and didn't see any rocks. I tried to push them out with a snake from both sides. Nothing was working. Brother W. showed up and helped me out quite a bit. He ran his commercial grade snake from inside while I ran my $40 tape snake from the outside hoping we could get the rocks to come my way. After about 20 minutes of going back and forth we gave up. He grabbed his camera and sent it down the line. When he reached the rocks the water was too murky to see anything and we had to run some water to clear things up. He was able to once get the camera through and was able to see my hand at the cut end of the pipe. We decided to run the camera from outside. I went into the hole and put the camera down the pipe. Brother W. could see that the pipe pretty much went straight towards the house. After I removed the camera I put the tape snake back in to try to figure the distance and all three of us determined the rocks to be under the concrete in our cold storage, at the far back end. P. and I thanked Brother W. for all that he had done as he was leaving. P. and I went to Lowes to return the 4 inch couplers and get 3 inch couplers to be used to amend the pipe. Afterwards, we went to Home Depot where we rented a gas powered saw for 24 hours to be used to cut through the concrete floor of our cold storage room under our front porch. After we got home P. went downstairs to move boxes and buckets full of food storage to make room for our work the next day. I decided to get some rest and, since it was after ten, I was beat. I laid in bed for over an hour trying to sleep but could only think of the project that we were planning to do in the morning...going over in my mind what to do and imagining the steps to be taken.
Saturday morning came quickly. I woke up, as usual, earlier than P. with a slight headache. I was in no hurry to start working in the basement and, for some reason, didn't eat breakfast which was out of the ordinary for me because I usually always eat breakfast first thing in the morning. I watched the rest of a show I started watching a day or two ago on my laptop on Netflix called "Sanctuary". P. got up out of bed just as the show was finishing up. I asked her if she was ready to get to work on our sewer issue. She responded that she needed a few minutes. I went downstairs to asses the environment we were going to be working in. I moved some buckets and boxes full of food storage out of the cold storage room. I went to the neighbors to the West whom I borrowed a water hose from. I came back home where I hooked the hose from the irrigation water connection outside to the concrete saw in our basement. I also found a fan and extension cord to be used to help circulate the air, opened several windows in our basement, gathered ear plugs for our ears. P. came downstairs ready to work and decided for us where to start cutting because she was absolutely positive where the sewer line would be. I started the engine and started cutting the concrete. In the process, water was all over the floor, concrete dust and exhaust fumes were thick in the air. The particles in the air and in my eyes made it difficult to see. P. stated she couldn't see me from the other end of the room. I stopped the engine several times to reposition the fan, to get a breath of fresh air, to take some meds for my headache, and to re-evaluate what more concrete needed to be cut and if the cuts already made were deep enough. P. was in and out of the room to get tools ready to pull the concrete up while I was finishing up with the cutting. The plan was to make 5 cuts; 4 to create the sides of a 1 foot by 2 foot rectangle and one to create a smaller rectangle that could be used to pull a little piece of concrete before the big piece. I noticed my heart racing and my headache had gotten a lot worse and realized that I needed to get out of their not fully realizing the danger of the situation. I said to P., "I'm done. I can't take this any more. I'm going to get some fresh air before finishing the last cut." I went to the basement window and thought it would be better to get outside. I walk around to the bottom of the stairs and noticed I was getting dizzy and was walking like I was drunk. I hurried upstairs and headed towards the front door and decided, for some reason, to come back when I noticed a weight upon my shoulders and a darkness descending from the ceiling. I knew then I was in serious trouble. I saw my daughter, A., who asked me if I was all right. I told her I was dying. At that moment I didn't even think about having her call 911. All I could think about was where I could go to lye down to take my last breath of life. I can only remember a few of the events that happened from this point on to the time I walked out of the house and a lot of the events were filled in by my wife and kids. A. told me I laid down, in the hallway, with my arms above my head. I was also later told that I was walking like I was drunk and passing out. My kids told me that they thought I was joking because the way I fell to the ground looked like they were controlled falls. I believe there might have been unseen angels there helping with my falls. They asked me if I was okay and I told them I was fine and I was just tired. Later J. was next to me holding on to my shirt while I called, from the top of the stairs, for P. who was working getting the cement up from the floor in the basement. I told her I was very sick and to call 911 immediately. I don't remember how I got from the basement door to the couch. I do remember, while unconscious, praying to my Heavenly Father that I was sorry for the wrongs that I have done and that I was not ready to die just yet. P. told me I was in and out of consciousness and opened and shut my eyes for several minutes while she was shaking me and slapping me on the face while she was on the phone with the 911 operator and waiting for the ambulance to arrive. After I was done with my prayer I opened my eyes and said "I'm back." I got up from the couch and walked out the front door. Our next door neighbors, the S.'s, were there with the determination to help wherever they could. We waited a few more minutes when an ambulance and fire truck arrived.

P. gave V. our camera to take some pictures and I think she had fun because we now have about 40 pictures of all of us sitting on the front lawn with the paramedics, of the ambulance and fire truck, and of the firemen entering our house all suited up with their air tanks on their backs. The paramedics took my vitals and hooked up a CO meter. My levels were critical and P.'s was slightly lower than mine. The kids' levels were zero. The firemen made sure everyone was out of the house and quarantined it for several hours while they cleared the CO out of it with fans and all the windows open. I felt fine and didn't want to have to pay for the ambulance ride and told the paramedics I would have my neighbors drive P. and me to the hospital. They were very persistent telling me it would be best for us to ride with them and I gave in. It was a good thing because on the way to American Fork Hospital I nearly lost consciousness again. The paramedic told the driver to speed up while he got his crash cart out. The driver even turned his lights and sirens on. From then on I felt that I was fighting for my life again having to take deep breaths of pure oxygen to avoid from passing out. When we got to the ER they gave me an IV, took some blood to get CO levels, did an EKG on my heart, while continually monitoring my oxygen levels. We were told by the ER staff that they need to get a CO meter because they didn't have one. Brothers S. and M. showed up to give P. and me blessings by the laying on of hands. I told them what happened while at home. When I got to the prayer part, I broke out in tears. They gave both P. and me very spiritual, much needed blessings.

After about 30 minutes in the ER we were told they needed to move us to the IHC Orem Community Hospital where we were to undergo therapy in their hyperbaric oxygen chamber for 3.5 hours on Saturday and two two-hour sessions on Sunday. We met with a doctor who wanted to lecture us and I told him it would be of no use. That a lecture will not be greater than the experience itself. He then decided to remind me that they do have electric saws with a big smile on his face. We were told that the half-life of CO in the blood is 4 hours normally. In the hyperbaric chamber, the half-life is 20 minutes. The pressure in the chamber is equal to the pressure in water under 60 feet. While they pressurized the chamber we had to adjust the pressure in our ears, similar to what SCUBA divers have to do, by holding our noses with our mouths closed while blowing out. When they depressurized we simply would swallow. While in the chamber we watched the movie "Vertical Limit" with Chris O'Donnell. P. and I didn't remember that we had seen the movie until we were actually watching it. On Sunday we watched several episodes of NCIS that we brought with us. While in the chamber, we had to wear a clear bag over our head while pure oxygen was being pumped in. It made it difficult because the chairs and air-powered headphones were not very comfortable, every time I would breath in and out the bag would bob forward and back. We couldn't eat, drink or even touch our faces except for 5 minutes we had between hours. Thank goodness we didn't have to sneeze! We were very grateful to several people in our ward because while we were gone, Brother W., the S. family, and N. R. were at our house finishing the job. They broke through the concrete, got the rocks out, amended the pipes, and filled in the hole in the front yard with dirt and the hole in our basement with wet concrete. Brother W. ran his camera through the sewer line from our house to the street where he found a few more rocks that he was able to push out to the street with running water. L. and B. H. came and picked up our kids and the saw. B. took the saw back to Home Depot who charged us $10 which should have been $50 because the saw was brought back dirty. Our kids stayed over night at the H.'s. P. and I came home and went to bed early because we knew we would have to get up early in the morning. On our way home from the hospital on Sunday we took back the 3 inch couplers we had bought to Lowes to get our money back and got our kids from the H.'s. We were in a hurry because the S.'s were bringing us a meal. The rest of the evening was uneventful. I got tired around 10 and decided to go to bed. We were told meals would be brought in for the next several days. I am so grateful to be alive. I believe I now have another chance at life and to better myself for it. I now have a greater knowledge of the dangers of CO poisoning and will be an advocate for the rest of my life. I believe that my Heavenly Father spared my life because I have yet more things to do. I feel more compelled to help people out in need because I know I have been helped and will probably need to be helped again sometime. It is my way of paying it forward.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

JCPenney Family Pictures

April 7, 2009
We have been slacker parents lately when it comes to
taking pictures of our kids. When they were young it was much
easier. We went to JCPenney's for family pictures. Here are some
pictures that I scanned in.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kids back to school and sports!

October 31st
Where's my mummy? Mom spent many hours working on these comstumes. J wore dark clothes and a scary mask. Sorry - no picture. Once again the kids went door to door begging for candy for about 3 hours while mom and dad followed them in the car. K went to Disneylad early in the morning with Arbor View H.S. for the day. He got home the next morning around 4:00am.

October 18th
D playing football. We don't think he will play for a while. He doesn't like it and his coaches don't play him very much at the games so he is no longer going to practices or the games.

A still loves playing softball.

October 17th
A as Sarah Polk for her wax museum at school!

August 26th
A's 11th birthday. I tried to wait for her to remove the towel before taking the picture.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A summer break from school and sports.

Aug. 14th - The Adventuredome at Circus Circus.
We spent the day riding rides and enjoyed lunch at a buffet located near the Adventuredome.

July 8th - Salt Lake International Airport on our way home to Las Vegas. We flew JetBlue airlines. I was pleasantly surprised with the planes we flew on because there was a lot of leg room and everyone had a TV in front of them they could watch while flying.

July 5th - A trip to Utah. We flew to northern Utah on the 3rd of July to see our families, to celebrate birthday parties, and to have D baptized on the same day as his cousin. We rented a van that had less than 10 miles on it when we got it. It was nice to leave the heat behind. When we left Las Vegas the temperature was about 110.

D's baptism! D was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in American Fork, Utah.

June 28th - We went to a YMCA that is about a mile from our house. We take the kids there often to let them go swimming while mom and dad go to the gym.  I was amazed how daring they were to dive off the diving board.

June 27th - We celebrated K's 14th birthday. I'm amazed at how tall the boy is now. He is already as tall as his dad.

June 13th - D at pack meeting.  While singing "happy birthday" to him he had to wear the pink hat.  I'm not sure what it means though.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kids finishing up with sports and school.

May 31st - "J's football party"

May 28th - J at Cadwallader Middle School Awards Ceremony. J came away with four medals. He was nominated by three of his six teachers for academics. J will be going to a new school in the fall. He will be attending Hyde Park; a magnet school for mathematics and engineering. He is an exceptionally bright kid.

May 24th - D had a friend birthday party where a couple of our neighbor kids and a boy from his school came. They played, ate ice-cream and cake, and opened presents. They couldn't swim because it was too cold.

D's birthday was May 28th and he turned 8 years old. Our family is going to fly up to Utah at the beginning of next month where he will be baptized along with his cousin. D is very upset he has to wait a "whole nother month" to be baptized, but it will be worth the wait. We are looking forward to the trip to see many of our family and friends.

May 16th - "Alice in Wonderland"
A's grade put on a play they had been practicing for many months in Alice in Wonderland. She was a flower "the cutest flower of the bunch" and she definitely was a flower with attitude. She did a great job.

May 10th - "Titan Softball Team Party"
A and her best friend. Her best friend is moving to Utah in June and I'm sure there will be many tear drops from A when that happens. The two, as you can see, are joined at the hip. They want to spend all their free time with one another.

D (blue goggles)

April 30th - A's teacher came to one of her games. It was cold and windy. She is an amazing teacher. How many teachers would go out of their way and freeze to death to support two little girls? She is amazing!

J #8 - Finished playing on the Boltz at the end of May before it started to get real hot. Their teem came in second. In the playoffs, they lost and were eliminated when they played the first place team. We are sad to know that his head coach will not be coaching in the NYS league because he is going to coach for Shadow Ridge H.S. Needless to say Shadow Ridge is getting an awesome football coach next year.
D and J are both going to play tackle football in the fall.