Headway
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Acute Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Hi everyone,

My name is Ian, and I’m new here. I have a severe mental illness.

Last year during a deep depression I tried to take my own life by carbon monoxide poisoning. I became unconscious and had a seizure, was close to death, but was saved by paramedics. I was taken to A&E and then sent for hyperbaric oxygen treatment. I didn’t have any scans or other investigations and was discharged after an overnight stay into a psychiatric hospital for three weeks. When I tried to explain my concerns about CO poisoning and brain damage they simply ignored me.

That was all ten months ago. Today I feel terribly alone with my brain injury. I have had no support other than the love of my wife and my faith.

I have definitely noticed some symptoms. My sleep is very broken, I have regular stomach upsets, diarrhoea and nausea, I have a numbness down one side of my face. I sense that I have become somewhat agoraphobic and my motivation has vanished. I find it hard to concentrate and tire very easily.

I am afraid that death is lurking just around the corner and that there is no help or hope for me. I try to live just one day at a time but find that m6 mind sometimes starts trying to predict the future.

Thank you for letting me share.

Ian

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Hi IanAG

My son who is 27 suffered CMP and ended up in Coma due to machinery at work. We have been for the last 18 month going through diagnosis An getting treatment. Our NHS service and family dr’s have been great. You need to get a neurologist appointment and take it from there. My son has different symptoms to yours but he is atm getting rehab. Headway have been brilliant and have given my son/family so much support and advice. Why don’t you ring the helpline?

Keep me posted as I’d love to hear how your getting on. Donna

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Hi Donna,

Firstly I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s accident at work but glad that you’ve had the support you needed in dealing with it. I hope that he’s improving steadily and making good progress.

For some reason neither my GP nor the psychiatric hospital in which I stayed made any referral to a neurologist, and because this condition is so rare I haven’t known what to expect.

I have taken your advice and made an appointment with my GP. I’m also going to call the Headway helpline again this morning to get their advice.

Fortunately my wife and close friends have been so supportive and caring.....that has kept me going.

Please keep in touch. It is so relieveing to find just one other person with at least a similar experience.....feeling alone with this has been one of the most difficult parts.

Best wishes,

Ian

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Hi

I cant offer any specifc advice about CO poisoning, as my problem is mini strokes from autoimmune disorder. But just want to wish you all the best. Also phone up the Headway helpline tommorow. They are brilliant and will provide both good practical advice on getting medical and other help and are also a good listening ear.

Cheers

R

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Thank you R. I’m going to give them a call this morning. So glad I found this forum.

Ian

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Cheers Ian. What is particularly good is that they dont seem to mind if you phone back when ever you need to, and Ive phoned up quite a bit recently. In fact, if you dont get through to them first time, its probably me talking to them!

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Welcome to the forum Ian ; glad you've found us.

CO poisoning is another one of the 'invisible' illnesses so you need to ask your GP for a referral to a neuroconsultant for the appropriate investigations and diagnosis.

Voice your symptoms clearly and succinctly to your GP ; I suggest you take a list of your symptoms and stress the extreme effects of them on your quality of life.

Can you tell us what type of treatment you're having to deal with your depression ? Cat x

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Thanks Cat,

I think that’s part of the problem....my GP looks at me and thinks I look ok, and that my concerns are all down to my mental health issues. The psychiatrist was the same.

I’ve made another appointment with our GP and will do as you say and ask for a referral. Does it need to be to someone who specialises in CO poisoning?

Thanks for asking about my depression too. I have a personality disorder of which depression is just one part. I take an anti depressant and a mood stabiliser, and have been seeing a neuropsychologist for the past few months as I also have ME. I really am not aging very well!

Anyway, nice to hear from you and keep in touch,

Ian

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It can be a living nightmare coping with a condition which you know is unrelated to your mental health, and getting a GP to discriminate between symptoms which can mimic those of CO poisoning wouldn't work, as you know.

But a neuro-consultant might know straight off which specialism you need (e.g. neurophysiologist/clinical neurologist etc.) or will hopefully send you through processes of elimination via the appropriate departments.

It might be a slow process Ian, both in terms of diagnosis and waiting times, but for now I hope you'll succeed in those first steps toward finding help.

I do understand how overwhelming it can be coping with both physical & psychological issues, and I wish you all the very best in finding your way through to better days.

See you again soon..............

Cat x

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Ian ..... you’re a superb ambassador for people who have BI and mental health issues..... I am impressed by your candid and frank questions. I wish you luck x

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Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Ian.

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hi ian i'm very sorry to hear about your situation and thought it was appropriate to butt in. We found out just recently that our smoke alarm/carbon monoxide sensor .....which is fastened on the ceiling ...is no earthly good as cm particles are heavier than air particles and the damage would be done before we knew anything about it...it would be too late. The fire brigade claim the cm sensor should be no higher than waist height. We didn't know this and i wanted to share this bit of information. Sorry for jumping in.....

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Thanks for this bit of info. I’ll bear it in mind when we look at fitting cm monitors at home. Ian.

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Ian have you been told that you have to avoid CM exhaust or smokey atmospheres? My son was told because he has had extreme exposure it can be dangerous to have any more

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Hi Donna,

No, not at all. That’s really good to know.

Any other bits of advice would be really welcome as I’ve had nothing from GP or hospital.

I’ve got a couple of factsheets from Headway so I’m going to take these along to discuss with my GP....she is usually very good so I think it’s just a lack of knowledge that’s been the problem.

How is your son doing now.....you can message me if you don’t want to post publicly.

Ian

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ian, i am a carbon monoxide survivor too, omg! we have to keep in touch, i have felt so desperately alone. everyone on forum is so amazing but our experiences are so varied. please keep in touch, i will of course say everything i can in support of you, we may be able to support each other. i could weep at seeing your post.

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Hi Deborah, thanks for your message. Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you but I’ve been laid up in bed for four days suffering from that overwhelmed feeling where my senses just seem too much. I’d love to keep in touch so I’ll write to you a bit more once I’m back in a better place. Like you say it’s a very lonely place as not many share our experience. If you want to message me with your story that would be great. Take care, Ian

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great to hear back from you, i know you are out there and i feel so grateful to be able to talk to you here. i too not so great at the moment. will message you properly when i get myself together.

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I've worked with clients who have clinical depression for many years, so I've some idea what hell you been going through.

You say you've seen a Neuropsychologist but appear not to have seen a Neuropsychiatrist who have a specialist knowledge regarding TBI and depression. In fact I know of people, with a TBI and when referred to the Mental Health Team find the Psychiatrist saying that they can't help due to the brain injury.

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