Andrea Klassen – Kamloops This Week
For the first few weeks after her family’s brush with carbon monoxide poisoning, Monique Ruppel and her husband, Kyle, weren’t sure if their lives would return exactly to normal.
There were a number of warning signs to watch out for that could indicate lasting side effects, Monique said, including memory issues and mood changes but, luckily for the Kamloops family, no issues surfaced after a 12-hour whirlwind of treatment in Kamloops and at Vancouver General Hospital.
“After a couple of weeks, we visited our doctor and he gave us the clear, saying we were healthy and not to worry about it any more,” she said.
“That was a relief.”
The Ruppels’ story starts one late night in January, when they woke to their daughter Celia crying.
When Monique tried to get out of bed to check on her she collapsed back, overcome with vertigo, waking her husband.
He too had strange symptoms — dizziness, burning eyes and a pounding headache.
By the time Monique had Celia in her arms, the then-15-month-old was starting to vomit.
One of the family cats collapsed at her feet. At that point, they decided to leave, calling family and packing their bags.
When Kyle’s parents showed up, he had begun to lose consciousness and the Ruppels were rushed to the hospital.
Soon after, they were flying to Vancouver to spend hours in submarine-like treatment chambers receiving oxygen therapy to counteract the effects of carbon monoxide from a leaking furnace.
“Thank God for Celia,” Monique told Canadian Press at the time. “She’s our little guardian angel. That’s how we look at it. She absolutely saved our lives and she doesn’t even know it.”
While Celia’s still too young to understand just what happened, Monique said she’ll remind her of the story when she’s older.
“It’ll be kind of neat when she finally is able to understand what really happened,” she said.
Since January, the family has replaced the furnace, installed backup carbon monoxide monitors and is encouraging others to make sure their monitors are in place and working correctly.
“It never occurred to us we had to have monitors in our home,” she said.
“We had smoke detectors because we knew we had to have that and we knew we had to have a CO monitor for inside our travel trailer because it runs on propane, but for some reason, it just escaped us that we needed to have one in the house.
“Now it’s like, of course you need to have one.”