WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 23, 2010, 10:02 AM

Fertile couple still feeling the affects of carbon monoxide poisoning

Fertile, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A Detroit Lakes teacher is recovering after being exposed to an extremely high carbon monoxide concentration in her home. A Crookston couple knows exactly what lies ahead for the woman. The couple says their episode with the gas still affects them nearly 2 years after being exposed.

Dwane and Junie Palmer remember very little from the night they almost died from carbon monoxide.

"It came and went just little spurts here and there."

At the hospital, Dwane was in rough shape. He was answering every question incorrectly and the polite man says he even became irritated with a nurse.

"Finally I just said why don't you just go sit in the corner, but it's a sphere room and she got the biggest kick out of that pretty hard to find a corner in here. Its round."

Firefighters say anytime they get a carbon monoxide reading of more than 10 parts per million, they consider it serious. The night the Palmers were exposed, their home had a reading of more than 400 parts per million.

"Not very may people live through it, yeah I have angels."

It wasn't until 3 weeks after they were exposed when the worst side effect hit. Junie was wrapping Christmas presents when she went blank.

"He says what you see is what you got, she can't come back and I said the hell she can't."

Junie lost memory, even her birth date. She had to re-learn everything from writing her name to carrying on an adult conversation.

"She didn't know what to do because she was trying to visit to me and I could talk. I could talk to the grandchildren. They were really helpful to me because I probably was on their level."

Both of them are now in their 80's. They say that night drastically aged them, but with a smile they'll tell you at least they're still here. Firefighters in Detroit Lakes say they had a reading of more than 700 parts per million in the Detroit Lake teacher’s home.

To prevent carbon monoxide issues or other problems, experts are advising you to check your furnace now. People with Laney's say sitting over summer can be hard on a furnace. Usually problems are small like a dirty air filter and can be fixed on the spot. Right now the company is on a 3 week waiting list for furnace checks.

“If you start your furnace up, make sure it's operating before the cold spell hits. We'll try and get it taken care of prior to the cold spell.”

A standard check up costs about 90 dollars.