Damn, I almost killed myself today.

No, it was­n’t on purpose.

I went to go pick up dry ice in my lit­tle car.  I paid for it in the office while a nice fel­low loaded 100 lbs of it into the back of the hatchback.

I got in the car, closed the doors, turned on the A/C & drove off.  The dry ice shop is in the Point Loma area and our office is 15 high­way min­utes south, just south of down­town, in Bar­rio Logan.

I called Lee via the mag­ic of blue­tooth and the car stereo link and was going through what we had to do biz-wise that day, but I felt a bit breath­less.  Weird, because even though I’m not in ultra-marathon shape I’m not out of shape, and I cer­tain­ly don’t feel breath­less often.

Talk­ing with Lee, it got worse.  It was­n’t like I was fight­ing for breath, it just felt like I could­n’t fin­ish my sentences.

I’m try­ing to focus on my con­ver­sa­tion with Lee, but it’s hard to fin­ish sen­tences, to even think.  I know some­thing’s wrong and get­ting worse, but what is it?  I’m healthy, godddammit!

There’s a part of me that thinks it’s drink­ing too much cof­fee that morn­ing; 2 cups instead of 1.  No, that can’t be right.  What else could it be?  Some­thing is wrong, work the prob­lem Nik.

Feel­ing the prick­ling of sweat pri­or to black­out, the kind you feel when you stand up sud­den­ly after lay­ing down for a while.  On the high­way, rolling at 70.  Some­thing is seri­ous­ly wrong, think, Nik, THINK!

I need­ed time.  To think.  The world.  start­ed.  to.  close.  in.

Breath­ing shal­low, like when you turn the O2 off on a Draeger, shal­low puffs, dark­ness clos­ing in, you CAN NOT pass out on the high­way NIK, THINK GODDAMNIT!

Stop try­ing to talk with Lee and fig­ure out your life, NOW.  This is get­ting worse, not bet­ter.  You’ve got less than 30 sec­onds and you don’t know it.  What the fuck?  Be cool.  What the fuck!!?  Calm, work the prob­lem.  Wait, Draeger, shal­low breath­ing, O2.…

CO2!  It’s the CO2, it’s the 100 lbs of dry ice sub­li­mat­ing in the back.  You idiot!  Just as the first heavy wave of nau­sea and faint­ness hits and my head bobs I get the win­dows down.

Air rush­es in and I raise my head.  That’s it!  Just hold on, dammnit!

Now I’m focused, I know what the prob­lem is, I can solve it, just have to hang on.  Dizzy.  Deep breaths out the win­dow, hand out focus­ing the air into my face & mouth.  Breathe deep the air, my friend.  Today, you live.

The nau­sea pass­es, the faint­ness fades.  No horns honk­ing, no cars swerv­ing, nobody even noticed.  I tell Lee what hap­pened.  She (right­ly) thinks I’m an idiot.  I’m no longer breath­less.  I hang up the phone via the steer­ing wheel controls.

Off at the exit, win­dows still down. What the fuck?  Did that real­ly just hap­pen?  Was I real­ly that stu­pid?  I’ve dri­ven with dry ice in the car before with the win­dows up, why this time?


Lessons learned:
‑Don’t be a fuck­ing idiot with dry ice, make sure you have enough air to breathe.  Shit.
‑Dry ice sub­li­mates MUCH faster when it’s sin­gle wrapped; this was a new place to buy from, the old place dou­ble wrapped it and taped it.
‑You don’t always get to choose when you have the rest of your life to fig­ure out a prob­lem.  Learn to stay cool even when you’re freak­ing out.
‑Don’t ignore small prob­lems.  They can get big so fast you won’t have time to solve them.
‑The dead­liest dan­ger can be where you least expect it.  Pick­ing up dry ice for your busi­ness can be just as lethal as run­ning around Syr­ia wav­ing a US flag if you’re not pay­ing atten­tion.  Death does­n’t care where she finds you.
‑Be thank­ful that you live, and remem­ber you’ve only got one chance some­times.  Remem­ber to enjoy the warmth of the sun, the cool­ness of morn­ing mist as you walk the dogs, a kiss from your wife, the breaks that do go your way.

All’s well that ends well, thought you would dig my brush with death via the cook­ie busi­ness.  Stay safe out there!

Big heart,

2 thoughts on “Damn, I almost killed myself today.”

  1. Yea, I did that too one day. Makes you feel dumb as a door knob.… you know, after you regain con­scious­ness and all

  2. Uuhhhh.……You’re not fly­ing. Get off the phone, Pull over, and then fig­ure it out. I find that any­time I’m strug­gling to remain con­scious, my chances of a pos­i­tive out­come are inverse­ly pro­por­tion­al to my rel­a­tive veloc­i­ty (pos­si­bly squared).

    I have to ask you some heli­um ques­tions, so maybe I’ll talk to ya over there. I guess this is all the same place, it just does­n’t feel right ask­ing so close to your brush with dry ice.

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