by STACEY HEANEY
A LISBURN man has been told he was just half an hour from death after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning on Christmas Eve.
52-year-old Dougie Durrant's family thought he was having a stroke or a
heart attack because of his strange behaviour on Christmas Day. But they
were shocked to discover that he had high levels of carbon monoxide in his
bloodstream and was, in fact, lucky to survive carbon monoxide poisoning.
Dougie, who lives in the Moira Road area with his wife Rhonda, has no memory from shortly after he left his neighbour's home on Christmas Eve night until he was recovering in hospital.
Speaking about his ordeal, Dougie said: On Christmas Eve I went to my next door neighbours before we went home for the night. I couldn't sleep so I went downstairs and played on the Xbox and while I was there I turned the gas fire on and the open fire was lit as well. I went to bed and that was me, that's the last I remember." Having woken up on Christmas morning around 8.30am, Dougie says his wife knew immediately that something was wrong and when she asked him to tell her the way to their daughter's home and he couldn't, her suspicions that all was not right were confirmed.
Dougie added: "I kept saying over and over that it was Christmas Day, my wife realised there was something wrong. She was so upset, apparently my face was blue."
Dougie was quickly taken to hospital where a specialist was called in to carry out a brain scan and blood tests were done.
"I was told if I'd been in the room another half hour and that would have been me," said Dougie.
"Two doctors had thought it might be carbon monoxide, as there was a guy there a week before with the same symptoms, but they weren't sure.
"The hospital called somebody in straight away to do a scan and they did blood tests, which came back in the afternoon. Carbon monoxide goes into the body and dissipates quickly so it is hard to detect, but I still had high levels in my body."
Dougie was put on several drips and medication and says he began to "feel normal" around 3pm on Christmas Day, remaining in hospital for 24 hours for observation.
Dougie, his wife, and the family pets including three dogs and a lizard were lucky to survive the ordeal.
He said: "The lizard was in the room with me and he became very slow and lethargic, but he made a full recovery.
"It is a real threat to people," said Dougie. "Especially with the deaths of the young guys on the North Coast last summer."
In fact the family have a Carbon Monoxide monitor, but it transpired it needed a new battery so did not go off.
The gas fire is now being checked over by experts, whilst the family's chimney will be carefully swept.
Dougie's family held Christmas for him on Boxing Day when he was released from hospital. Dougie, who says he "loves Christmas," added: "They saved the presents and cooked dinner for us on Boxing Day. I'm very lucky.
"I think it's important that everyone gets their gas fires checked and get a monitor."
Dougie Durrant- lucky escape.