Bull rider recovering from CO run-in
March 13, 2019
Paige Jansma has quite a bit on her plate at the moment, with a baby boy due next week, a two-year-old son fighting off pneumonia, and a boyfriend who suffered from Carbon Monoxide poisoning just last week. Her life could have very easily gotten far worse.
Bull rider James Allen was almost through a 17–hour drive from his home in northern Michigan to North Dakota, when he pulled over on Feb. 26 to take a quick nap in Fargo. At 3 a.m., Jansma awoke, feeling uneasy about Allen since he hadn't been feeling well the day before. After calling him to no avail, she used his Snapchat location, she called for an ambulance welfare check.
"The ambulance found him not breathing and unresponsive," she said. "He was taken to the ER in Fargo where he was sedated, intubated, and put on life support. He was immediately life-flighted to the nearest hyperbaric chamber, which was Minneapolis, and treated for high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning. We were told he may never wake up, and if he did, he was likely to have lasting brain damage as he was without oxygen for a long time."
Allen has since awoke, and while his heart shows damage due to the carbon monoxide levels, and he is warding off pneumonia, he is happy to be alive.
"Brain-wise with the carbon monoxide, I feel very fortunate to have not noticed any effects memory-wise or even health-wise. As for my heart, they did an echo cardiogram and everything came up clear," Allen said. "I still have some time of healing to make sure that I'm 100 percent before I enter any rodeos. Lesson learned in this is to always get a hotel when I've got to pull over to sleep. I'm very grateful to be able to continue on with life. It could have been way worse. Paige and I are so thankful to have had the help that we had."
During 2010 to 2015, the Center for Disease Control states, a total of 2,244 deaths resulted from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, with the highest numbers of deaths each year occurring in winter months.
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Allen was treated with rounds of three hyperbaric oxygen therapy while in the Minneapolis ICU, where he breathed 100 percent oxygen to encourage the body to heal, after which he was able to wake up and slowly begin moving and breathing.
"He was able to return home with immediate follow-up care a few days later," Jansma said. "Upon returning home, he had severe chest pain and labored breathing. I took him back in to our local hospital where they decided his pneumonia was a lot worse than anyone thought, and it was definitely there and not going away."
That was Monday of this week. Allan continually feels better as they await the arrival of their second son Gatlin.
"I am doing very well. Rarin' and ready for this baby to come and to kick off the 2019 rodeo season, very happy and thankful to be alive," Allen said. "Paige is doing well. She's ready for the baby to come, and Gavin is a ball of energy and starting to feel better as well."
Allen has been working on the oil field for 11 years and professional bull rider for 10 years.
"The one thing that has pulled us through is family, friends, and our church," Jansma said. "We have cattle, horses, and 4-H rabbits at home as well as a two-year-old who also has severe pneumonia. Our friends have been helping us take care of our livestock."
A gofundme has been established to help Allen and his family. To donate, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/fd2p4n-james-allen
In order to stay safe around carbon-monoxide emitting sources, keep these things in mind:
-Keep generators at least 20 feet away from any doors, vents, and windows in living and sleeping quarters.
-Don't run vehicles where carbon monoxide can be trapped. In Allen's situation, his vehicle was out in the open, but the gas was able to enter his cab. A running vehicle in a garage even with an open door can present a hazard.
-Install carbon monoxide detectors in living quarters, and replace the batteries twice annually with each time change. Check the detector monthly.
-Within the home, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
-Be certain your fireplace damper is open when lighting a fire and for some time after the fire is extinguished.
-Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so don't rely on your sense to keep you safe.
-If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, leave the enclosure and retreat away to fresh air. Do a head count to be sure all persons are accounted for. Immediately call emergency services.