Yesterday should have been a typical routine work day, for the most part, it was. Spent the day doing items from a punch-out list, the time was flying by. Then it happened…
Most days I drink somewhere around four or five bottles of water during a day at work, room temp. It is not at all unusual for me to have more than a couple bottles going at the same time – early afternoon, I moved to the next room on the list and set about my tasks – occasionally reaching for my bottle of H2O – after one swallow, I noticed something didn’t seem quite right. As mindless and natural as taking a sup from a bottle of water is, It occurred to me that where I picked up the bottle didn’t seem like where I had set it down, I turned to take a second look – yup – two bottles on the floor – still not unusual, except for the fact I hadn’t done anything in that room for days.
It was at that moment everything came to me with great clarity – the previous day a co-worker was wanting to try an acid-based cleaner to remove the grout haze from tile, I offered him an empty water bottle so he could mix a small batch to try it out (diluted from the cleaning solution at a 3 part water to one part cleaner) – he left the original water bottle label in place, made no marking on the bottle and had left it on the floor – I was pretty certain at that moment I had drank from the wrong bottle.
The thoughts that raced through my head at that moment were dizzying…I was not even completely sure I had done what I thought I did, but what if I had??? Mind racing it started to play tricks on my body – immediately my stomach began to ache, my throat felt odd – “holy shit! what do I do? Am I going to die?” – were the thought mostly in my head,
I grabbed the bottle to read the caution label that fine print no one ever really reads – the first words that came into focus were :fatal if ingested – that doubled my heart rate yet again. I dialed the poison control hotline number on the bottle and explained what had just occurred.
The person on the phone asked the manufacturer and name of the product, and had the related MSDS in front of him in seconds,,,”how much did you drink? – “just a small sup and it was diluted with water” – How long ago did this happen? – “a few minutes ago” How do you feel? “Im freaking out!!!!”
The next little bit was really kind of a blur – but I got medical attention pretty quickly, I was somewhat surprised how little most of the people from poison control to the medics knew about the effects in small doses – as nothing was feeling like it was burning and the stomach discomfort had not changed (other than feeling bloated from chugging two fresh 24 ounce bottles of water)- my blood pressure was stable – all pointing to signs that either I never did actually drink the wrong bottle, or, it was such a small intake that it would be (basically) harmless.
A couple hours of monitoring vital signs, a couple nasty scopes, and they determined that I was fine and could go home. Consensus seemed to be that I hadn’t drank any of the acid mix – quite relieved it was ( apparently) a false alarm I relaxed a bit on the ride home.
A short time later, I began to notice the inside of my lower lip was feeling like it was chapped – did I do something during the panic time to cause that? I knew it wasn’t that way earlier… about another twenty minutes or had passed when it be