Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bizarre Story

Those who have heard this story say "you've got to put this on your blog" so here goes....
Last Sunday night about 8 pm my old friend Mary Butler arrived from San Miguel Allende, Mexico, for a visit. We reunited joyfully of course. About 8:45 I was showing her around my study, where she would sleep. I was explaining that the overhead light and ceiling fan, instead of working on a wall switch, worked on a remote. To demonstrate I held the remote up close to my face, with Mary standing close to my right shoulder. I clicked the button on the remote and a horrible wailing sound commenced. For those old enough to remember (like me) it sounded like an air raid siren. We assumed it was a smoke alarm, although it was even louder and more piercing. Mary is only about five feet tall but considerably younger than I. Carefully I held Mary's knees while she balanced on the ladder disconnecting every smoke alarm in the place but  the wailing continued. So I disconnected the carbon monoxide alarm. No effect. At this point I called my neighbor Jim who got into some clothes and came over and repeated all of our motions. No effect. Fifteen minutes had ensued. Neighbors doors were opening and they were beginning to gather in the street in front. "I'm calling 911" I said, but the task seemed almost impossible for I had to scream into the telephone to have the operator hear me, so I went out to the back deck thinking it would be quieter, but it was the same. Then Jim and Mary came out to the deck and said it had become quieter in the house. I went back in and the roaring continued again. At this point Jim pointed at me and yelled "Bonnie, its coming from YOU". All I could imagine, then, was it was my pacemaker screaming. I hurried out to the front walkway to meet the firemen, understandably in a state of panic. By this time seventeen minutes had elapsed of this deafening noise. Four fully clad fireman came running up and I announced that we had just discovered the blaring was coming from me so the fire captain said "Take off your hearing aid". I looked puzzled but took off the left hearing aid and held it in my palm. It continued to blast about four more seconds. Then silence. The fireman in the lead told me to turn down the volume on it but of course my hearing aids, engineered in Germany, are preset just for me, and there is no volume control. I was too rattled to explain this to the helpful firemen. What a relief to have the noise end.
How embarrassing to me in front of the gathered neighbors. Eventually we went to bed but I was too wired to sleep, and in fact the next day I could not keep my food down. But I did solve the mystery after I talked to my nephew-in-law in Arlington, Washington. Alvie is an electrician and explained that the radio frequency on the remote for the fan must have been the same as for my hearing aid, and it set up a kind of loop. When I called Dr. Gil, my hearing aid doctor, he confirmed this likelihood. Meanwhile I checked with the electro-physiologist in my cardiologist's office and he assured me that I had not harmed my pace-maker. "If the pace-maker was failing" he said, "you would feel a vibration in your chest, not hear an alarm".  Good to know.
Do these wild and bizarre things happen to everyone, or is it just me?

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