KeeWee and I have survived into the New Year without any major trauma, and for that we're thankful. My birthday was right at the end of December, and now I am "Officially" old! It's kinda reassuring when I get smoked by some of the fast young shooters to think "Sure, but let's see how fast they are forty years from now!"
I was under the weather for a day or so just before New Years with a bit of carbon monoxide poisoning. Our oil furnace wasn't working quite right and was due for a bit of maintenance. Since I've been working on my own furnaces for years, it looked like another straight forward project. I serviced the oil filter, then pulled out the electrodes and spray nozzle assembly. A bit of readjusting of the electrodes was done and a new nozzle installed. A new nozzle every year isn't a bad idea, although they seem to last a lot longer than that if you don't change it. After reassembly I fired it up and checked it for leaks. It fired up OK, but it would cut out every so often, then almost immediately restart. One of the oil line fittings also seemed to be weeping a bit. It wasn't really dripping, but it was headed that way. Suspecting something in the burner control as the culprit for the cutting out, I removed the control and went through it. It looked OK except the relay contacts didn't look to good, so I cleaned them up with a point file and a flex stone. I remounted and connected the burner control and fired it up. It lit up properly, and seemed to be working fine, so I decided to let it run for a day and see if it continued to work properly. It ran fine until the next morning, when I heard it cutting out again. Fortunately I had a good used burner control on hand. It was a Bradford-White instead of a Honeywell, but they work basically the same. I wired it in and mounted it on the burner. It fired up without incident and worked as it should. I removed the copper oil line that runs from the pump to the spray nozzle assembly, and close inspection showed the flare on the end that was weeping didn't look to good. I cut off the flare and re-flared it, then reinstalled the oil line. Now when I fired it up it stayed completely dry. Cool! Leak fixed.
Through all of this adventure the incomplete combustion when it was cutting out was putting out carbon monoxide. The little CO molecules were apparently sticking to my blood cells, replacing the oxygen molecules that would normally be stuck in those locations. I didn't have much for symptoms, except for a slight headache, but being around smoke gives me a headache anyway, so I didn't think much of it. After I went to bed that night, however, things got more interesting. I was just about asleep when I started feeling really cold. Then the shivering started to feel a bit more like mini-convulsions. Not good! I turned the electric blanket to high and KeeWee tossed another blanket over me, and in a few minutes I stopped shivering. I started feeling better, and fell asleep. The next morning I had a pretty good headache, and a strong suspicion of what had happened, so I decided some oxygen would be a really good idea. I went out to the barn and grabbed the cutting torch. It didn't seem to take too much for me to start feeling better. Several times throughout the day I'd go give myself a bit of O2, and each time I felt better.
Now it's been a couple of days, and I feel pretty much back to normal. At least, "Normal" for being officially old..................