When Hilda Senior woke up at her cabin on Saturday morning, she knew something wasn't right.
"I remember waking and thinking, why is my heart beating so loud in my ears?"
Senior and her husband Albert had arrived at their cabin on an isolated island in Placentia Bay late the night before. They were in a bit of a rush when they arrived, she said, and went to bed around midnight.
At 8 a.m. the next day, she felt ill.
"It felt like someone had doused me with a bucket of water. I couldn't move. At one point I did sit, but I felt like everything went black and I thought I was going to faint, so I lay back on the bed," she said.
He shouted at me to get up but I couldn't get off the bed, I felt like rubber. - Hilda Senior
Senior weakly called out to her husband, who had gotten up a bit earlier and was outside having a cup of coffee.
"He said when he looked at me, he thought [it was a] heart attack, so he shouted at me to get up but I couldn't get off the bed, I felt like rubber," she said.
"He managed to get me to the kitchen, which was only like 10 feet away from the bed, he put me on a chair and I remember seeing him on the floor … nothing seemed real."
Senior said she's not sure how long Albert was on the floor, but he was able to get himself up, get them both outside and call their daughter, who was about 15 minutes away by boat in Red Harbour.
It was when he went back into the cabin to get their dog out that he realized what the problem was.
"He turned off the propane and that's when he figured that it was carbon monoxide. We have a propane fridge and stove in the cabin."
'I was pretty close to not coming back'
Senior's daughter called 911 to have ambulances meet them in Red Harbour, while a family friend came out to the cabin to bring them back by boat.
"Luckily, it was a beautiful day on the water — no wind, no waves, so we were able to go faster than normal," she said.
Senior said the ambulance took her to the hospital, where doctors treated her for carbon monoxide poisoning.
"They told me I was pretty close to not coming back. The doctor in Burin told me that I must have had someone looking out for me."
Now, a week later, Senior said she still struggles with her breathing at times and has recurring headaches. She said her doctor believes she has some muscle damage in her heart and some "stroke-like symptoms" because of the lack of oxygen.
Senior said they usually sleep with a window open and bring a carbon monoxide detector to their cabin, but that night was damp and the window was closed, and they'd forgotten the carbon monoxide detector at home.
A problem with the propane fridge caused the build up of carbon monoxide, she said, and they've already gone back to the cabin to get rid of it. The Seniors are now investing in solar panels and an electric refrigerator.
And she has a warning for anyone in a similar situation.
"If you have an older fridge, keep a window open, don't forget your carbon monoxide detector … we've heard of other incidents on the news or whatever, but no, I never thought it would be this serious or that it could be so sneaky," she said.
"We know now why it's called the silent killer."