Yesterday my friend Kati came into town; she's lived in Jackson forever, and moved away just a year ago for health/work/stuff reasons. I met her out at the Elk Refuge and we went on a lovely walk, and then walked to the ice cream shop. Kati came back to our apartment, took a shower, and then consented to sleeping on the couch instead of setting up camp at 11pm (it wasn't hard to twist her arm). We all went to bed around midnight. Then everything went to crap.
I woke up to the sound of Bryan coughing at about 1:30pm. Since his nasty bout with pneumonia last year, I've been easily worried about him, especially after spending several nights staying up late and listening to him breathing. My first reaction to waking up to the sound of him coughing and flailing was to be afraid... and then I started coughing and flailing. My eyes were burning, my throat was burning, my nose was burning. I couldn't breath, I couldn't stop coughing, I had no idea what was happening. Bryan yelled "run to the bathroom!!!" and I followed him in there, and then turned and ran to the kitchen after I realized that I need water, NOW, because my throat was on fire. I grabbed Bryan's water bottle, turned the faucet on high and drank and drank and drank, meanwhile, coughing and yelling and crying.
Kati slept through that part, even though I was only 15 feet away from her.
I ran back into the bathroom and said something along the lines of, "What's happening?! Are we dying?!?" I told him we HAD to get to the ER FAST. I thought we were being attacked by biological weapons, or had been poisoned or something.
In between coughing and throwing up/clearing his throat, Bryan told me that I was experiencing the effects of Bear Spray.
Above: bear spray being sprayed at a bear, a can of bear spray with safety nozzle,
a can of bear spray with safety nozzle in its holster.
HOW exactly did bear spray permeate our small studio apartment? Well, as Bryan simply put it, "I grabbed it from the shelf, took it out of the holster, took off the safety and shot it. But I was asleep."
Yes. As my loyal readers know, Bryan has a history of sleep walking, talking, and do random things. Last night at approximately 1:30 AM, he decided to save us from an attacking closet door.
He has no idea what he was dreaming about, or why he sprayed the bear spray. We keep our camping equipment next to the bed on a shelf, and he grabbed it and sprayed it, then started to wake up a bit... THEN put it back in its case, and THEN started to cough and cry and react to it. As he put it, "I figured out what I had done just a minute before I started coughing."
So we're both hacking and crying and snotting all over ourselves in the bathroom. Bryan says "DON'T TOUCH YOUR EYES OR YOUR PRIVATES!!!" which was excellent advice. He then told me to get in the shower to rinse off the oil. I didn't need to be told twice; I whipped off my clothes and jumped into the shower. I told him to come with me but he declined; I think he was too busy trying not to vomit into the sink between coughing and catching his breathe.
I have NEVER experienced anything that awful. I thought I was going to die, or that I'd never feel okay again. It was awful. And it lasted for over a half hour.
Bryan was out of the bathroom by the time my shower was done. The whole apartment was full of bear spray... which, if I haven't explained, is a specialty pepper spray used on BEARS. It's something like 50 times more powerful than the pepper spray you use on people, because it's used on BEARS. It shoots out at 70mph, and it supposed to be used about 20-30 feet away from a BEAR. It's more effective than BULLETS when used to detour BEARS. BEARS. Not people.
This stuff can cause PERMANENT DAMAGE if shot into a person's eye. It's awful.
So I get out of the shower, throw on a towel, and run out into the living room (one of the two rooms in our studio). Kati and Bryan are outside on the staircase, Kati sitting on the ground wrapped in her sleeping bag. She explained that Bryan ran out to see if she was okay and, finding her outside, calmly told her, "Yeah, so, I sprayed bear spray in my sleep." She had woken up coughing and choking and thought it was her heart (she has an internal defibrillator) and then realized it was her lungs that were on fire. She ran towards the bathroom, and then realized it was WORSE over there, so she ran outside. She mentioned that she hoped we weren't in the bathroom dying.
So I come looking for her and Bryan in my towel, on a very cold Wyoming night. I said something along the lines of "OH MY GOSH I FEEL LIKE I'M DYING AND NOW I'M FREEZING!!!!" I ran inside and grabbed a blanket. Bryan told us that we needed to drive over to our friend Greg's apartment, and that he would stay and clean up the place, but I was NOT okay with that. You couldn't BREATHE in the apartment, much less clean. He grabbed a shirt, pressed it to his nose, ran back in the house and brought me out some clothes to wear. Of course he grabbed some ill-fitting jeans and a white tee, and no bra, undies, or sweatshirt. I ran back inside to at least grab a bra and couldn't reach my sweatshirts so I grabbed a pair of sweatpants and ran back outside, changing right there on the stairway. Bryan got me my fleece, and I convinced him to go with us to Greg's.
We ran back inside and grabbed cell phones and I grabbed another blanket. We opened all the windows (this done while holding blankets/shirts to our face because you could not BREATHE in our bedroom, period) and left the apartment. As we walked to the car I was suddenly struck with how ridiculously funny the situation was; Bryan has walked in his sleep before, as well as done other things, but this was CRAZY. Who discharges bear spray in their sleep?! My hubby. I was laughing so hard I fell down on the ground. At this point Bryan was just happy I didn't want a divorce or something like that; Kati and Bryan started laughing and it was pretty hilarious. Kati made a joke about not getting a good night's rest, and Bryan said something like "you're always welcome here." We drove to Greg's and passed Loaf & Jug (convenience store) and Bryan offered to buy us something to eat or drink. We got Bare Naked juice and Krispy Kreme donut holes and went to Greg's. Greg wasn't home, and the water heater had blown, so they had no water at all. We sat a bit and laughed and then passed out... it took Bryan a LONG time to fall asleep. Thankfully there were no weapons in range so I wasn't too concerned and slept after a half hour or so.
The next morning we went back to the apartment to change before breakfast. The windows had been open all night but it was still pretty impossible to breathe in there. So we went to D.O.G. for breakfast burritos. Kati went off to write after that, and Bry and I came back to the house.
I had to wash every item of clothing that had been left out, and anything that may have been sprayed in the closet. We also had to do all the bedding, the pillows, and the towels in the bathroom. 8-10 loads later, I came home and found that Bryan had rented a carpet cleaner and had taken pretty much everything in our apartment outside to air out or to be cleaned. This stuff gets on EVERYTHING. It was a LONG process. Thankfully we can now breathe just fine without the back of our throats feeling like something is trying to crawl its way out of our stomachs.
That's pretty nice.
All in all it was a terrible, awful, hilarious experience. One that, as my friend Molly pointed out, we'll be repeating to our grandchildren.
|The lovely orange spot of bear spray on our closet door, just 5 feet from the bed. |
Also managed to get a bit on the luggage we bought just three days prior.
In the future we will not keep bear spray or sharp objects near Bryan's side of the bed.
It's good to know that bear spray actually works... against people, at least.
It's good to know that it's hard to clean this stuff out of anything. It's powerful.
It's a pretty awesome thing to be able to say "that was the most unpleasant physical experience I ever had, and I lived through it."
Don't trust Bryan when he's sleeping. He's wily.
Kati probably doesn't want to sleep in our apartment ever again...
It's so much better to find humor in a situation like this than to be pissed.
Bryan is still a stud and I love him.
I'm not a bear. Don't spray me.