Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Freezer Burn

I have to post about this because it was a pretty traumatic experience for me. Today I got stuck in a -20C walk-in freezer for over twenty minutes.
My IFT product development team was meeting and after five hours of working I wanted to go get a frozen snack to eat. So I walked over to the other building and unlocked the door to the freezers, opened the freezer door, got my snacks, and when I tried to get out of there, I realized that I was stuck and had no way out unless someone found me. Banging on the door or yelling would get me no where since the freezer was located in another locked room (I did yell and hit the door just to make myself feel better).
I have a tendency to panic and have an overactive imagination. Images from the book "Alive" flashed through my head. No I was not stuck for days on a mountain and no I was not thinking cannibalism; I was thinking, "There is a chance that I could die in this freezer." But the rational part of my brain was in control and I quickly thought to look for any emergency switches, phones, etc. Nope, but I did shut off the cold air flow. I did not care if I messed up anyone's experiments, I figured I had at least a good 10 minutes before anyone would find me and I was not going to be able to handle that temperature for very long. After ten minutes went by I found plastic bags to wrap around my running shoes to minimize the cold entering the mesh of my shoes. I'd like to think we all have a little MacGyver in all of us.
I figured that the longest I would be stuck there would be 1 hour tops. Someone from my group would start worrying or a facilities staff would check out the freezers because of the increase in temperature. It's amazing how slowly time passes by when you're just waiting. Then I started to freak out a little bit. "Should I sit or should I stand? If I sit I'll conserve energy, but then I might get frostbite, so I'll stand and wiggle my fingers and toes..." "Should I breathe into my jacket to conserve heat? Hmmm....can't cry, can't cry, need to save water." "Do I hear someone coming, is this my chance to yell and pound the door?"

The feeling of overwhelming helplessness hit me. I lead a pretty great life; I have wonderful family and friends who love and care about me and I enjoy living my life. There is also so much more that I want to do and achieve. With little conviction, I tried to telepathically send a message to my group members. I then started singing my wedding song to myself. Mike sings it to me over the phone sometimes and I guess in times of need it's a comforting song.

Finally, my group realized that I was taking quite a long time and thought, "Oh no, she might be stuck in the freezer." I was saved by Emily and started to cry when she found me. So I am now safe and warm and will never walk into that freezer alone again. I also realized that time and life is precious. I do not think I have ever been this scared in my life. Sure, I can joke about it now, but it's an awful feeling to be trapped and feel helpless.

*These pictures were taken prior to me getting stuck.


chou said...

L-soo glad that it worked out okay. I get shivers even thinking about it. Mean freezer.

Diana said...

Oh you poor thing. I'm so glad you're alright.

just me said...

thanks c. and d. it was pretty scary. oh c. i have to forward this email to you from the dept. then you can tell me what you think.

Razzie said...

I didn't know you got stuck! how sad, oh and I so want an Dream Pie bar!

Reeni said...

I'm so glad you were rescued! I was thinking of the I love Lucy where she gets stuck in her freezer and turns into an icicle. Knowing me I would of probably overindulged on the ice cream trying to comfort myself! Brrrr.