Tag Archives: tyvek suits

Catch-UP Mondays: Cookie Baking and True Friendship – revisited

While Christmas has past and so has my Easter cookie baking, I wanted to share this with all of you.  There is nothing like true friendship and a friend who will do “whatever it takes” to be in my house and participate in normal activities.  Thank you Victoria for being such a dear and faithful friend throughout all of my ups and downs.

Hello Everyone

I have talked many times about friendships and what it takes to be my friend or the friend of an environmentally ill person.  I have also talked about Tyvek being this mold survivor’s best friend because it allows others to come into my home without risk of bringing mold in on their clothing or fragrances from their laundry products.

Today my dear friend Victoria came over for a yearly ritual of Christmas cookie baking.  We bake all day and then give away most of the cookies.  It is the friendship and the tradition of baking cookies that we love.  We talk and chat over the roar of the mixer and the oven timer going off.  It is the one day we have no other agenda than to visit and create something to give away.

Several years ago Victoria gave up her daily routine of putting on her favorite perfume before heading off to teach her classes.  She wanted to be free to stop by and visit me anytime she wanted and wearing her favorite perfume restricted her visits.  I am so thankful for this kind of friendship.

I digress a little to tell a story about going to her home for an outdoor party during the summer.  Everyone was told not to wear perfumes to avoid getting me sick.  One friend of hers forgot.  I thought I had sat far enough away from her when the coughing began.  The horrible gut wrenching coughing that does not stop.  We had to get me the heck away from her.  I was moved far out into the yard and had to take both my inhaler and a histamine injection.  Of course Victoria’s friend felt horrible.  What did Victoria do?  She sent her friend upstairs to shower and then gave her clothes to put on that didn’t have perfume on them.  This friend of hers always brings that story up when someone asks if I am really that sensitive and tells them about the day she almost killed me.  And she has never forgotten about the perfume since then.

Ok, back to my baking story.  Victoria and I baked 12 dozen cookies today (brown sugar shortbread, sugar cookies with sprinkles, angel crisps and butter cookies).  We had attempted another butter cookie that was supposed to go into a cookie press (it came out in a mess).  The recipe also suggested a pastry bag, it wouldn’t go through the decorating tip.  We decided to just make balls and bake them.  That didn’t work very well either not to mention that we had the bright idea of adding food coloring to them to make them pretty which for some strange reason the red dye turned the dough this ugly orange.  As much as I hate to waste food, the dough was tossed and chalked up to an experiment.

My half of the cookies are all boxed up and will be given out or frozen for company if we should have any.  Below are pictures.  Note that I can be seen in my jeans, shirt and Christmas apron and Victoria is wearing the latest in Tyvek fashion.  How many of you have friends that will go this far to be able to bake with you in your kitchen?

Victoria and I baking in my kitchen.

Victoria and I baking in my kitchen.

Our strange colored dough.

Our strange colored dough.

IMG_0547

 

Catch Up Mondays: The Holidays are approaching; are you ready?

This was first posted on November 6, 2012.  The holidays are here again and we are all asking the same question.  Are we ready?  How will we handle the holidays with chemical sensitivity as well as food allergies?  It is difficult.  I have been fortunate that my family is always cooperative and we manage to make it through without too many issues.  The picture below was my first Thanksgiving at my house in 2004.  I am posting this early because I have another post scheduled for Monday.

Thanksgiving at my house.

Thanksgiving at my house.

The holidays are approaching.  Are you ready?  Someone Googled “Christmas with multiple chemical sensitivity” and found my post on mold spores and cross contamination.  I Googled it myself and found my blog post on page 6.  The holidays are hard for everyone with the craziness of shopping, decorating, wrapping gifts, preparing for company and planning dinners.  For those of us with multiple chemical sensitivity life becomes even more difficult and we have to be so much more creative.

My sensitivities had peaked by the end of 2003 when I came home after being in Dallas at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas for nearly a year.  My husband had been working on a safe house for me without carpets and other toxic substances.  I had rented a computer in November while still in Dallas to try to do some Christmas shopping online.  I was determined that there would be a Christmas someway, somehow.  My family would not go without some gift from me.  I arrived home on December 22nd.  The house was not finished.  The only rooms tiled were a bedroom for me to sleep in and the guest bathroom.  I had my cot and a washer and dryer.  I arrived home to a stack of boxes and two days to get it together.

Christmas morning arrived.  My family (daughters, mother, dad and sister) arrived.  The living room floor was just concrete.  There was no furniture so I borrowed some metal folding chairs from my sister.  There was no tree so I tied a bow on an oscillating fan that my husband had been using while working on the house and gently placed a few packages down around its base.  My husband made coffee at the house next door and brought it in for my family to drink.  The house was cold because the heat wasn’t hooked up yet, made even colder by the cold concrete underneath our feet.  The only heat I could provide was from a small ceramic heater that I used in the bedroom.   We survived the opening of gifts and then everyone left me alone in my room to go to my mother’s for Christmas dinner.  Oh how I wish I had a picture of the fan to share with you all.

The following year was Thanksgiving.  By this time I had some wicker furniture in the living room and a table in the kitchen.  My house was now to be my safe place and no one could enter without wearing the beautiful and elegant white tyek suits to protect me from possible mold and fragrances.  They also wore white painter hats and booties to cover their hair from fragrances  and cover their shoes from whatever they might have on them.  The photo I am sharing is what Thanksgiving looked like at my house.

My point in this post is to let others know that yes holidays are hard  with multiple chemical sensitivity but there are ways to make it work.  If you can’t go to shop like me, there is an abundant amount of online shops.  The trick is to have an idea of what you want to buy.  The first time I tried it, I became panic-stricken and began to cry.  It isn’t like going to the mall and picking up something you see that you know would be perfect for Aunt Ginny or cousin Susy.  It takes time, patience and practice but it can be done.  Wrapping paper is another issue.  Solutions can be something as simple as plain tissue paper or kraft paper that doesn’t have all the inks or shine of traditional wrapping paper.  My second Christmas after my family all graciously endured the tyvek suits, hats and booties from Thanksgiving, I wanted something better.  I purchased pajama pants for the entire family and plain simple t-shirts.  I laundered them so I could stand them and one by one my family entered the garage, changed from their “stinky perfumed things” into my safe clothes and walked into my living room.  For the first time Christmas felt a little more normal.  We all looked like we had just gotten out of bed and went straight to work celebrating Christmas.  We just had a pajama day.

Christmas dinner was what I could eat and what anyone else wanted to bring as long as the aroma from the food wouldn’t bother me.  I ate what I could eat and left the other food to everyone else.  We have continued this way of celebrating the holidays.  It may not be everyone’s normal, but it is our normal.  I am so fortunate and grateful to have a loving family that supports me and gives me the opportunity of celebrating holidays with them even if it means that they have to step outside their comfort zone to do it.

I would love to hear what others with multiple chemical sensitivity do to celebrate Christmas and other holidays.  I hope that I have answered the question for the next person that searches out chemical sensitivity and Christmas or given hope that there are things that can make it work.

Friendship that lasts beyond high school

A friend and former classmate that I had lost contact with and haven’t seen in ages came over yesterday. We reconnected through our reunion page on Facebook.  Yes, he put on one of my lovely one-size-fits-all tyvek suits and sat in my office. We discussed what had been going on in our lives, my cover and strategies for getting my book finished. It is wonderful that someone I haven’t seen in years so readily accepts my disability and the quirkyness required to be my friend again and to enter my home. I am so excited for what is to come with my book and for a renewal of friendship.

I had planned on writing something today. I had my IV cocktail of Vitamin C, Glutathione and Magnesium. I usually am tired after but recover. Today I am very tired and just can’t seem to focus. Not only has the magnesium left me relaxed beyond belief but I think the Vitamin C and Glutathione may be moving stuff around in my body that needs to come out. I can’t seem to think well. I actually came home after over 2 1/2 hours with the IV in my hand to eat lunch and try to do some work here in the office. The tiredness took over and I just crawled into bed with a hot pack around my waist and read for a few hours.  I am discovering more ways to lie down and read with my kindle.  I simply propped it up on a pillow beside me and just tapped the pages as I went.  I even changed the font size so I could take off my glasses should I fall asleep while reading.  I got up and was still cold. I got up took a hot shower and threw on my jammies and robe. I dined in my jammies and robe and read some more. I just came in here for a quick check of what is going on.  Heading back to the living room to read and perhaps back to bed.

I will try again tomorrow.

Workers’ Compensation Defense Doctor #1 Appt. Report

By now hopefully you have read yesterday’s post about my first defense doctor appointment. I felt ill for days after that appointment. Towards the end of June of 2004 I received a copy of Dr. ______’s report from my attorney asking me to comment on it. Following are excerpts from my letter to my attorney. The text in black is Dr. ____’s comments in his report. My comments are in blue and red.

Page 3 Paragraph 2 – Dr. S (using letters to indicate doctor names mentioned in report) performed a third surgery in August of 2000 and again found sinusitis. He does not mention the culture taken 2 days before the surgery which revealed fungal growth approximately 2 weeks later.

Page 5 PHYSICAL EXAMINATION – Indeed, the false ceiling in the exam room had water stains but so did the false ceiling in my office, where she and her husband sat for an hour-and-a-half.  He did not mention that during the time I sat in his office I was wearing my mask with 2 charcoal filters in it.  He did not mention that during the hour-and-a-half appointment in his office I became hoarse and gave myself a histamine/serotonin injection.  When in the exam room, I had to remove my mask so that he could examine my sinuses and throat making me more susceptible to allergens.

She indicated that her husband would place her in a Tubex suit, also wear one, as their clothes had become contaminated.  (Tyvek)  He does not mention that he said if I stayed there he would have to phone for an ambulance to which I responded that an ambulance would make worse especially if they tried to take me to a hospital.  He also did not mention that he said if I had any more appointments that I should insist they come to me.  Was he trying to placate me into thinking he believed me or did he believe me but because he is part of the defense, he cannot say that?

Page 6 Paragraph 3 – ….yet, individuals with hypersensitivities from their workplace initially note worsening while at work, improvement away from work, and then worsening upon returning to work; but neither she nor her physicians reported this typical history….The notes from Dr. S during my October 30, 2000 office visit where he states that I walked four miles to his office.  (I was having trouble with the dizziness from the Neurontin so I walked).  I had began walking to other appointments, to meet friends for lunch, etc.  Therefore I was doing better and then became worse shortly after being allowed, as Dr. S wrote in in a note, “to attempt to return to work”.

Page 6 Paragraph 6 – Ms. Treat was the first to raise concern about possible mold exposure at her employment, especially because of a “mildewy” smell at work.  Dr. S suspected a fungal infection in January 2000 after I began blowing black mucous out of my sinuses.  I mentioned this to my boss, Mr. S, that Dr. S thought I had a fungal infection.  When I continued to become ill, Mr. S directed the district office to have our office tested.  The report done by ____ states that she was asked because of the smell in the office and a worker was constantly becoming ill to test the office building.  Even though moderate amounts of mold were in the report she stated it couldn’t have made me ill.  …We had not yet been able to get the culture in my sinuses to actually grown fungus even though I found out from Dr. M and Dr. R that this is many times the case because fungus does not like to grow outside its environment.

Page 6 Paragraph 7 – Only after her suggestion did Dr. S, and then Dr. M consider mold hypersensitivity; yet, I found no record of any of the many available tests for mold hypersensitivity.  Dr. S suspected fungus as I said in January 2000.  I told Dr. S about the test results of the mold tests done in our office when our office received them.  Dr. S said he wanted to do a RAST test on me to test for mold.  Dr. S ran the test and included some basic foods when the test was done.  The test showed an elevated IGE to many molds.  (This information is in his reports and in a letter to Dr. M.)  Dr.M considered mold hypersensitivity to mold after I was referred to him…..He could not believe how high my mold antibodies were…..Did Dr. _____ not even look at these test results?

Page 7 Paragraph 6 – Because of her persisting complaints, she eventually elected to transfer to a different work site but was also unable to tolerate her new location because of an intolerable smell.  Still, an offensive odor should not be confused with sensitivity to fumes and vapors, which was never established.   I was offered the transfer to the new school because both Dr. S and Dr. M said that I could not longer work at _________ because of my sensitivities to mold.  When I started at the new school they were painting, putting down carpet, installing, sod, etc.  By the time I arrived at the new school I had no sense of smell and could not smell the new carpet or the paint.  Therefore, I could not have thought I was reacting to something that I smelled………I was on leave not because I thought I was reacting to the new school but because I had been taking Amphotericin-B through a nebulizer and was reacting to it and having difficulty talking and Dr. S felt that if this didn’t work I might have to take another IV medication which could be life threatening considering my sensitivities.

This is just a small amount of all the comments I responded to in the first defense doctor’s report.  So what at first may have seemed like this doctor was sympathetic to my plight in stating I should have future doctors come to me, he was not.  Nor did he mention any of this in his report.  Workers’ Compensation is a tricky thing to navigate.  There was no way I could have done it without a very amazing attorney.

Cookie Baking and True Friendship

Hello Everyone

I have talked many times about friendships and what it takes to be my friend or the friend of an environmentally ill person.  I have also talked about Tyvek being this mold survivor’s best friend because it allows others to come into my home without risk of bringing mold in on their clothing or fragrances from their laundry products.

Today my dear friend Victoria came over for a yearly ritual of Christmas cookie baking.  We bake all day and then give away most of the cookies.  It is the friendship and the tradition of baking cookies that we love.  We talk and chat over the roar of the mixer and the oven timer going off.  It is the one day we have no other agenda than to visit and create something to give away.

Several years ago Victoria gave up her daily routine of putting on her favorite perfume before heading off to teach her classes.  She wanted to be free to stop by and visit me anytime she wanted and wearing her favorite perfume restricted her visits.  I am so thankful for this kind of friendship.

I digress a little to tell a story about going to her home for an outdoor party during the summer.  Everyone was told not to wear perfumes to avoid getting me sick.  One friend of hers forgot.  I thought I had sat far enough away from her when the coughing began.  The horrible gut wrenching coughing that does not stop.  We had to get me the heck away from her.  I was moved far out into the yard and had to take both my inhaler and a histamine injection.  Of course Victoria’s friend felt horrible.  What did Victoria do?  She sent her friend upstairs to shower and then gave her clothes to put on that didn’t have perfume on them.  This friend of hers always brings that story up when someone asks if I am really that sensitive and tells them about the day she almost killed me.  And she has never forgotten about the perfume since then.

Ok, back to my baking story.  Victoria and I baked 12 dozen cookies today (brown sugar shortbread, sugar cookies with sprinkles, angel crisps and butter cookies).  We had attempted another butter cookie that was supposed to go into a cookie press (it came out in a mess).  The recipe also suggested a pastry bag, it wouldn’t go through the decorating tip.  We decided to just make balls and bake them.  That didn’t work very well either not to mention that we had the bright idea of adding food coloring to them to make them pretty which for some strange reason the red dye turned the dough this ugly orange.  As much as I hate to waste food, the dough was tossed and chalked up to an experiment.

My half of the cookies are all boxed up and will be given out or frozen for company if we should have any.  Below are pictures.  Note that I can be seen in my jeans, shirt and Christmas apron and Victoria is wearing the latest in Tyvek fashion.  How many of you have friends that will go this far to be able to bake with you in your kitchen?

Victoria and I baking in my kitchen.

Victoria and I baking in my kitchen.

Our strange colored dough.

Our strange colored dough.

IMG_0547

The holidays are approaching; are you ready?

The holidays are approaching.  Are you ready?  Someone googled “Christmas with multiple chemical sensitivity” and found my post on mold spores and cross contamination.  I googled it myself and found my blog post on page 6.  The holidays are hard for everyone with the craziness of shopping, decorating, wrapping gifts, preparing for company and planning dinners.  For those of us with multiple chemical sensitivity life becomes even more difficult and we have to be so much more creative.

My sensitivities had peaked by the end of 2003 when I came home after being in Dallas at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas for nearly a year.  My husband had been working on a safe house for me without carpets and other toxic substances.  I had rented a computer in November while still in Dallas to try to do some Christmas shopping online.  I was determined that there would be a Christmas someway, somehow.  My family would not go without some gift from me.  I arrived home on December 22nd.  The house was not finished.  The only rooms tiled were a bedroom for me to sleep in and the guest bathroom.  I had my cot and a washer and dryer.  I arrived home to a stack of boxes and two days to get it together.

Christmas morning arrived.  My family (daughters, mother, dad and sister) arrived.  The living room floor was just concrete.  There was no furniture so I borrowed some metal folding chairs from my sister.  There was no tree so I tied a bow on an oscillating fan that my husband had been using while working on the house and gently placed a few packages down around its base.  My husband made coffee at the house next door and brought it in for my family to drink.  The house was cold because the heat wasn’t hooked up yet, made even colder by the cold concrete underneath our feet.  The only heat I could provide was from a small ceramic heater that I used in the bedroom.   We survived the opening of gifts and then everyone left me alone in my room to go to my mother’s for Christmas dinner.  Oh how I wish I had a picture of the fan to share with you all.

The following year was Thanksgiving.  By this time I had some wicker furniture in the living room and a table in the kitchen.  My house was now to be my safe place and no one could enter without wearing the beautiful and elegant white tyek suits to protect me from possible mold and fragrances.  They also wore white painter hats and booties to cover their hair from fragrances  and cover their shoes from whatever they might have on them.  The photo I am sharing is what Thanksgiving looked like at my house.

My point in this post is to let others know that yes holidays are hard  with multiple chemical sensitivity but there are ways to make it work.  If you can’t go to shop like me, there is an abundant amount of online shops.  The trick is to have an idea of what you want to buy.  The first time I tried it, I became panic-stricken and began to cry.  It isn’t like going to the mall and picking up something you see that you know would be perfect for Aunt Ginny or cousin Susy.  It takes time, patience and practice but it can be done.  Wrapping paper is another issue.  Solutions can be something as simple as plain tissue paper or kraft paper that doesn’t have all the inks or shine of traditional wrapping paper.  My second Christmas after my family all graciously endured the tyvek suits, hats and booties from Thanksgiving, I wanted something better.  I purchased pajama pants for the entire family and plain simple t-shirts.  I laundered them so I could stand them and one by one my family entered the garage, changed from their “stinky perfumed things” into my safe clothes and walked into my living room.  For the first time Christmas felt a little more normal.  We all looked like we had just gotten out of bed and went straight to work celebrating Christmas.  We just had a pajama day.

Christmas dinner was what I could eat and what anyone else wanted to bring as long as the aroma from the food wouldn’t bother me.  I ate what I could eat and left the other food to everyone else.  We have continued this way of celebrating the holidays.  It may not be everyone’s normal, but it is our normal.  I am so fortunate and grateful to have a loving family that supports me and gives me the opportunity of celebrating holidays with them even if it means that they have to step outside their comfort zone to do it.

I would love to hear what others with multiple chemical sensitivity do to celebrate Christmas and other holidays.  I hope that I have answered the question for the next person that searches out chemical sensitivity and Christmas or given hope that there are things that can make it work.

Can I Help You Ladies?

Or, a funny thing happened on the way to my daughter’s house. I have been meaning to write this story for a while.  It came to my mind recently and I had to put it down.

As most of you know from reading my “About” page or following my posts I have extreme chemical sensitivity due to a mold exposure at work.  I have two daughters.  My younger daughter lived 2 1/2 hours away from me to the north and my older daughter lived 45 minutes from me  in the foothills in the opposite direction when this happened.

My younger daughter was here for a visit and we were scheduled to go and visit my older daughter one Saturday afternoon.  Younger daughter went and had her hair done earlier in the day.  Not thinking (I blame my off and on again companion – brain fog.) we just jumped in my car.  Of course she put on one of my required tyvek suits to avoid getting anything in my car.  We started down the road and about ten miles into our trip I was having difficulty.  I was getting a headache, congested and my voice was slowly getting more of a crackle in it.  Suddenly it dawned on both of us that her hair was making me ill.

As soon as possible I pulled to the side of the road and we both jumped out.  How were going to make it safe for us to continue on our journey?  We couldn’t go on the way things were and I couldn’t call anyone to come help us.  We searched the back seat and then the trunk to find something we could put over her hair.  Aha!  There it was, a white plastic garbage bag in my trunk.  I always keep some in the car for emergencies or having to put someone’s belongings in it before they could ride with me (Read “Tyvek – this mold survivor’s best friend” to better understand the reason behind the tyvek suit)

https://allergictolifemybattle.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/tyvek-this-mold-survivors-best-friend/

We got the bag out of the trunk and tried to put it over her hair.  The wind was blowing and gusts of hair would get under the  bag and fill it like a balloon. We fought and fought the wind and the air in the bag.   Here we are on the side of the road, she is already wearing the white tyvek suit and we are now trying to put a bag over head.

Enter the highway patrol cruiser.  Just as I thought things couldn’t be worse or crazier than they were, the officer gets out to see if we need assistance.  I have to explain as simply as I can without appearing to be a lunatic that I have sensitivities to chemicals and my daughter has just gotten her hair done making me ill.  I also explain that we are trying to cover her hair up with the bag but the air keeps getting inside the bag.  I purposely tried to ignore the fact that she was dressed in this white suit.  The officer, however, noticed and made some funny comment about her tyvek suit and then calmly walked over and helped us get the bag on her hair. I was then asked to move aside so that he could write down my license plate number which was required because he had stopped to check our status.  As he walked away, he says it bothers him too when his wife gets her hair done.

The story doesn’t end there.  A few weeks later our tenant comes to pay rent.  He is talking about having coffee with his highway patrol officer friends.  One comments about these two women on the side of the road and how he had to help one put a bag over the other one’s head.  I immediately start laughing and telling him that I was one of the women he rescued that day.  Our tenant knows all about my sensitivities and about my story.  He then started laughing and said he couldn’t wait to tell this particular officer that he knows the women.

I knew the officer would most likely go back and tell the story to all his buddies.  I mean how often does this kind of thing happen?  I just never realized that I would be hearing about it a few weeks later from someone I had known for several years.  There is the saying, Seven Degrees of Separation.  I don’t know how many degrees of separation there was but it was closer to home than I would have thought.

My mask for defense doctor appointments.

I had been waiting and waiting for a mask that the judge had ordered I have to try to safely go into the rest of my defense doctor appointments. After some bad reactions to chemicals in my scheduled appointments, we thought maybe a different kind of mask would work.   It was supposed to arrive in time for me to out-gas it enough to be able to use it.  A few weeks after my deposition which we held in my driveway in July of 2004  because I was unable to go into the courtroom, my mask arrived.  From my book:

A few weeks later the mask arrived. It was not what I had expected! I had envisioned a mask that would cover the nose and mouth. What I got was uglier than I expected. It covered my entire face! The next morning I began putting the mask outdoors in the sun and would bring it in at night. Shortly before my scheduled appointment the mask was still making me sick when I put it on. I scheduled a phone consultation with Dr. Rea regarding what I should do when I attended the appointment. He suggested that I wear my charcoal mask and a Tyvek suit (in case of mold in the building) and, if I started to get sick, to leave as soon as possible. I phoned Mr. Keeling and told him what I was going to do. He gave me the same advice. If I got sick, I should leave.

I was becoming more and more depressed at the fact that I had no nice clothes to wear—or a need to wear them, for that matter. In August I wrote, “I feel bad that I have no need for nice clothes. Hell, I could almost wear a potato sack around. I used to love to look nice—nice outfits with my jewelry; shoes and hair done nicely and make-up on. Now I dress shabby, my hair is a mess, I don’t wear my pretty jewelry, I don’t wear any make-up—After all, ‘WHO CARES?’ ‘WHO SEES ME?’ ‘WHERE DO I GO?’ ‘WHY DO I NEED TO LOOK NICE?’As Rick says, ‘You will only end up throwing it out’.” I so needed to hear that it was okay to get things and if something happened and I had to toss it, so be it. But I didn’t hear those words.

The depression continued mounting. I wrote, “I want to try and work on my book…. I want to toss and tear and shred right now! I want to DESTROY as my life has been DESTROYED. I want to blame everyone because they are doing what I cannot! I hate everyone because they are doing what I want to do.”

For my next appointment  I wore a tyvek suit and my charcoal mask (I Can Breathe) since I had not been able to tolerate the one provided for me.  In my book I write:

Just as I was ready to turn and go back outside, they called my name. We were taken back into the inner office and I was led to an exam room. I could smell something very strong as soon as I got near the room and told the medical assistant that I could not go into the room because it had a strong smell in it. She looked at me and asked if it would help if she turned on the air conditioning. I said that it would not help and then asked if they had an air filter that could be put in the room. I was given a blank look as she responded they did not. (This was supposed to be an office where they understood chemical sensitivities, yet the office had a strong chemical odor and there were no air filters.) I then asked if I could just be placed back into the room where they had done my breathing test. It was not perfect but it was better than the first room; however, it was being used to test another patient. By then I was getting frustrated and asked if there were any other rooms that did not have carpet in them that I might be able to use. Reluctantly, I was placed in a room. This room had the treadmill in it….

…..After listening to my lungs he (the doctor)  asked a few more questions. The doctor told me that I could do the treadmill test and leave. As he walked out of the door, he patted Rick on the shoulder, as if to say, “You poor, poor man.” Within just a few minutes, a technician came in and said that I would have to sit in the waiting room for about 30 minutes while they did the treadmill test on another patient and then they would do mine.

Once again, I had to stand my ground. I explained that I was sick. My attorney had told me that if I got sick I could leave whether or not the treatment was done. I explained that I was at that point, and the doctor had just told me I could have the test and go home. Either I had the test done right then or I was going home without it. There was no way I was going to sit in the waiting room, and I was not going to stand outside for another 30 minutes. She left the room and came back a minute or two later, saying that she would do my test first.

I lay down on the exam table while she hooked up the electrodes to my chest. When everything was ready I was asked to stand on the treadmill. A mouthpiece was put in my mouth and a clip to my finger. The track began to move and I stepped on. I was asked if I was okay, and I nodded that I was. The elevation of the track was increased a little, as was the speed. The technician asked if I was okay. I used my hand to symbolize that I was doing so-so. Once again the speed was increased, as well as the elevation, in an attempt to put more stress on the body. Immediately I knew that I was not going to make it. I began having difficulty breathing and felt dizzy.

Rick, who had been closely watching me, jumped up and grabbed me off the treadmill and ordered that the machine be turned off. He tried to have me stand next to him but I just slid to the ground. I began gasping for air and coughing. The technician asked if I wanted water. Rick told her it would not help and asked me if I needed my inhaler. It had not been four hours since I took it during the breathing test and I was afraid to take it again. While he tried to convince me to take the treatment, he reached for the garbage can and sat it down in front of me. My coughing spells often lead to vomiting.

I continued to cough and finally agreed to take my inhaler. Slowly my breathing and coughing came under control and I was able to get myself in a standing position. Rick took the electrodes off my chest and helped me get my things ready. I realized then that we were the only ones in the room. I was having a difficult time, the technician did not stay in the room, and the doctor had not been brought in to check on me. As we walked out of the room and into the inner office with all its smells, Rick had our parking pass validated. Not a single person asked if I was going to be okay. They just let us walk out of the building. Everyone in the waiting room was staring at us as we left. As we walked out, I was leaning against the wall to keep from falling, and I know that they had to have heard the gut-wrenching coughs I was making in the room next door.

This is just one of many times I have dealt with doctors who have discounted my reactions and my complaints.  I know  many of you readers have dealt with similar situations during the course of your battle with environmental illness.