So, I brought up my physical injuries and my struggle because, physical trauma and stress deplete glutathione, as much as chemical injuries. Many people assume that I have a genetically inferior constitution. That's just not true. In fact many of us that contract Toxic Injuries like chronic fatigue, fibro or chemical hypersensitivity, are the strong ones. Persons with weaker constitutions would have died, or developed cancer, heart attack or stroke, etc. In fact, many of us, the Toxically Injured have those and many more chronic illnesses and we survive, maimed, for years. Just something to think about.
Peggy, my fearless leader, and I are putting it down to 'just plain stubbornness.' it is both my best and worst character trait. It is most likely why I'm still alive (a view endorsed by my EI doctor) and why I continue, like Peggy, to work myself to a stand still (lay down) to help others with this condition.
But, on with the show...
In '02 my eldest child went off to college, to study Entomology. She would come home during the summers to work at the Experiment Station. The summer of '03, Pollucks rented Baccus' place to grow melons. Alex and I were hoeing goathead weeds along side the road when a rather large, arrogant, young, white male came roaring down the road in a white pick up. He spied my beautiful daughter and slewed to a violent stop, six inches from striking me with the pick up. He was so intent on leering at her, he didn't even notice. In his best impression of suave he said, "just thought I'd stop and be neighborly." this was delivered with an arrogant smirk that was only marred by the conflict the leer was having on his face. It's difficult to look cool when your drooling...
Obviously, I was not impressed with the lie, as it was obvious from his rate of travel, that had my lovely daughter not been present, he would have barreled by in a cloud of dust, undoubtedly kicking up gravel. I stepped in front of Alex. He craned his neck to look around. "So what, exactly was it you wanted?" my voice cracked out like a hammer hitting up alongside his head. Didn't even phase him. His greedy little pig eyes continued to leer. I stepped over in front of Alex again, forcing him to recognize me. I'm sure the look on my face was NOT neighborly. He decided to adopt a condescending tone, and informed us that they were going to apply a little Bravo, on Baccus's place, but it was completely harmless, "nothing to worry (our) little heads over." Had I not been there, I'm sure he would have said "pretty little head..." oh, brother! Anyway, I shot back with, "that's a pesticide right? All pesticides are harmful, they're biocides, which means kills living things" (incidentally, I'd got that info from Alex, but neither of us wanted her talking with that guy.) he argued, I told him I'd look it up, thanked him and requested that he keep me informed of all chemicals that they put down, due to my previous chemical injury. Alex by this time was making sure that she stayed behind me, and adjusting every time he'd try to look around me. He roared away in a huff, showering us with gravel. We were never told of another chemical application, though they applied every week.
Baccus's place is less than 500' from us, kitty corner across the corner of another field. Research shows that toxic drift always occurs inside the homes at (a median average) of 500'.
By this time, I had chosen to retire from surveying, as there were other incidences where some farmers were less than honest about chemical applications. I'd returned to teaching. I chose to substitute. I love the variety, the challenge, and the fact that you don't get stuck with a "really bad class." Every teacher is supposed to take a rotation of who gets the difficult kids, for their grade level each year. I'd go nuts if I had to deal with those out of control kids everyday, all school year. As a substitute, you can decline to take those classes. I'd resumed teaching the fall of 02. Spraying for melons actually begins the last week of February, or so. By May of '03, I was noticing a lot of flu like symptoms following certain teaching assignments. I remember that it was becoming popular to have those plug in air fresheners in the class rooms.
The school year ended, and I continued on through the summer, apparently unchanged, though I'd begun to have problems with the laundry detergent aisle at stores, and places like candle stores and Bed Bath and Beyond. Then at the end of the summer, my father put together a family reunion on the Oregon coast, in yurts. The Last morning we were there, I woke up early to the sound of a spray truck moving thru the camp ground. They were fogging for Mosquitos. It was probably a hundred feet away. I didn't think much about it. By the end of the day (when we got home) I had the worst "Migraine" I'd ever had! Every sensory organ was hypersensitive. I could feel vibrations from the train more than a mile away, and they hurt. Noise, light everything, was horribly painful. I can recall being curled up in the fetal position, with a black towel over my head. It lasted for a week.
The school year returned and I went back to a work environment that was inundated with plug-in air fresheners. By mid winter I had recognized the correlation between my "flu like symptoms" and working in a room with a (or a wing, with several) plug-in air fresheners, or fragrance emitting devices.
I was confounded, for awhile as several non fragrance rooms elicited the same response, they contained toxic sharpie markers...
February rolled around again, (04) lambing time for me. The melon farmers were now renting the Voile's piece to the north of me. This year, it was Bellinger Melons. So while I was laying on my belly pulling lambs, they were drilling, 'fertilizer.' I wasn't paying too much attention, after all, it's just fertilizer, right? Wrong! But I'll stay on track and save that discussion for another day...
I remember, everything jelled for me the first week of March. I'd been asking the schools to put me in rooms that didn't have fragrance. This school put me in the "special needs" room. The secretary swore there was no fragrance. There was an automatic fragrance emitter, in their private bathroom, that went off every 10 minutes and on a motion detector; one of the 5 assistants had a Glade solid air freshener on her desk; all of the assistants used aroma therapy hand lotion and slathered it on the kids. All fragrance contains pesticide. All neurodegenerative diseases and behavioral disorders are exacerbated by toxic substances, including fragrance.
It was "Read Across America" day, or "Cat in the Hat" day, as the kids called it, in honor of the official mascot. The whole school was supposed to spend the entire day reading. Thank God, it was a relatively warm day. I was so sick, I couldn't function in that room. I moved us all outside, onto a blanket, and spent the whole day reading to the kids out there. Every time I'd come back into the room I'd get horriby ill. I remember having to ask one of the children to please sit down wind of me, she was drenched in her mothers perfume. She was also the secretaries kid...
I had one more job at that school that week, it was in a split K-1st. I made sure there were no fragrance emitters. I warned the secretary, that I would not work if I arrived and the room was fragrant. It wasn't, but every other room in that wing had at least one. Every 10 to 15 minutes a group of children would go in or out of the room. Every time they opened the door, a wave of fragrance would roll in. The children that spent time in the fragranced classrooms became saturated with toxic VOCs, that they brought back to this classroom.
I was teaching with the outside door open, in effort to keep the air fresh. By 10:00 a.m. I had a migraine, and the lights were glaring. The children began to complain that they couldn't read my hand writing on the board. I tried, but I couldn't fix it. My field of vision progressed to blurred and flickering, I was staggering, in horrible pain, and getting nauseous. When lunch time came, I had the assistant take them to the lunchroom, and informed one of the team teachers I needed her to do my lunchroom duty. (Considered very uppity for a sub.) no sooner had the door closed behind the last child than I called down to the office and informed the secretary that she needed to get a sub for the sub. She responded, "Couldn't ( I ) just hang on for a couple more hours?"
I said, "no." she said,
"Well, just think about it."
I hung up the phone and went to the sink to splash my face with cool water. Ten feet away, I projectile vomited violently. I hit the sink. After mopping up the mess, I called her again, informed her that she needed to get that sub and send a janitor, I was going home.
I took a chair and sat outside, breathing in the fresh air for a few minutes, before I wrote the teacher a note, gathered my possessions and staggered down the hall to the secretaries office. She was furious. I signed out and headed for my car. I remained slumped over the steering wheel for some time, windows open, trying to gather myself together to drive. I didn't have to get far, just to my husband's office, about a mile or so away.
When I began to feel a little better and my visual field returned, somewhat, I eased the car out of the space, and the parking lot. I crept down the deserted road. This was a country school in a one main road town. I made it about half way, and had to pull over. I parked along the road, in front of the gas station and projectile vomited again. Luckily, I just happen to have a large plastic container with a lid... Teachers carry all kinds of stuff with them. My vision was failing again, so I called my husband. It was Commission meeting day, so I had to get him out of the meeting. He was very displeased. He told me I'd have to wait, until after his presentation, a couple of hrs., and couldn't I just finish driving home myself? I said no, and then assured him, following his next interrogatory, that I would try to make it to his office.
He hung up, I laid there crying for awhile. I never cry very long, it doesn't accomplish anything. I put something over my eyes, opened a window, and tried to rest and gather strength. After awhile I felt a little better, so I drove slowly out of town, about 3 more blocks, and continued on to his office. I parked there and rested miserably in the car. I did move to the passenger seat. Eventually Ron came out, and slammed into the drivers seat. He was pissed. He didn't even wait till we were out of the parking lot, before he began berating me for interrupting his meeting, and my leaving work early. It was a mortal sin! He said,
"couldn't you have just hung on a few more hours?!"
I projectile vomited in reply. He shut up.