The funny thing was, I actually did eventually turn purple! 😀 But let me back up a bit.
One of my least favorite jobs early in this process was having to ‘smell’ or ‘test’ things to see if they were safe. Safe from mold contamination initially, but now chemicals as well. Every single item. Constantly. And no one else could do it, because no one else in our family was as sensitive as me.
I don’t like it, not only because I’m risking a reaction – which was especially likely to happen especially in those early days when we didn’t know what would set me off or not to pre-evaluate them. I didn’t like it also because I hated the responsibility. Decisions are not easy to make when you have brain fog, and it makes it even worse when you have to evaluate other people’s stuff. When you’re the one who has to say that your brother’s Christmas presents have to stay in the garage for now, or that your family member needs to throw their clothes away because it now has mold mycotoxins in it- which don’t come out.
Or even worse, house hunting. Having to make the make or break decision on whether or not a house is safe, and knowing that there is no easy way out if you choose wrong. It’s a stressful choice for a fifteen-year-old. My parents made it as easy as they could, and we proceeded with much prayer, but ultimately I had to give a confident yay or nay as to whether it was safe.
Then there are the times when I react to something, but can’t explain it properly to someone. Or we don’t know the logical reason yet. Most of the time, a reason eventually surfaces and it makes complete sense, but until then… it’s hard to make a decision and know that people will be disappointed. Or even not believe you.
Therefore, I wish I turned purple. Right away, and clearly, for all to see. It would be a whole lot easier than trying to describe how the room looks like it’s moving, meanwhile doubting myself. Have you ever thought the same thing? That you would like to turn purple?
I’d better explain what I meant earlier by actually turning purple though, shouldn’t I? Well you see, I did eventually develop a skin thing on the back of my right hand that stayed as long as we were in a moldy house. It didn’t come and go, though, when I was exposed. It just stayed. So it wasn’t much help. How rude, right? 🙂 It’s gone now however.
Helpful Tips To Make ‘Mold/Chemical Testing’ Things Better:
- Be merciful with yourself at first. You’ll figure out how to better understand your symptoms in time and with practice.
- Allow yourself to clear and then test yourself again if you are unsure about something. Better to be safe than sorry! Especially in this.
- Before testing something, stop to pay attention to and evaluate how you are already feeling so that you will know the difference.
- If it’s possible in the situation, try not to overdo it with too much in one day, and be aware that it may send you to bed for the next hour or day afterward, so if you can prepare for that ahead of time it helps.
Lingo I Used (And Only Now Realize Might Be Confusing):
- ‘Clear’– As in ‘clear from the exposure’. If something is bad, and you get a reaction, depending on the reaction it will take time to ‘clear from it’- to stop reacting. It can take anything from a few minutes, to a few hours, or even a few days depending on the exposure.
- ‘Test’– What I mean by this in this context is to purposely breathe in air from an isolated and specific object or place and pay attention to whether I react or not to know if it is safe, since there are no perfect mold test machines you can buy at the grocery store. 😉
- ‘Smell’– By this, I mean the same thing as testing… I’m referring to the breathing in part. However, it is important to realize that I’m not actually talking about the ‘aroma’ of something. That can be a helpful indicator for someone without my sensitivities, but the aroma doesn’t always line up with it. Just because something doesn’t smell flowery or plasticy doesn’t mean it isn’t chemically. Same goes with mold.
- ‘Safe’ – An object, place, or person that does not have any mold or chemicals that I react to. 🙂