So, I went to Family and Children’s services to do some medical stuff, and was meeting with a woman who knows all the issues, including the multiple chemical sensitivity to fragrance. (Anything with fragrance in it causes an allergic and toxic reaction – coughing, sneezing, burning eyes, difficulty breathing (allergic); and mental confusion, severe migraine, nausea and finally, nonstop vomiting. Fragrance is literally poison to me. It can take anywhere fr4om a minimum of 6 hours up to 72 hours for the symptoms to subside. It only takes a molecule to trigger, and it doesn’t matter how much you spent on the stuff. Same toxic chemicals in all of it.
So I am to meet with this woman, who knows all of this, and with whom I have already had discussions about the stuff in her office. So she takes me back, and I get a whiff of her – covered in scent. Lotion, perfume, shampoo, conditioner, fabric softener, cologne, aftershave – all have the fixatives to make the scent last, which are the same petrochemicals and toxins and carcinogens found in secondhand smoke, fyi. I enter her office, and take the chair furthest from her. She makes me move to the closer chair, “feeling uncomfortable with people so far away.” I bit my tongue, and explained I had to take the furthest chair due to her fragrance and my condition regarding same. (SO sorry I made YOU feel uncomfortable as YOU were POISONING me. So teddibly sorry.)
Adding poison to insult and injury, she had several plug-in air fresheners going – and those REALLY ARE poison to me. I was already developing the headache warning of impending migraine, and this is in the first 30 seconds.
So, she decides to move the chair to the other side of her desk, by the door. By then, too late, plus it didn’t help – the room stank to high heaven. I was even facing the hall, as she fiddle-faddled with paperwork, mindlessly chatting away. As the migraine developed and headed straight into nausea and I was sitting there turning green, I finally said “I cannot be in this room any longer, I am about to hurl.” And got up, she followed me outside, where I told her point blank “I am going to have to see someone who is not using plug-ins and wearing a ton of perfume. I am not going to put myself through this.” and she went to see if anyone not stinking to the heavens was available. Nope. So she said she’d reschedule and turn everything off and try not to wear anything. (Problem being the stuff accumulates on surfaces, and even if that office is clean, air vents will carry the stuff in from other offices. Been there, experienced that. So, if – as she said – everyone on the floor is using those damned devices, it’s a no go. Meet me outside. No reason for me to torture myself at this point.
It really did piss me off, given she knew. If she didn’t I wouldn’t have a problem. But she apparently didn’t believe me, or didn’t think it was as severe as I said. And once you KNOW about it, to do that which you know causes harm is BEYOND insult. In this case, where things now stand, it’s freakin’ attempted homicide. It’s happened time and again, and I’ve even had people, thinking I was making a joke, spray me with the stuff.
And it really pisses me off when people tell me “You need to get out more.” YOU THINK I LIKE BEING A FREAKIN’ PRISONER IN MY APARTMENT? I assure you, that is not so, and I would LOVE to “get a life,” which I’ve also been told. I used to have one. But as you can imagine, this condition has caused me to drop most of the activities that comprised my life – theatre, going to concerts, festivals, dinners, parties, ballet, plays, bookstores, even restaurants, and at times, grocery shopping. You’ve no idea just how many fools I’ve had to suffer gladly over this issue, especially in the workplace.
The illness is cumulative. Every exposure incident makes it incrementally worse, bring on more severe symptoms faster. It used to take hours before the headache became migraine, or nausea hit. Now, as in today’s case, it’s almost instantaneous. I wasn’t in her office more than ten minutes. That was at 12:25pm. And here I sit, full migraine still, and at least the nausea is finally subsiding. It’s 4:17pm. Thanks so much, Tonya. Appreciate it. Yes, when people poison me – when they KNOW the situation, it tends to piss me the fk off.
By the way, if you get a headache around fragrance, that’s the beginning stages of MCS.
More info on MCS: