Verse of the Day

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grandsons & Traveling Hardships

Holidays 2009

Babes 2009
 credits: Jack build-a-kit by MagsGraphics, fonts - SBC Preschool & CK True Type
Mags has several packs/sets of papers, frames, ribbons & hold-em-ups to choose from. It really is a fun "build-a-kit". She also has one called "Luke" and another "Madeline". You can see them all here in her store.
One of the hardest things about living so far from family, is not getting to spend time with our grandsons. Family viisits are rare because it's so difficult to travel that far because of my severe NRLA (natural rubber latex allergy) & MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities). There are many things I have to remain ever watchful for... avoidance is the ONLY treatment for latex allergy as it gets worse with EACH exposure. Traveling has all kinds of dangers... both chemical and latex (road dust, exhaust, road construction, fresh asphalt, industry waste that's airborne (ie refineries & power plants), gas stations, latex glove use &/or cleaning chemicals in public bathrooms, latex glove use in restaurants, PEOPLE in all these places with all the chemicals & fragrances they have on their person & in their clothing, the "unexpected" surprises (car or house fire along the freeway, blown tires on the road, etc).
Because of the latex contamination of food & drink (thru use of latex gloves in the restaurant &/or the food manufacturers facility), we have to prepare and bring travel food with us AND enough food for me for the duration of our stay. Then, where are we going? where will we stay? who will be coming to see us? and there's a whole 'nother round of preparations... sometimes so very overwhelming that it's just easier (and of course, MUCH SAFER) to just stay home (especially if encountered "major" exposures/reactions during the last trip)!
In addition to restaurants & food manufacturers, HOTELS are notorious for using latex gloves. Mostly, because they don't know anything about latex allergy and their suppliers promote the latex gloves (they've lost business as the hospitals are going latex-free and are pushing their gloves into every mode of business). NIOSH issued an alert way back in 1997 -- 13 years ago!! -- that to avoid latex allergy in the workplace, to use NON-LATEX gloves for routine cleaning, housekeeping, food service, hair/beauty salons, etc. Yet, SO MANY BUSINESSES are still using latex gloves... and we, the consumer pay the heavy price -- ANYone at ANYtime can become latex allergic... you don't have to be in the medical profession! it's everywhere -- we've been exposed with the food we eat, the places we shop, the places we eat, the places we sleep!! -- the danger is that not everyone who is latex allergic "knows" they are... and therefore they're not avoiding it and are getting worse with every exposure... AVOIDANCE IS THE ONLY TREATMENT!!
Then, who are we going to see? I can't go into their homes, so they have to come see us (whether we stay in a hotel or room at my parents that has been made relatively safe)... this means advance preps on their part -- special steps in laundering their clothing, avoiding use of all fragrances & chemicals, making sure airborne latex isn't piggy-backing into our 'safe zone' with them (latex gloves &/or balloons will contaminate their clothing, hair, skin, house, car, etc -- they pick it up in the stores, restaurants, workplace, etc), no elastic in their clothing, etc. -- the list goes on & on & on.... it's practically impossible to have a completely safe environment under those conditions. We've found that family & friend visits are MUCH SAFER when they travel to come see us in our home... because "we" can control what comes in... houseguests (family AND friends) coming to see us go thru a strict regime when they arrive -- strip out of travel clothes & bag them in plastic, shower (with soaps & shampoos that we provide) & put on 100% cotton clothing (scrubs or other) that is both latex-free and has never come in contact with fabric softener or other laundry chemicals (we now have all sizes on hand for them);  thoroughly dry & cover any hair that has been treated with chemicals (ie perm, coloring, etc).
Then there's the matter of the water.... chlorine is a killer! I have to take with us enough filtered & boiled water for me to drink for the travel days and the time we're away from home. If where we stay has chlorinated water? it is airborne every time it's turned on or a toilet flushes... this affects me in 2 ways... immediate respiratory distress AND the multiple body systems affected because of my MCS. 
Life-threatening & disabling latex allergy & multiple chemical sensitivities bring with it an isolation that most people just don't comprehend. Some who may be reading this and have NRLA themselves might be thinking, "i'm not that bad", "my latex allergy is very mild", etc. Well, so was mine at one time. Latex allergy is PROGRESSIVE. It gets worse with EACH exposure. The ONLY treatment is AVOIDANCE.
Please see for more information on latex allergy. And for more info on multiple chemical sensitivities.

Isaiah 40:31


Mrs. Clark said...

Janie, thanks for the informative blog post. I had no idea it was so difficult and isolating for you. What do you do about your water for bathing at home? Do you have a well?

janieinMN said...

we're on city water unfortunately. we put in a whole house 'point-of-entry' water filtration system late 2007. PLUS, for drinking water it goes thru a 2nd filtration (brita) AND gets boiled before i can drink it.

"When you choose to use fragrances, chemicals, or pesticides,
You are not simply making a choice for yourself,
You are making a choice for everyone around you."
© MCS America

For More Information - NRLA & MCS

Support Groups

NRLA—Natural Rubber Latex Allergy

MCS—Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

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