Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monster House

During my hospitalization in April, one of the respiratory therapists questioned if my repeat admissions could  be due (in part) to some kind of environmental trigger -- maybe something in or around my house was bothering me. I dismissed the thought at the time, telling myself I've lived in my house for over 4 years. Surely I would have had symptoms before now.

When I landed back in the hospital just three weeks after being released, the same kind of questions were asked. Was there mold in my house? Have I developed an allergy to my dog? Could there be some other kind of toxin in my home? It just seems like my health has been especially unstable recently, despite every effort to keep myself well. It seemed to be a popular opinion that I could possibly be exposed to something harmful at home. I still wasn't sure I was buying into the whole idea.

Flash forward to Friday night/Saturday morning when I felt so terrible that I was seriously considering driving back up to the U and crawling back into a hospital bed. As I laid there feverish, exhausted and struggling to take a breath, I suddenly thought of the recent conversations regarding a toxin in my home. And that's when I thought, it must be my house! Something in my house has been making me sick. MY HOUSE IS TRYING TO KILL ME!

(I may have a tendency to be a bit dramatic at times.)

To test my new theory, we spent the rest of the day and evening outside. We even carried my oxygen concentrator out to our camp trailer and slept in the backyard. The girls thought it was fantastic since it was "just like camping". Shylee asked if we could sleep out there every night. The next morning I woke up feeling SO MUCH better! To be safe, we spent as little time as possible in the house on Sunday as well. We went to the lake to soak up some sun, barbecued burgers again for dinner and even slept in the trailer again, much to Shylee's delight. The final verdict: I felt fine as long as I wasn't in the house for an extended period of time.

So we've now begun the process of determining what exactly is bothering me. Chances are high that it's mold. We did suffer some water damage somewhat recently, thanks to a leaky pipe we didn't catch in time. We believe there may be some mold growth as a result of that. An insurance adjuster is coming out tomorrow morning to see if there is anything our homeowner's insurance will do to help us there. The rest is still up in the air.

Until we have a more definitive plan, we've kept the windows open in an attempt to get as much fresh air in the house as possible and we're looking into getting our air ducts cleaned. I also have two air purifiers running 24/7 and we've sprayed Lysol on just about every visible inch of our house. Short of sleeping in the trailer every night, we are spending as much time outdoors as possible. All of these things seem to have helped... for now.

In other news, this week marks my final week with a full-time job. It's been my dream to go part-time for a while and, for a few different reasons, the time for that has finally come. I'm extremely excited about being able to spend more time at home with Morgan and dedicate a little more time to taking care of my health.


  1. Jenny,

    It seems you may have good reason to believe there's something in your house that has caused your recent health decline and most likely it is in fact due to the leaky pipe which may have created mold. Hope you can get some help from the insurance in paying for eradicating it. Good idea to have the vents cleaned also. Wishing that your health continues to improve also!!

    Camping/sleeping in a camper can be fun but always feels nice to get back into your comfy bed, however; the adventurous child might not agree.

    Enjoy the part time versus full time work. Got to be the next best thing to retirement.


  2. Good luck! I am super sensitive to mold and dust as well. In addition to looking for mold, I would put on a mask and try to deep clean as much of your house as you can to get rid of dust... I also have allergy covers on my pillows/bed. Some of my worst sicknesses have been brought about by staying in places that had a lot of mold and/or dust, so I definitely believe in being careful!!!

  3. I remember you recently posted a blog about a new pet cat - is the cat allowed in the house? Just a thought, since it would be a new (allergenic) addition to your household. Hope you are feeling better soon!

  4. The first thing I thought while reading this was the cat... but mold is always a huge problem. I hope you guys find something and fix it!! I'm so excited for you to get to spend more time with you little girl!

  5. I thought of the cat, too. Even though she is STRICLTY an outside cat and has most likely run away (we haven't seen her for days). :)

  6. I kind of hope it is your house so that you can pinpoint exactly what it is, get it fixed, and see your health improve. Please keep us updated. I have been thinking about you!

  7. I think your observations clearly point that there are harmful elements in your house. You should’ve hired someone to clean the house to check if there were molds, since it wouldn’t be advisable for you to do it yourself. And molds are the most possible cause of your recurring respiratory illness. After all, molds are harmful when inhaled. How’s your health now?


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