Daily Gasp 12.27.10

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I was just reminded to write about a situation that ‘FRAGGED’ me the other day.

First what reminded me: the EHP Online Journal (Twitter: @EHPonline) Research Triangle Park, NC USA, posted, this morning, a warning, on their Twitter account, that retailer Sears Canada, Inc., just announced a major recall of reusable shopping bags due to high levels of lead. “???”

OK. I’m going to assume this contamination has something to with the printing ‘on’ the bag. For putting lead ‘in’ the bag – though such an action may be an interesting way to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ people buy – would be at best idiotic, at worst criminal!

What I’m going to write about, does not lead to or deal with LEAD, but it does concern shopping bags.

Last week my wife and I engaged in one of our regular shopping routines. I drive her to the store – providing a driving service and watchful guardian-eye as she steps from car to front door and back again. While she is inside shopping, I remain in the car – out of the chemical soup that so many stores have become. It’s the only way we have been able to retain some relationship to our outings ‘to the store’ of yesteryear, these days. To the choir I speak, I am sure. But it is none-the-less irritating and aggravating.

My wife, Deb, is careful to wear clothing that is not – or at least minimal – absorbent of fragrances. She doesn’t wear wool into a store or FRAG ZONE. Instead she will opt for hard cotton in warmer weather. In cooler-to-cold weather, for a top coat, she wears a pile coat – made from synthetic materials. Synthetics are less effective in absorbing the chemical odors; though they do ‘catch them’.  These ‘remora fragrances’ are relatively easy to dislodge by

  • walking into a wind or
  • by waving the clothing around to create a ‘breeze atmosphere’.

She does this to avoid bringing the odors back into my ‘auto-environment’.

The store she went to was J.C. Penny. For those unfamiliar with this company – specifically those overseas – J.C. Penny began quite humbly in 1902, in a small town in Wyoming. It soon grew though, into becoming one of the most prominent catalog based stores in the USA. Though not as big as SEARS, they have outlasted many others, and they carry a very influential position in the retail world. This was her first time shopping at J.C. Penny for several months.

Lesson #1: Expect ALL Stores To Toss You the UNEXPECTED!

When Deb came out of the store – as we’ve adapted to for several months now – I drive up closer than where I’d been setting-and-watching, from the parking lot area – but far enough that she is able to ‘air out’ a bit before getting into the car. This protocol has worked well for the past several months. Thus we continue it.

Lesson #2: Be Prepared To CHANGE!

This night was -partially- different. Different store. Different incident. FRAG was still distasteful.

The fresh and falling snow, and the winter night’s darkness in a not-too-well-lit area, sped up Deb’s normal entrance into the car. She tossed the ‘bags’ into the back seat, closed the door and entered the passenger door. I drove off. OK. All as normal.

YOW! Not so fast. Within 20 feet I expressed an all too typical… and for Deb, annoying, “OOOOO! You stink!” comment when she gets swathed in chemical soup and brings it unknowingly into the car.

Her reaction was one of, “What are you talking about? I don’t smell a thing.” I did remember seeing her doing her bird-flapping-it’s-wings routine as she came out of the store .. to do what she could to air out in the short time she went from door to door. But still, she seemed to wreak with the ‘sickening sweet odor of some perfumminess’ that just seemed to languish in the car!

Disgruntled and miffed (both of us!)… I drove on.

Lesson #3: Don’t Take It Out On Friends!

By the time we got to the Post Office (last stop before heading home) – maybe 15 minutes of driving – I was feeling the effects of a ‘mild FRAG’. Shortness of breath, sniffle, headache, upset stomach and itchy eyes.

She got out to pick up the mail. While she was gone, I still smelled the ‘odor’ (aka, fragrance!). It wasn’t a lingering odor, either. It was really quite strong. So, it quickly became obvious that Deb was NOT the source of the odor. Immediately suspect #1 became – the ‘bags’.

I reached for one and was slammed back the moment I moved it. “Wheeewwwweeee! That thing stinks!”, was my immediate outburst! I may have profaned the ‘thing’ a bit, too. Don’t remember. But it ‘could have happened’!

Immediately, I tossed them both outside the car and slammed to door. Backed up, rolling the windows down and pulled OVER 3 spaces. Yes, that was new ‘stuff’ my wife just purchased in those bags. But I didn’t care! Much faster than anything of value, they had become pain-causing-items-to-avoid. And I did!

It’s called, survival reaction.

Fortunately, my wife came out quickly .. before someone drove up and ‘over’ the bags and goods inside. She was not too happy to see the bags on the ground. She was less happy about not being allowed to put the bags back into the car.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with this situation. I knew what I wanted to do – but that wasn’t going to happen. Plan B?

I did have choices, but they weren’t all that clear-cut.

  • pull the goods from the bags and toss the bags; seems obvious right? Well, yes and no. The ‘stuff’ inside was likely wreaking as well. So what do we do with that ‘stuff’?
  • leave the ‘stuff’ in the bag and tie the bag to the roof rack or back wiper. We didn’t have too far to go, but it was snowing pretty good and we couldn’t (she couldn’t!) tie the bag up tight enough to keep the snow out.

Solution was good.

I retrieved a length of cord from the tool bag, wrapped it around the bags tops, closing them, and tied them to the rear wiper. We got home with them all just fine.

Lesson #4: Best Solution is NOT Your First Reaction!

Now, wouldn’t it seem sensible to think that driving a mile on a cold (12° F) night, with heavy snow, would ‘wash’ the bag free of smell.

Not a chance.

I was walking out of the garage when my wife came by with the ‘offender’ and it nearly knocked me off my feet!

WHEW! that was strong.

Donning rubber gloves, my wife pulled out the goods – hung the clothing in the garage and left the paper containers setting on the floor. She put the ‘offending bag’ into another plastic bag and tied it up tight, putting it into the garbage can.

The next day I left the garage door open for a while to air it out. Then when I drove to pick up my wife at work, I took the offending bag – tied to the roof rack – to a nearby dumpster and got rid of it.

Man! How much more of a PiTA (no that’s not a misspelled word – just think of ‘new’ translation for this acronym!) can a plastic bag become. Just one more reason for NOT using plastic bags.

Lesson #5: Plastic Bags Do Not Offer Solutions Worth Their Costs.

But a bigger question: How can a company consider themselves ‘socially conscious’ at all, when they intentionally put your products inside of a time bomb for anyone with MCS? !!! Oh, I forgot. That implies they would even care. Right?

There are more and more such incidences. I’ll write more about another such incident that ‘hit’ me again: using fragrance in marketing. Really! No, really! You’ll see what I’m talking about when you read my commentary.

I’d love to hear your stories of unexpected FRAG incidents. The stories need to get out and be told. So, please, help me tell the whole story. Send me your comments!

Until next time, take care and be aware.



Daily Gasp 10.05.10

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NAET OCT 2010: Fabreze

I had my October NAET treatment. My facilitator decided, after our initial conversation and her testing, to treat me for the allergen in Fabreze.

As with all NAET treatments there was the 25 hour avoidance period.  But as she knew, with Fabreze, avoidance would just be part of my normal daily routine.

Fabreze is toxic waste!

Whether or not the NAET treatment was a ‘success’, is yet unknown.  I am not too ready to ‘test it out’.  Since being in the presence of Fabreze results in – at the minimum (see my post for 19 SEP for the latest incursion) of a 3 day period of extreme illness.  I’m sure I’ll have an opportunity to test it soon.

I had a number of questions for my facilitator, which resulted from conversations on the MCS #1 Australia forum and a conversation with one of my wife’s cousins.

I wanted to know

  • Is there a quick way to determine the integrity of a NAET facilitator by looking at their credentials?

  • If my facilitator would consider offering training in her ‘method’.

  • Is there a way to put her method into a training protocol?

  • What is her knowledge and/or opinion of neuroplasticity – or neural pathway rehabilitation?

  • How to satisfy the need of the MCS community?

  • MOST IMPORTANT: Will ‘solutions’ that satisfy the trauma experienced by members of the MCS community, be a real benefit or end up as an excuse to keep dumping unhealthy chemical toxins into our fragile environment?

  • Thus should we pursue such ‘solutions’ – or push for correction of the core problem: chemical production and distribution?


We had a very interesting exchange on these questions and topics.

I will cover each one in a specific Daily Gasp over the next couple of weeks.  Because I treat what I write and post as useful information, I want to research all sides that I can before I release a comment.

Much of the information that will come from this study is what is driving me in the pursuit of answers and solutions.  But my main objective is to educate public, commerce and science to the need for tighter controls on manufacture and distribution of chemicals of all types.

Companies have made billions of dollars off the development, manufacture and distribution of an unfathomable amount of chemicals over the last 150 years. Many have been directly responsible for the rapid advancement of human society, while at the same time responsible for our steady decline in health, security, safety and longevity.

Once again the old adage comes to mind: “Just because we can, does not mean we should”.

Until the next gasp…


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Daily Gasp 09.03.10

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Invisible shrimp in your water???

Today there is a report out that the water in New York City is laced with microscopic copepods (aka, shrimp), in every glass of water you drink.  I read this on my O’fieldstream Twitter feed this morning, posted by DoctorMom, who runs the FoodAllergySupport.DrMomsAllergyRx.com forum.  

This is a social issue with groups who do not eat – for religious reasons – shellfish.  But it’s a health risk as well: for all those who are anaphylactic reactive to chitin : the material that makes up the shells in shellfish and most insects.  Chitin is what the source of the allergy.  So this is a serious problem.

Below was my response to the alarmed reactions of several forum readers.  Preventative action is not only simply, but easy to implement. That’s why I’m repeating it here on YOSAKIME. 

Also .. take note of the RED BOLD section near the end… lest you believe this problem ONLY exists in big city water supplies. 

Think AGAIN !!

This is WHY I take a Brita Filtration System http://www.brita.com/intl/# with me and filter ALL water I drink. I’m allergic to shellfish. I’ve had over a dozen anaphylactic reactions; nearly cleared the ‘big hurdle’ on two of them. So drinking crustacean laced water is NOT an option.

But seriously, in all those cities mentioned .. and many, many more … crustacean laced water is the LEAST of your worries when you drink it. Bottled water is NOT the answer. Much of it is nothing more than bottled, w/out filtering, tap water. Plus, w/bottled water you have the untenable action of plastic bottle proliferation.

Just get yourself a good Brita or comparable water-filtration device and filter your -tap water- BEFORE you drink it. It’s a good idea NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE.

Oh, BTW – for those who live in close proximity to any USA freshwater source that is a ‘collection system’ (aka, lake or reservoir) .. you TOO will likely be drinking crustacean laced waters. They are called mysis shrimp (Mysidacea) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysidacea. So become knowledgeable and therefore, forewarned.

It may be a bit of an imposed inconvenience .. but so is getting sick and/or dying!


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Daily Gasp 08.25.10

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Botanica & Inhalers: Usage, Safety and MCS attention

I am a member of an MCS Online Community called, MCS News Australia #1.  One of our members mentioned a couple of things in a post that I addressed and will repeat here.  These are important issues to anyone, even more important to the MCS sufferer, who has very little leeway when it comes to sensitivity … of any kind.

The comments and questions are related to these two topics:

  • 1) Eating botanica to inoculate against allergic reaction
  • 2) Use of inhalers

About ‘eating botanica‘ to essentially inoculate against reaction.

Well, if you’re not worried about seeing the sunrise the next day .. go for it.  However, if you enjoy living .. it would be ill advised to try it without seeking serious professional counseling.

Here in the States (USA), growing up in the country of what we call “Hoosierland” .. a colloquial and official state nickname for residents of the state of Indiana, we have our fair .. maybe ‘unfair’ .. share of country (aka, ‘home’) remedies; not unlike many rural locations around the globe.  And like those of our global neighbors, some are very good.  One however, which I have very personal experience with is not: eating poison-ivy.

Growing up in the country, as a kid, I lived in the woods, along the streams and in the fields- daily; all day long. My encounters with poison-ivy were hourly.  I never was overly allergic, but I got it; and sometimes pretty bad!  But, hey, it’s only a minute fraction of the human population that do not react to the urushiol oils of Toxicodendron radicans, and it’s worldwide brotherhood of plants that make you itch!

Toxicodendron radicans, is but one of three plants in North America that produce urushiol.  The other two are poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) and poison-sumac (Toxicodendron vernix or Rhus vernix), each type is grades worse than the previous in the order they are named here.  And we have all of them in the Hoosierland.

The ‘home’ remedy was: eat some of the leaves of the plant, when they are blistered, and you will immunize yourself to the ‘itch’.  Well, part of that is 100% true.  You eat those leaves and you will become immune.  Cadavers have never been known to be bothered with itching from urushiol !   Great.  But I really don’t think the desired result is DEATH!  At least that wasn’t my intention.

Obviously because I am writing this .. it didn’t kill me, though I – my parents and the doctors – sure thought, for a time, it might!  I fortunately survived this stupid experiment.

In my case, this ‘experiment’ was conducted without any knowledge of my parents; I knew they’d say ‘NO WAY’.  But the local gent who told me about this ‘remedy’ assured me he’d done it and it worked for him.  I thought he was pretty cool – so why not give it try?  Ah, the logic of a 10 year old… how can you fight it?  Well, you don’t .. you incarcerate it!

When confronted by my dad, the ‘local purveyor of home remedy information’, said, “Hell no I didn’t try it!  That’d be nuts!” And when my dad told him that I DID try it … because of HIS advice, he again parlayed this bit of rich local ‘wisdom’;  “Hell, Jim, I’m really sorry, but I didn’t think your boy was that stupid.”

Two miracles occurred in that moment:  1) Ol’ Jake lived to see the next day and  2) Dad had to agree with the village idiot that he didn’t think I was that ‘stupid’ either.  But he did, however, give ‘Ol Jake a piece of his mind and some choice words about the ‘gullibility of a kid‘ to think on before leaving him.  Guess it took, Ol’ Jake never dispensed any home remedy advice to me – at least – ever again; I didn’t ask either… !

My little experiment turned out to not be a fatal lab failure, but it was not without a real string of ‘side-effects’.  So, let it be known … unless there is any doubt among our audience… side-affects are NOT limited to drug company pharmaceuticals. Any ingestion of a compound used to ‘treat’ …whatever! … has side-effects.  Some are just far more noticeable than others.  “. o

The main ‘side-affect’ was the event actually increased my sensitivity to urushiol – fortunately not permanent – but for the next 5-7 years, my outdoors time was a very nervous experience. One could say I had a ‘decreased level in ‘quality of life’; at my own hands.  Secondarily I had some really nasty scaring on my face – from the blistering. Time and a beard have concealed most of this evidenturium stupidae (to coin a wee bit o’ Latinesque lingo).  And as well, inside my throat – though I’ve not endoscoped that area – and have not had such a procedure (on that end!) yet – I have little doubt there would be, at least trace of, scar tissue in my throat as well, because there were blisters all the way into my lungs!   That is the real danger; pneumonia and anaphylaxis.

So, I would strongly advise you get serious professional assistance before trying any ‘botanica inoculation’ efforts.


I agree with the comments previously made:  1) be cautious  2) make sure the the inhaler is CFC and petro-chem free  and  3) use sparingly.  I will – however – add two more cautions: CONTAINER and ENVIRONMENT.


  • a) Plastic? Be sure the plastic is medical / pharmaceutical grade and NOT a petro-chem derivative; and if so, free of PVC and other toxic petroleum-based plastics; this includes the point-of-contact; where you put your mouth or stick up your nose!
  • NOTE: In the States our FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has just introduced some very tight regs on the use of plastics in medical supplies.  Other countries are not so careful.  In reality, even in the States, WE have worry. Business is business and if the company can cut costs they will do so. For the average human consumer that may not be a problem.  However the…

    MCS sufferer is NOT AVERAGE !!!

    Even WE sometimes forget this.
  • b) Metal? Aluminum is the most common form of metal used in inhalers.  Again, for most people, this is not an immediate problem (no one should use bare aluminum to eat from, drink from or take medication from over long periods) .. but MCS sufferers are far more likely to react negatively to the effects of aluminum.
  • NOTE: The most reaction free materials that could be used would be glass or ceramic.  Both are 100% inert and do not pass on negative materials to the MCS user.  It would be nice if such materials were made in refillable containers for those of us who are sensitive to the more ‘commonly used’ materials.  Hard to get this kind of attention in a mass-production society.


I list this last, but it should be the #1 thing we think of when using ANY INGESTED MEDICATION.
Ingestion occurs in 4 ways:

  • Skin (cutaneous)
  • Mouth (oral)
  • Eyes (ocular)
  • Nose (nasal)

Ingestion is NOT ONLY about eating.. it’s a manner of ‘taking in’.

So, when you use that INHALER or NASAL SPRAY … think of this … and be cautious:

As you INGEST in ONE of the 4 methods – the other three are also ingesting whatever is in the local environment. Thus making your body and ‘mixing-bowl’ of chemicals.

To avoid potential the potential contamination of your medication moment:

Medicate -when possible- in a controlled environment

  • no wind
  • no fragrances
  • no pollution
  • no chemicals
  • no sun

If such an environment is not available …

  • close eyes while ingesting
  • hold nose if doing an inhaler
  • close mouth if using a nasal shot
  • cover as much exposed skin as possible
  • limit sun exposure; ingest in shaded area
  • if you use a ‘mask’ – reposition IMMEDIATELY following an ingestion dose

Basically, what you are doing in these steps is attempting to eliminate ambient contaminants from being ‘mixed’ with the ingested medication for at least the first 30 seconds to a minute following ingestion.  If you can do so, you will allow your body to integrate with the medication on a more ‘level playing field’ than if you just ‘took your dose’ – without any concern for ambient environmental contaminants.

Now .. how many of you actually thought of this?  Seriously!  I would like to know.  Please comment here.  Your response will help me guide the level and depth of my comments.  Thank you.

Again, all people are affected in this manner. But the MCSer will suffer the slightest level of sensitivity infraction.

I hope this has been helpful.

Continue to read the YOSAKIME blog and follow me on Twitter for regular commentary, updates and … well, stuff like this.  “. )

Here’s the URL to the commentary on MCS News Australia #1 for which this piece was written.  Be advised you will need to be a member to read it.  The group is an open group and we invite all who either have MCS, are family, friends, employers, co-workers of MCS suffers to join the group to learn of the needs of the MCS community and how you can help.


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Marketplace Produce Placement: It’s WRONG, help Fix It .. NOW!

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One of the members on the Australian Forum, MCS News Australia #1, Katarina Holgersson, has begun writing a proposal for grocery stores in Australia to separate the scented/fragrance products from the foods, unscented and hypo-allergenic products.  Katarina’s article will come out soon, it is currently being edit and review stage.  I will point to it as soon as it is released.

Meanwhile Katarina, at the suggestion of another member of MCS Australia (Judith Hombravella) has started a Petition to gain signatures, worldwide, to get changes in the product placement of fragrance/scented products away from food, unscented and hypoallergenic products, established in groceries around the world.

To sign the Petition go here: GoPetition: Supermarket Food Contamination MUST Cease!

Even if you’re not a sufferer of MCS you should sign this Petition for three (3) reasons:

  • 1. Chances are you know someone – whether you know it or not – that is an MCS sufferer and you will be doing them a great service in supporting this change in marketing and point-of-purchase operations.
  • 2. No one knows when or if they will become a member of the MCS community.  MCS is not genetic or communicative. MCS is not a disease or sickness. MCS is a condition and it CAN happen to anyone… even YOU.
  • 3. Supporting the health and safety of your fellow human is of the First Order of the Social Responsibility Imperative: “Do unto others as YOU would have THEM do unto YOU.”  It is the right thing to do.  You would appreciate it IF it were you in the sufferers position.

So, please support the MCS movement for products safety in the grocery and supermarket environment TODAY!

Again, the Petition is found and signable HERE >  GoPetition: Supermarket Food Contamination MUST Cease!

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Daily Gasp 12.08.2009

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12.08.2009 – My visit to Doc Bridge went well.  He was kind enough to let me have the 1st slot of the day. That way the amount of petrochem-fragrance-propellant-colloid-emollient-binder reaction I have will only be enough to sideline me for a week. That in place of a month.  Kind of him.

This was the first time in a month that I’d actually been ‘inside’ a foreign-air enclosure.  To say I was a bit nervous is an understatement.  People who don’t suffer from this condition dont’ get it.  There are two (2) levels of discomfort with MCS:

  • 1) anticipation (psychological response)  – not the good kind either.  You know you’re going to hurt, but if it’s unavoidable, your try to minimize, but you do it anyway.\
  • 2) physiological response – you come into contact with chemicals that make you sick; whether you ingest it or it is absorbed through your skin; it makes you sick. And you know it’s going to do so.

Going out into the FragZone is scary. 

The checkup when pretty much… normal.  I told the same ‘story’ again for the umpteenth time and got the same response.  “You’re in good health, except for this little unexplained element.”  OK. Wow! I am now informed.  “. \

I don’t actually blame Doc Bridge, he’s truly a good doctor; a caring and compassionate person.  But, this is the same reaction or address I get from every person whom I’ve met in medicine. It’s how they handle being confronted with conditions for which they have: no-to-little training, is out of their field, or field-of-view, not in the AMA playbook.  MCS is a major player in this ‘it’s a weird and unknown, probably all in your head, anyway, condition arena’. 

There definitely needs to be more eduction.  Please!  Remove the barriers!  Eveyone needs it.

NEW ISSUE: Maybe ?
Over the past couple of weeks (since just before Thanksgiving 2009) I’ve been noticing aches and pains, uncommon even for me.  After on extensive online research and analysis – it ‘appeared’ these new manifestations could indicate the potential for late-stage Lyme infection. 

So I asked Doc Bridge to please test for this  condition.

The Lyme tests were run.  Now I wait.

UPDATE: Lyme Tests were NEGATIVE.  No presence of Lyme infection; now or ever.  Good.  I don’t have that malady to deal with.  Bad, in that now I have to look for another source (other than MCS) for the cause of my current condition.

The search for a return to ‘normal’ continues…

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Daily Gasp 11.30.09

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At the first flutter – as I opened my eyes – I knew getting out of bed was not going to either fun or easy. Just how difficult I didn’t fully realize, until I found myself on the floor.

That was a first.

Not even after waking up from too much ‘liquid party’ the night before had I so quickly become one with the floor. To say I was surprised is to be an understatement.

Finding I was OK – nothing broken – bruised maybe – but not broken, I thought, “What a way to start a week!” The rest of the week went a bit more stable and I entered December.  But it was not without it’s ups and downs.

The pain in my joints, muscles and ligaments has been relentless – if not punctual.

It seems that I can set my watch by the onset of a series of muscle aches and pains that arrive, on schedule at 2PM EST.  Whether I’ve been dealing with the pain through the morning or not, the 2PM Pain Express rolls into the assigned sections, right on time.  Oh, were it only a bit more like the U.S.railroad system!!

There was a bit of relief available, found in alternation of ibuprofen [1] and acetaminophen [2] in far too much and too large doses.  In an effort to avoid their special brand of problem, I refuse to use them until I just simply cannot function without. The occassional 3-fingers of ‘briarhopper elixer’ [3] brings a bit of relief in the light wave of euphoria that follows.  But not to worry that this will become a habit.  That stuff is on the circuit as my beloved Highlands uisge beatha (water of life) [4]… UP!  I simply cannot afford it.  A situation of which I’m aware to all aspects of ‘cannot afford’.  I just don’t need another albatross[5].

A ‘new twist’ has begun to form in the last couple of days.  A question was posed to me by a collegue, friend and client.  In a conversation with Dan Small [6], I mentioned the recent bout of aches, pains and increased fatigue.  Dan asked if I had considered the possibility that I had Lyme Disease [7].

Actually, yes I had.

On Sunday 19 OCT 2008, my wife and I were in Wisconsin Dells, WI. [8]  We were entertaining our grandchildren for the afternoon. Having fun rolling in the yet green grass, feeding the overly tame ducks bits of bread and giggling with delight, I had a conscious awareness of the ‘deer tick’ potential in an area crawling with deer.  Wisconsin also has a substantial number of Lyme disease cases each year; 8th in the nation. The Wisconsin Dells area is among the highest.

After playing, my wife and I went over the kids with a fine-toothed-comb search to be sure they were ‘tick free’.  They were.  While playing, my grandson, Wyatt, a most addictive little character, who has enough energy – that if only we could store it, humanity would never have an energy problem again! – can be quite rambunctious in play.  When we were going through the ‘tick search’, I noticed that I had an odd scratch on my right calf. I just brushed it off as a ‘scratch from Wyatt’s wrestling’.

The next day the ‘scratch’ now had more the look of a ‘bite’. A small red dot with a faint outer halo look. Yes, I immediately recognized the similarity to signs of Lyme. But, I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. Then life took a sudden and abrupt 90 degree change for us.  On Tuesday 21 OCT, my wife took a phone call from her mother informing us that her father, a 15 year stroke victim, had fallen on Sunday and had broken his hip.  Dad was 84.  Immediately he fell into the stats column of less than 10% chance for survival; regardless of the success of any repair of the hip.

Though we chose to not head to my wife’s home town of Lexington, KY, to be with mom and dad, to help – all of our attention quickly became focused on dad.  The ‘bite’ was just lost in the shuffle.

Mom was worn out. Her weakened condition, being the sole caregiver for Dad, precluded her from being able to be his interpreter and to stay with him while he recuperated in the hospital. My wife couldn’t do it. She could not do the ‘late nights’ and she wasn’t all that good at ‘stroke-charades’ .  So, it was let up to me. I was well trained and adapted to do both the ‘night line’ and dad and were a first-rate team at ‘stroke-charades’. It was up to me to fill that gap.

I did. That tour-of-duty lasted  for 20 days; with only one night’s return to the house to sleep in a regular bed.  It took its toll.  I broke out in a nasty red rash, not all that unfamiliar to me.  I was constantly tired. And I hurt in every possible place.  Hospital seats will kill you!  Finally, I had to raise the flag of surrender.

We went home on Saturday, 08 OCT.  I was going to ‘rest up’ and be back, ‘on duty’ again Tuesday.  Best laid plans of mice and men .. often just get trashed.  Sunday morning I woke to a condition not unlike those who frequent ‘Night of the Living Dead’ story lines.  Zombie or not I had to get better and get back to helping dad. Monday wasn’t much better, but I was able to function.  Tuesday, I awoke to the total immobility of being … well the same as paralyzed.  I could not walk.  I couldn’t move!

This was not good.

But, despite feeling a bit of paranoia creeping in, I told my wife I’d give it some time – it might just be a momentary condition. I convinced myself it would be gone by afternoon.  Well, it was more like midnight, but it did leave.  Tingling through the night, at least on Wednesday morning I was mobile.

I had a haircut appointment that afternoon.  I had to get my mane whacked off: over 2 months since my last coif left me both overheated (extremely thick hair!) and feeling, well, nasty … I don’t like long hair, on me.

By 2:30PM I was just mobile enough to make it to the shop. When I got back home there was a message on the phone that kicked our ‘whirring blender world’ into puree: Dad had died that afternoon.

We rushed back to Lexington and spent the next 36 days in a house that was always an environmental disaster for me. Consequently, my already ‘bad condition’ took a complete lunge into disaster.  By the time we arrived back into the safe bosom of our condo, I was in a state of near complete shutdown.

The rash that appeared; the fatigue; the headaches; the joint pain .. all of it was written off to the return – again! – of a problem that has plagued me for 10 years. One I have ‘affectionately’ called, “RABS”.  So any other ‘answer’ to the condition were not even considered.  All thought of Lyme was lost.

On the last day of March 2009 we made another mad emergency dash to Lexington: mom was in bad shape. When we got to the house, she was about as near checking out as one can get without having a pre-punched ticket.  Ten day hospital stay, after getting a 6-units-of-blood refill over 2 days, mom came home.  Fourteen days later we leave, with mom, her car and a future of unknown unscripted lines, in tow.  We had just become an elder hostel.

I went though the next 6 months with a wide variety of pain and suffering.  Slowly, and I do mean slowly, I began to recover. The overall skin rash left.  The fatigue left. And the leprotic-like condition [9] that had taken over my right hand and seriously impacted my ability to work: I work with my hands!: it too, slowly left and real, pink healthy skin returned.  By June 2009, I was looking – well – normal!

I had an invitation to go to Michigan to fish the fabled waters around Grayling [10] with my friend and colleague, Dan Small.  I took my best fishing buddy, Ed Hauser with me to make sure I got there.  There actually was a question with all the stuff of the past 6 months.

The cabin we stayed at during our time in Grayling was right next to our guide (Sam Surre) [11]. Ed and I went to Sam’s house to interview him and take photos. As soon as I walked into the house I knew trouble was lurking.  It was during that visit I developed the term – ‘hit’.  A HIT is what I use to describe being overwhelmed with an airborne chemical invasion; my own version of a toxic terrorist attack.

I was told, by another friend -whom, Ed and I were to go spend 5 days with following the fishing trip – had suggested I ask our guide, with a huge blast from the moth balls, [12] a chemical pesticide, [13] used to protect the gentleman’s impressive assortment of natural fly-tying [14] materials.  I knew I should have left within seconds of being there. But, I wanted to see the collection, get photos and do the interview. A very bad move.

Two days later, I had to cut short the 7-day trip to return home.  I was a mess! For the next 6 weeks I once again had to deal with a lot of pain. Though I finally began to improve, I was now finding a new ‘problem’ rising. That PROBLEM: a sudden and painful conflict with being around any type of fragrance and chemical odors. I found myself embroiled in a constant dance to avoid being around such things as fragrance from perfumes, colognes, shampoos, sprays, lotions .. you name it. Everything that fuels the ‘look good and feel god about yourself industry’ in our modern society.  For those who have never experienced this, it’s difficult to understand.  There is a huge barrier to ‘normal living’; being able to be around other people with a no worry about what you would be breathing.  With an onset of MCS, this all stops; immediately.

Since this all started I’ve read and studied everything I could get on the condition called MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) [15]. Everything I have been experiencing over the last 7.5 months points to MCS.  Thus I don’t deny that I am suffering from MCS.  My question NOW is this;  WHY?

Thus I am heading to my GP Doc, Thomas Bridge [16] to get a full physical and to discuss testing for Lyme disease.  That will be the subject of future posts.

So, with that I close out this Daily Gasp.  Also, I’ve noted that the ‘Gasp’ has been less than ‘daily’ in their frequency. Though, in the near future, they will become far more frequent, for now they will be posted on an as needed and as time allows, publication.

Talk soon. Stay clean and FRAG FREE.


[1] ibuprofen
[2] acetaminophen
[3] ‘briarhopper elixer’
[4] uisge beatha
[5] albatross
[6] Dan Small
[7] Lyme disease
[8] Wisconsin Dells
[9] leprotic-like condition
[10] Grayling, MI
[11] Sam Surre
[12] moth balls
[13] chemical pesticide
[14] fly-tying
[15] MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity)
[16] Dr. Thomas Bridge


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