Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The cable guy

So I guess it’s been a while since I posted here. I’m bored with Sherri Blossoms, and my new creativity blog You Are the Muse hasn’t turned out like I’d hoped. So since I’m fragrancely frustrated at the moment, I thought I’d try venting here and see where it takes me.

What has me frustrated today is my new cable guy. I was disappointed to see a new guy, because my old guy, Stacy, was really handsome and nice and always wore the best cologne. And while that seems an odd thing to hear from a person as affected by fragrance as I am, just remember I don’t mind smelling the stuff, I just mind what it does to me. If a service person is going to bring a scent into my home (and they always do), it might as well be something I enjoy smelling. It softens the blow of the crappy after-feeling.

So the new guy, Mike, is also handsome but with the personality of a toad stool. All business. And, of course, the worst thing by far is he has that acrid smell of laundry detergent. I know it’s not the detergent itself, because I use free & clear detergent and it doesn’t have that smell. It’s a fragrance they add, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why, as it stinks. I think it’s the under-smell of cheap fragrance in general, because I’ve smelled it other places, too. I think people get used to smelling it so it becomes background noise, but it’s so obviously horrid when you don’t have it around every day.

Anyway, it sucks. I have all the windows open with a stiff wind blowing through, and still the acrid scent lingers. At least he didn’t sit on any of my furniture. And I must say, he got the job done and my cable is working perfectly. Too bad I won’t be able to watch it for the migraine I’ll undoubtedly get later.

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Fragrance ingredients to be disclosed

A reader brought this article to my attention: http://www.icis.com/blogs/green-chemicals/2009/08/ It says that the International Fragrance Association plans to begin voluntarily disclosing the ingredients used in the industry. Since it’s voluntary, I doubt they’ll disclose anything that may harm their bottom line, but we’ll see.

On a personal note, my recovery time is way shorter after exposure, especially since I figured out the best thing to do is rest, no matter what. I think with rest and continued avoidance, I may heal enough to re-enter society within the next year. Realistically, I know I’ll probably have symptoms for a long while, if not the rest of my life. But I hope if I listen to my body and give her the support she needs to heal, it will eventually be a problem I used to have.

ORFE #3

Odd Random Fragrance Encounter #3:

The pneumatic tube at the bank drive-through gusted “freshened” indoor air right in my face. Twice. Also, handling the cannister and receipt left smell on my hands that I haven’t been able to get off.

–Me

Odd Random Fragrance Encounter #1

ORFE #1 On my styrofoam drink cup at Sonic Drive-thru. Might have been perfume or cleaner or air freshener. Hard to tell.

How about you? Have you detected fragrance in an unexpected place? Leave your ORFE in the comments, or email it to me at sherri AT sherricornelius DOT com. I’ll put it in a future post.

Also, Oklahoma bloggers, don’t forget to vote in the Okie Blog Awards. Poison Scents has been nominated in the Best Unusual Blog category.

Emerging from The Time of the Migraine

I have officially emerged from The Time of the Migraine. I say “officially” because it’s been a whole week since the constant threat lifted, and though I’ve had setbacks over this week, they were temporary and quite manageable.

I guess the extra stinkiness of the holiday season had me worn down to the point that I couldn’t heal up. I finally took to wearing a painter’s mask–you know, the kind that blocks paint fumes, fabric with a little yellow respirator on the front–to the store and when the kids got home from school, because the slightest whiff of any scent whatsoever caused immediate pain in my sinuses and eyes. The Time of the Migraine lasted two whole months, in which my husband had to do way more housework than he cared to,I  scarred my step-daughter for life when her visit left me clutching my head for three days, and I looked like a total Froot Loop having to wear that mask in public.

I will wear it whenever I need to, despite my lower hotness-factor, because the thing really worked. It blocked all scents, even vinegar (which I don’t have a problem with, but it shows the merits of the mask) and by wearing it in smelly places I was able to stave off the migraine for longer periods. I highly recommend getting one of these masks. I found mine in the paint section of Wal-Mart for five bucks, but I’m sure they carry them anyplace they sell paint.

My sinuses have given me trouble for years, and they are the root of my migraines. I’m pretty sure my sensitivity to fragrance arose gradually from the chronic sinus problem rather than the other way around, though I can’t be sure. I have thyroid issues, as well, so it’s hard to know where hormonal misery ends and sinus misery begins. But I finally have a doctor who listens and a course of treatment that may clear it up. My ultimate dream is for my sinuses to work perfectly, to be able to smell any damn thing I want to, and to never have a migraine again.

Reader question: How do I handle a co-worker’s perfume?

Lori told her story in the comments. She writes:

It happens the moment the receptionist walks in –it feels like I have been hit and the nausea and blurred vision starts I feel weak.. Shortly after I feel like vomiting and end up with a headache/migraine tighten up the smell is so overpowering and then have to sit here for 8 hours at work –What can one do ??

And my reply:

Wow, Lori, that sounds so much like what I go through. I say you have no choice but to ask her nicely to stop wearing perfume. Luckily, I don’t work around other people, but I have had to ask the teachers at my kids’ schools not to let them use the scented soap. I felt like a jerk asking, but they were very kind about it, even if they were also a bit confused.

You can tell the receptionist that you feel bad having to ask her, but perfume gives you a migraine. Make sure she knows it’s ALL perfume, so she won’t be defensive. And then if she complies and it works out, give her a little gift of appreciation. And if she refuses, talk to your boss about it. Refer him to this website, if you like, or one of the sites I link to. You could also print out some of the information to hand them to read at their leisure.

It’s your health and livelihood at stake here. Yeah, the way someone smells is a very personal thing, and asking them to change that is a huge imposition, but gosh, would YOU want to make someone feel the way her perfume makes you feel? It’s only perfume. It’s not like you’re asking her to get a buzz cut or wear uncomfortable shoes.

And you never know…She may be feeling bad and not know why. Other people in your office could have the same problem as you, but be too afraid to say anything. Put some feelers out there. You never know until you ask!

Next post will be another reader question. Send your questions to sherri@sherricornelius.com, or leave them in the comment section.

More resources for MCS

My fellow fragrance sufferer, Mason, left a comment on the previous post with some resources that he found helpful, so I’m pulling the comment up here into a post. It would be a shame if someone overlooked some vital info that was buried in the comments. (Hope you don’t mind, Mason!)

Mason said:

I have found several sources of information. I’ve been finding similar themes in what I am experiencing and what other people call multiple chemical sensitivity or environmental illness.

So I started looking for groups focused on those things and I came up with lots of good results.

planetthrive.com
communityzero.com/mcsurvivors
And several groups on yahoo.com

All of these websites contain lots of valuable information. I would encourage you to read through some of these pages. From what I can tell, my experiences are not nearly as bad as others, and they have some good advice based on experience. For example, I was recommended Alka Seltzer Gold, and so far it seems to relieve some of these symptoms.

Also,

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html

That will explain some things about toxic off gassing.

It is a rollercoaster of a ride. Just take it easy, and enjoy the moments of relief when they do come.

I agree, there’s an obvious correlation between my fragrance sensitivity and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. In fact, I have a couple of links over there in the sidebar that leads to even more resources.

Thanks, Mason!