Monday, January 01, 2007

2 Comments:

Blogger ty said...

your first house! well, congrats on that, and on finally being healthy. how scary to think that mold could do all that damage...

1/03/2007 02:13:00 AM  
Blogger Chicken Mama and Chainsaw Tommy said...

Hey, you two! I'm super sorry that you've been dealing with all this illness, but at least you finally know WHY! And, even tho you came by it in a terribly unfortunate, bass-ackwards way, I'm THRILLED that you'll be in a HOUSE! That will make your time (heck, just life on a daily basis) SO much more enjoyable. And, a garden? Wahooooo! Should we start sending you seeds? ;)

1/04/2007 08:35:00 PM  

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sick building syndrome

you may recall my dismay at our chronic sickness over the last month and half and my corresponding excitement when i felt we were finally on our road to recovery after a successful visit to the international hospital kampala. sorry to disappoint, but it wasn’t as smooth of a road to recovery as i had anticipated. we visited the IHK twice, which included blood tests and chest x-rays. both times we walked away with antibiotics and penicillins and the assurance/confidence that we would be healthy soon. it wasn’t until about a week after we started the second round of drugs and the sickness was status quo that we started to suspect something fishy.

around the time phil got home from the states in early november, i had issues with flooding in our apartment. turns out that the water pipes broke in the vacant upstairs apartment. being empty, no one noticed the overflowing water until it started running from our ceiling. this happened twice because the solution to the first flooding was to turn off my water. (gotta love the short-term, stop-gap solution.) that lasted oh about a week before i ran out of water, complained, had my water turned back on, and within 24 hours the apartment was flooded again. lucky for phil this happened the day he arrived from the u.s.

we mopped up the floors, the maintenance staff finally fixed the water (turns out the water pipes were mislabeled), and didn’t think too much about it all except that it was another “adventure” to add to our african experience. then a week later, we found mold in phil’s closet. we bleached it and didn’t think too much about it. then we found mold all over the house on our houseplants, baskets, cupboards. we bleached it and didn’t think too much about it. then we were sick for 6+ weeks and didn’t get better. that’s when we thought about it.

i made the big mistake of researching mold on the internet. diagnosing your disease on the internet is always a bad idea – invariably you connect your symptoms to some combination of leukemia, black lung, or brain tumors. within 30 minutes i was in full-onset panic mode as i had diagnosed us with fungal exposure to mold or mycotoxicosis (systemic mold infection). some signs of mycotoxicosis are…
-respiratory distress, coughing, sneezing, sinusitis
-asthmatic signs: wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing
-headaches
-chronic fatigue
-rash or hives
sound familiar? yep, we've been in this symptomatic loop since early november. of course, the list of possible mycotoxicosis symptoms is much more exhaustive and people suffering from mycotoxicosis usually show at least 8 of the symptoms, including very commonly lose of balance. we didn’t meet the 8-symptom threshold nor did we lose our balance, so no full-blown mycotoxicosis for us. not wanting to get to the full-blown stage, though, the night i had my internet-induced mycotoxicosis panic attack we moved into our neighbor’s house and the following day we met with a real estate agent to begin our new house hunt. i wasn’t going to waste any more time not being healthy. i don’t care if i overreacted, i was getting us out of here. (in my overreactive defense, since sleeping outside our apartment both of us have stopped coughing til choking and have cleared up breathing and sinuses.)

it’s now been just over a week since our sick building syndrome saga began. we have a house lined up and are hoping to move in before i head back to the states next week for a quick business trip. our exposure to the mold was relatively short (2 months compared to years for some people unaware of the mold in their homes), so no long-term health worries. the house is an upgrade from an already super nice apartment. the biggest upgrade is that for the first time we’ll be living in a house…with a garden, patio, garage, view…it’s going to be great. added bonus: we have an extra bedroom for all our visitors. double bonus: no mold.

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