Tag Archives: insecticides

Not A Flare, But Chemical Poisoning

I had to go to the ER last week.

For the record, I despise having to go to the hospital. I hate when my symptoms get to the point where they are so out of control, I can no longer cope. I hate fearing I will be judged by the staff when they see my chart, I hate those uncomfortable beds, I hate worrying Scotty.

But I had to go.

Thursday afternoon I took my dog out for a walk and saw a notice had been posted to our door. The property managers were going to be coming Friday to spray for the ants we asked them to deal with back in April. Fantastic. I called our onsite lady to see if we could reschedule as I had a lab appointment and hadn’t had time to make arrangements. She informed me that they had already sprayed outside that afternoon, and no we couldn’t reschedule.

At the time I didn’t think much about it. I had dinner and tried to figure out how to rearrange my Friday as I enjoyed the cool breeze coming in through my front window. After dinner, I went to walk my dog again. I thought it smelled funny outside our door, but didn’t pay it much mind. Halfway through our walk, I started feeling dizzy and lightheaded. My chest constricted and I gasped for breath. My little wonder dog looked up at me and took off for home, getting me back just in time to collapse on my couch. I cursed what I thought was a flare coming, and tried to take it easy. When I started feeling queasy, I knew I needed to check in with my doctor.

I called our answering service, and the on call doctor called me right back. We talked about my symptoms and thought maybe I was coming down with the flu and it had triggered a flare. We agreed I would check in with the nurse the next morning when I went in for labs. As we hung up, she urged me to go to the ER if anything got worse. We didn’t want to risk pleurisy or pneumonia if my breathing got too labored for too long.

Scotty came home from band practice and we talked about how I was feeling. Since I wasn’t feeling any better, we called it an early night and off to bed I went. I awoke around 2:oo am sick to my stomach, gasping for breath, and with a metallic taste in my mouth. I tried drinking some Gatorade, but it tasted terrible. After much trepidation, I woke up Scotty and told him something was wrong.

While we don’t normally turn to Dr. Google, he did look up the metallic taste thing, as it was something I’ve never experienced before. One of the first items listed was chemical poisoning.

And then it all clicked.

The only thing I had been exposed to that day, was whatever they had sprayed outside our apartment. We followed what Dr. Google suggested and called Poison Control. Who promptly ordered us off to the hospital.

Fortunately, my exposure was minimal and the damage was minimal. I’m slowly feeling better each day (though now I think I’m getting a cold, drat!), and there were no sores in my mouth or throat from inhaling the fumes. We got orders from the doctor to definitely NOT let them to spray inside the apartment, and so any further exposure was averted.

I’m telling you all about this because it was something that completely caught us unawares. Neither Scotty or our dog were affected. None of the neighbors had any issues. A few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have had any response beyond wrinkling my nose at the smell.

We spoonies are often warned about germs and viruses and all the ways we can lower our exposure to ensure our compromised immune systems have the best chance. In the last three years of walking this path, not once has anyone warned me that I may be more sensitive to things like insecticides or cleaners. I had no idea that it was something I needed to watch out for.

Now I know. And hopefully you do, too.