What Can be Saved From Black Mold?

   If you are reading this then you are going through a terrible nightmare and I am sorry. I know all about this terrible thing. My husband and I found out there was black mold in a rental we were in and we too had to figure out what could be saved and what couldn’t.

   Let’s first go over what black mold is. According to hgtv.com the simplest way to explain it:

Black-Mold

   “Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, as it’s known to scientists, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials in common household materials like drywall, carpet, insulation or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture. These spores, if ingested or inhaled, can cause a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms in humans. “

   Either way you look at it, black mold is nothing you really want to mess with. It also can be dangerous to your health causing upper respiratory infections, making asthma worse, constant colds and flus, and to the point of sepsis shock. How do I know? Because my husband almost died from his exposure and I was hospitalized with pneumonia. We got to the point that we were classified as having mold poisoning which is the highest level of exposure you can have.

   If you are having physical symptoms of mold poisoning, make sure you get the proper medical help you need and find a safe way to detox the mold out of your system preferably under a professional’s supervision. And don’t expect to be healed from it right away either. It took awhile to have it build up in your system and it will take some time to get it out.

   But now back to what can be saved. The biggest thing about getting out of a mold situation is to not get back in it which means dealing with your stuff. From our experience what could be saved was anything metal, hard plastic, hard porcelain, and glass. Which means:

  • Dishes
  • Pans
  • Pots
  • Some utensils
  • Silver ware
  • Fine China

   Why the short list? Because black mold is LOVES porous things like:

  • Wood
  • Rubber
  • Things with motors
  • Soft Plastics
  • Cloth
  • Polyester like in pillows and comforters
  • Pleather
  • Leather
  • Microfiber
  • Micro Suede
  • Suede
  • Paper
  • Carpet
  • Hardwood
  • Lament

   So  how many things do you have like this in your house? Pretty much everything is the answer. Now, my husband and I tried to save our clothes but we ended up having to throw them away too since it just wouldn’t wash out. So I am sorry to say that pretty everything but that list I mentioned above. We lost everything in the long run and suffered through heartache after heartache as we toiled to save our items and they just ended up in the trash can.

   What do I suggest? Follow my list and trash the rest. It is not worth keeping things that will just contaminate the new place you live in because it will. The item will keep emitting spores and will fill your home with spores until they find a new source to start growing again. Can you see the problem? If you keep something from the mold house then you can just have the problem keep following you.

   I know it will be hard and it flat out sucks because you will have to throw out your whole life and start over. We don’t have anything from when we were first married, we don’t even anything from when our daughter was a baby, and we lost our entire library of books just to name a few heartache things that were lost. Every mom wonders if their daughter will wear their wedding dress, but I will never know I don’t have mine any more. It is going to be painful to go through this, but know that you have someone on your side who understands the pain and frustration you are going through.

Unless someone has gone through this kind of situation, they will never understand how you feel and many will think you are over reacting. I assure you that you are not. It is for the best for your family now instead of this happening again in the future.

If you think you need help processing, finding a counselor isn’t a bad idea. It took my husband and I a year after we were away from the situation to finally admit that going for some help to process the whole thing would be good. We tried it on our own as a strong couple and we needed some extra help. Asking for help isn’t a bad thing, and, when it comes to replacing your stuff, you will need to ask for some. You will never know how much you really have until you lose it all.

But I would check with your insurance company. They might be able to help but ours didn’t. With a rental situation, it’s hard to pin point who was the renter that caused it and the insurance company said that it was preexisting so they wouldn’t do anything. Also check with your health department and see if you are lucky enough to live in an area with rights for renters (if you are renting) when it comes to black mold. I live in California and they have no such laws. So our landlord had no obligation to help us and we couldn’t find an attorney who would take the case.

All and all the situation stinks and all you can do is rely on family and friends to help you out. My husband’s work was amazingly generous with donations to replace what we had lost and I pray you are just as blessed. One thing is for sure. You will learn who your real friends are in a situation like this.

   So as we finish up, I am sorry I don’t have much better news, but it is the truth. If you want to be rid of the mold in the future only keep things that are metal, glass, hard plastic, and hard porcelain.

Fighting My Foes

I am so happy – I get to be discarded from the hospital after a wonderful 4 day stay! I am so ready to go home and be in my own bed. This whole fight round with my asthma and pneumonia have been tough. I would rather give birth to my daughter again any day of the week and that was a long, hard 25 hours. But at least I got a prize in the end. This time I just get to  take home an oxygen tank.

I can’t remember being knocked down this hard. I’ve dealt with disastrous duo since I was 9 years old but it seemed like they weren’t so big back then since this my first being hospitalized for it since my initial diagnosis 15 years ago. Then, like a sleeping two headed dragon, my symptoms went dormant for about 8 years and that’s when I thought I had beat them. I had been doing my meds and lifestyle requirements to stay controlled but I guess they just went into their own type of training. As my lungs got stronger, they knew they had to get stronger, but, seeing that I was still in control and keeping my fitness up, there would have to be something really big to bring me down.

And boy did they find it! I have a pretty consistent trigger and had my doctor write a note instructing it to be tested and, if confirmed, taken care of. It is my greatest weakness. It was the catalyst that made me so sick to begin with and 99% of the time the reason for an asthma attack. My foes found their weapon and they used it. With the slightest of ease they took me down and now I lay here “bleeding” unable to fight back on my own. I have never felt so helpless.

I have been humbled to the point that I have had to wear women’s depends because coughing incontinence has joined the party, my O2 levels won’t stay elevated so I have to put on oxygen at the hospital and at home, I can’t walk to the bathroom and back without losing my breath, and I’m so fatigued I couldn’t do basic math even if I wanted to. My foes got me but that’s it. They have ravished my body and left me weak but that’s it. What they haven’t taken away is my fight and inner strength.

My Jesus has been here with me the whole time and He is giving me the strength to fight back against my foes and fight to keep them locked away. I have sword in my hand and have my war call ready. My foes better watch out. If there is one thing about me is that I will fight until the end. I will never give up and I will never surrender. But right now, it’s time for a nap.

file0001967383262
This is how I want to think I look fighting this battle.
IMG_20160425_105418008
This is how I really look. Not so fierce huh?

Do you have a foe you are fighting? It may not be like mine and could be worse than mine. The thing is that we all need support. Feel free to comment below and let us fight together.

Breathing is Optional… Right?

It is allergy season here in Nor Cal and that means danger for me. I have allergy induced asthma so, for me, I dread the sniffles of allergies. I end up having an asthma attack twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall), and last night was my spring attack. I tried to keep it at bay with all my home care but nothing was working so, finally at 9:30pm, I went to the ER to get a breathing treatment.

The ER was packed! I have never seen an ER so packed. I thought that telling them that I was having an asthma attack and was having trouble breathing they would have taken me back somewhat soon. Nope, 1 hour in the main waiting room, 10 minutes to be triaged, and then 20 minutes to be seen by a doctor who told me that it would be a 3 hour wait for room. I was shocked! Here is someone with breathing issues and you tell them there is a 3 hour wait when they have already been there an 1.5 hours! I thought that was crazy. He then told me my other option was to take 8 puffs within the next hour of my inhaler and he would order a steroid. All well and good if my rescue inhaler had been working. If it had, I wouldn’t be in the ER!

So I tried calling family to see if anyone was able to take my daughter the next day if I waited to actually get a breathing treatment and no one was available. So I had to make the choice to leave and try again at home or have about 3 hours sleep by the time I got a room, the breathing treatment and discharged. I took the 8 puffs (which I was never told I could. It even says on the box to only take 2 puffs every 4 hours) and waited.

For anyone who has asthma, you understand the frustration I felt. When you are having an asthma attack, it feel like the air is being sucked out of you. You can’t take a deep breath, you get light headed, dizzy, you can’t talk (or at least the volume in my voice almost disappears), your blood pressure spikes, your heart rate spikes, you can’t think straight and, if it gets bad enough, you start to lose your ability to even answer simple questions like “what’s your name?”

Here I am asking for help because the stuff I was doing at home wasn’t helping and they turn around and say “sorry but you really aren’t that important”. I hate hospitals and I do everything I can to avoid going to one so if I actually walk through the door it means I actually need help. Unfortunately, if you don’t have asthma, you can’t relate to how serious it can be. My attack I had last fall got so bad that, by the time I got to the doctor, I had 40% lung capacity. I didn’t want that to happen again so I went before it got there. I guess I should have waited and come in on an oxygen tank :/

So I waited to see if the puffs would work. Praise the Lord! I was feeling my ability to think return and my headache diminish a little. I would actually talk and my breathing did get better. It wasn’t like it would be if I was able to get a breathing treatment was it was way better than when I walked through the door. The doctor was happy too since I believe that he wanted to give me the treatment but they can only perform them in a room and there wasn’t one in the whole ER available. Of course I just thought in the back of my head “all I need is the nebulizer and an outlet. I’ll do it in the bathroom if I have to” but rules are rules. He discharged me and I went and got my meds from the pharmacy before going home.

I still didn’t get home until 1:00am but it was better than 3:00am or 4:00am. I took my steroid and prayed I would be able to still breathe in the morning. Thankfully I was and attack had lessened. The steroid had begun to kick in and I took 4 more puffs as soon as I woke up. Now I am just tired. When you go hours without proper oxygen levels it feels like you have just run a marathon. I just pray that the steroid keeps working and the inflammation goes down quickly. I don’t like being stuck in bed and my two year old thinks it’s really not a lot of fun either. I am busy mommy who wants to have fun. And I have my favorite gym class tomorrow morning. Can’t miss Pilates! 🙂