So, I have the Beach House, which is my new rental property, and, the House of Mouldy Horrors, where all my stuff still is. Here’s the freaky thing: when I went back to The House of Mouldy Horrors, I couldn’t believe the smell: a strong chemical-bleach-like overpowering, chocking, noxious odour hit me when I walked in. It was so strong; I could taste it.
Within half an hour, all my symptoms hit me in a rush: symptoms I’ve had to live with, progressively worsening over the last two years (dating back beyond February 2013), these flooded throughout my body, rising up until my eyes, nose, throat were dry and caked up, my eyes stinging like vinegar were in them (it’s the dryness), my nostrils, stinging to breathe through, my scalp and skin crawling with its itchy rash, and finally my ears felt aeroplane-blocked and itchy. And the emotional reaction? I can’t describe it—yet. And still, I can’t believe the smell that’s embedded in some of my clothing and possessions that I’ve bought from there. (Especially after being washed, and while wet. They stink: these things I’ll give away to charity.) I don’t have a lot here with me. I’ve had to borrow money and buy new bedding (first my hammock, then my mattress (Yes, another one! Which I’ll blog about soon.)), new pyjamas, and all metal shelving, cane furniture, and a beautiful glass desk where I can write:
Yes, I don’t have a lot—just the beginning of my health coming back; but after what I’ve been through, it is everything.
I can breathe through my nose, and it doesn’t hurt; the bruising around my eyes is gone (I was once told that this bruising is called an ‘allergic shiner’, you know, like a black eye; yet, this one is caused by allergies (or, rather, allergy-like symptoms). I can feel my nervous system calming down; generally, smells are not as strong anymore, meaning, on a neurological level, my nervous system is calming down also. Even my digestive system has settled (this is due to an elimination diet, though).
There are chemicals here that are a problem: I’m on a main-ish road that trucks use to get into town: diesel is a huge problem for me, but it’s something that I can work around by avoiding it. If I get up at six am, I can open up the house until 9 am, then, if the wind direction is right, I can leave just the back of the house open for most of the day. So there I am, outside, early in the mornings, tending to my bonsais, watching my dog sun herself, and pottering about in the yard. Because I can’t expose myself to mould, I can’t dig, or muck up the way I’d really love to while out in the garden. It seems that it was eons ago when I was making compost and no-dig garden beds on an organic farm. Yet, it was only three years ago. Why was my body not effected by Apergillus or Cladosporium mould spores then? Especially, seeing that for five years previously, since this ‘challenge’ hit me, it was chronically effected by mould? I don’t know the answer to that; apart from it could be crammed somewhere in among the theories that either my body detoxified itself, or my immune system healed itself or, this new theory I have: maybe I had managed to avoid the ‘triggers’ that caused my system to react and reject nearly every chemical I came in contact with, therefore, my body healed? I’ve blogged before about how fragrances and spray deodorants still effected me, but not the mould elements of that recovery–so therein lies the hope that one day, not too far into the future, I will be outside in my wellingtons, breathing in the beautiful scent of my collection of flowers, brushing my hair away from face while accidentally wiping mud across my forehead. And with that, I will be happy!
I love gardening and plants. Here are some shots from where I am:
I can’t wait until this one blooms. At the moment I’m not good with natural scents, but I guess that little fact makes a fantastic measuring stick to be used to show the progress of my recovery. (So does being able to cook in the house, and many other things that aggregate my sinuses at the moment: cooking broccoli, someone else eating canned fish, canned dog food: normal everyday things that I have placed a ban on around here. Then there are the chemicals, which cause the inflammation of my sinuses… )
These two dragons are so Game of Thrones, yes? (Gladly, from a writerly perspective, I have no television here, yet here I am, still obsessed with the series: Game of Thrones!) Here they are guarding a topiary tree, which is related to the fig family. And, below that is one of my favourite bonsais (they are all my favourite, really); this one is special because I bought it as a gift last year for finishing the first semester of Myths and Symbols at Victoria University. It was terribly hard to do, and I was awfully sick, so I had to get myself something for sticking it out (I did not make it through my second semester (at school; I did it at home), and, a whole forest of bonsais couldn’t have got me through it!):
And this is the massive tree in my front yard that I have fallen in love with. The birdlife in the mornings is worth getting up for. Selfishly, I’ve provided them with some drinking and bathing water, hoping that the parrots and galahs will come down for visit:
At the House of Mouldy Horrors, sadly, through the windows, I watched my garden, and many of my bonsais die around me. I couldn’t go outside at all; and if not for my wonderful daughter, I wouldn’t have any plants left to marvel over at this beautiful Beach House. Such is the strength, compassion, and tenacity of our unsung heroes.