4 Disability Assistive Devices I need to Survive

My top 4 Assistive Devices for Mould Illness (CIRS) and Medical Conditions with Chemical Sensitivity as a Symptom!

(Note this page has a formatting issue that has removed my paragraph breaks so it’s in the naughty chair until I can fix it! This always happens when I embed Instagram posts. If you have a solution or know why this happens please leave a comment below or call me.)

Anybody who thinks that people who have medical conditions where their health is impacted on via chemical-irritants are living in the wrong era have it mixed up: living with modern technology makes our lives easier. The mythology that exists that we just can’t cope with the modern world and chemicals—which lets face it are everywhere and in everything—is exactly that: a myth. H20 is a chemical. We need chemicals, we need electricity for our assertive devices and we need devices that can make life living with a chronic illness, disease or other medical condition a whole lot easier. If someone has environmental illness it doesn’t mean they belong in the 1900s’ with all natural pure stuff, in a hut living a paleo lifestyle. No, it means that we need chemical-based extensibly helpful assistive devices like Air Purifiers, Face masks, Oxygen masks and tanks and, my personal favourite: a dehumidifier! Here is a listicle of my top 4!:

My Oxygen Tanks from BOC Gases

These make such a difference to my life that I cannot imagine living without them—until I get better and don’t need them, that is. I use 1 large tank and 1 medium size tank approximately every ten days. At the moment my carer pays for them, but will be applying for Government assistance soon. The biggest difference they make are when it’s smokey outside yet the smoke makes it’s way inside and into my lungs. For the last 14 years I’ve suffered upper respiratory symptoms from inhalation of woodsmoke coming from neighbours’ chimneys. Luckily for me, I live in a holiday area so it’s only terribly bad on the weekends when the terrorists holiday makers come up.

They’re also useful for when someone nearby runs diesel trucks, mows the lawn using old lawnmowers that spew out two-stroke fuel, or run their boat motors after a day of fishing while they clean it; petrochemicals knock me out for the rest of the day at the moment.

The oxygen therapy was prescribed by my doctor to be used 2 times a day for 20 minutes and also for 20 minutes after an exposure to chemical-irritants and natural substances that cause pain, long-lasting symptoms and further sensitisation—as is the case with mould exposure. Actually, I’ve been using oxygen whenever I write and also while on the phone and sometimes even while making a video because the oxygen allows my brain to work as normal. The last 6 months have seen a huge decline in cognitive skills, short-term memory and emotional regulation in times of chemical exposure. Stress just makes it ten-fold, and the anticipation of all of these can cause anxiety, which I’ve not experienced before at such a high level. 

Oxygen therapy has helped this CIRS symptom the most: It’s like feeling completely lost in an unfamiliar place even though you know you are somewhere where you’ve been a 1000 times before. If this place is on a freeway, it’s terribly frightening.

  xxxI can empathise greatly with those who suffer Alzheimers with dementia symptoms, which, over a 6 week period, is what I thought was happening to me before I saw Dr Mark Donohoe and had the Neuroquant MRI, which allowed the diagnosis of CIRS (Mould Illness) to come about so quickly. Hence being put on oxygen. (It’s also useful for doing yoga deep breathing exercises.

On some days, I can get through a 40-45 minute session of yoga with Banana Blondie 108 She has some wonderful chest opening exercises in her ‘Heart Chakra’ Yoga series. And for $10 US a month, it’s great value. You can find these classes at Thriving Plant Based There is free yoga available also. I have a post coming up on the value of the Chakra series with my lovely, gifted virtual yoga teacher!)


My AusClimate Dehumidifier

I’ve blogged before about my AusClimate dehumidifier in the post titled, This One Sure Thing: My AusClimate Dehumidifier, however, even more so than my next device, an air-filter/purifier, due to the breathing issues I have with indoor and outdoor moulds, keeping the relative humidity low is a must for comfortable breathing. There is no point having oxygen to plug into my airways if the air is full of outdoor moulds; or moulds from the water damaged ceiling in the room sealed off from my main living area. When I moved in I was told by my real estate rentals manager that the ceiling had been fixed as it was something I was concerned about when I saw the tell tale water stains on the ceiling. I believed my estate agent, and I still do.

However, a year or so after moving in it began leaking after a terrible storm. The owners of the property and the estate agent sent out someone to replace the roof; but even before that happened I was on the forum of AESSRA asking about dehumidifiers. I didn’t like what I heard so I looked on the internet under the keywords ‘mould’, ‘dehumidifiers’ and ‘mould remediation’; and that was how I came to find AusClimate. Not only was I given excellent advice on how to use my machine, like:

  • running it for 3 whole days to remove all the water from the indoor environment;
  • keep the dust mite count down (the perfect food for mould!) by vacuuming regularly; and using micro cloths to pick up dust without spreading it;
  • advice on how to keep my home mould free (so long as the water leaks had been fixed—and, with the new roof the owners of the rental put over my head, they were, for the time being, until now with this new 3rd leak. Stain over stain on the old chipboard/particle board ceiling.
  • this machine has saved my lungs a huge amount of pain because not only has the roof leaked again (which I will be blogging about in another post where I compare the AusClimate dehumidifier to the Delonghi Dehumidifier, which I have running 24/7 in the water damaged room: it’s that inefficient. And my ERMI results.) but I’ve had to put up with even more damp air
  • at least I have my AusClimate 35 litre machine to keep my living space dry, therefore, hopefully, no mould can grow on my possessions? I don’t know. If you have the answer to this, please leave it in the comments below…

But whenever it rains outside, I whack on the dehumidifier! This stops my lower lungs from hurting from the dampness in the air if I didn’t have it running. (I don’t know why my lower lungs hurt when I breathe in damp, cold or smokey air but my GP and Dr Donohoe are looking into it via an x-ray and Spirometry test, which I’m doing next week along with my tests for the Biotoxins and other bacteria shown up in my MRI.)

My living area is around 45 square metres, making up the lounge, dining room and kitchen (that’s where my bedroom, office, gym and dining area are). I never run it for longer than 5-6 hours at a time; however, once a month I run it for a whole day or night when I am out of the house. It’s so powerful that if I leave it on for too long, I can feel my eyes start to dry out, which is just a sign to turn it off. It’s winter here in Melbourne and not only do I need to suck up the cold damp air with the Dehumidifiers, I need to dry my washing inside because if I leave it outside in the rain, it gets mildewy and even worse, reeks of the chemical-irritants in woodsmoke. I have made a video about using this machine to dry my clothes, which you can watch below. 

(If you cannot watch it, basically it just shows how I hang my clothing and cleaning cloths (dusters) on a large portable clothes hanger overnight with the AusClimate running. By morning my clothing is clean, fresh and dry ready to be put away.)

xxx I’ve also made a video on how I clean it once a month. Ergo, I intend to make a video on how we clean the whole unit, fully, once or twice a year. I have heard stories of other units going mouldy—I mean they do suck up water and dust—so do need to be maintained just like any other household device. Watch the video below, and then we shall move onto clean air!

[insert video 2: How to thoroughly clean your Dehumidifier]
[Insert Video 3 on how to stop would smoke coming inside while taking a shower]

My 3M Filter Mask and Cotton Scarf

I’ve blogged about it and made a video about how useful the 3M mask has been to me over the years. 14 to be exact! Although, it used to give me a lot of freedom, it’s not longer useful unless it’s for fleeting exposures like going to the letterbox or stepping outside for a bit. When I go out I now use it with the oxygen nasal tubes underneath and it works like a charm. Amazingly so. I buy my masks from AESSRA (The Allergy and Environmental Sensitivity, Support and Research Association)


My InovaAir Purifier (Air Filter)

In 2004 I rented an Austin Air purifier to see if it worked for me. I had it two weeks and realised I needed one; therefore, I took out a small bank loan, immediately buying one. The InovaAir Purifier is almost the same design just more modern and sleek looking. It’s on wheels so can me moved about; has the reputation of cleaning the air of a small to decent size room within 15-20 minutes so long as its clean to begin with. For example: your house has clean air in it after airing it throughout a fresh sunny day, evening comes and you forget to close up the house, allowing woodsmoke from a neighbour’s backyard fire pit or woodfire chimney to get inside your house. The air is no longer comfortable to breathe on a physical level, naturally, you close up your house, turning on your InnovaAir or Austin Air Purifier onto high. Within 15 minutes your room is back to being clean again. This may not take away the inflammation or headache or asthma caused but it will stop any more smoke from impacting on your health.

(There are some other tips and tricks I have ready in another draft post that I’ll try and post before winter rudely sets in but for now, know that I go through a lot of painters’ masking tape (it’s less sticky and doesn’t pull paintwork off) and cotton wool blocking up holes where drafts pull the chimney smoke in.)

Where I get my Oxygen from: BOC Homecare (via prescription)

Where I bought my AusClimate Dehumidifier from: AusClimate online

Where I but my 3M Masks: AESSRA

Where I bought my InovaAir Purifier from: InovaAir online

Information on woodsmoke, rules for chimneys and Parliament Enquiries into the use of them: http://woodsmoke.3sc.net

Lung Association and Woodsmoke: Air Quality and Woodsmoke: http://lungfoundation.com.au/lung-health/air-quality-and-woodsmoke/

(image art by Michellina van Loder and Pixabay)

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

About Michellina van Loder
Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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