Now I’ve heard it all! I think I may be allergic to work, but allow me to explain. I am new at a school that just underwent a major renovation. The library acquired a state of the art video production studio and new shelving. The office was carpeted along with the renovations. This was finalized on November 8th, and I was allowed to begin scheduling the studio for use. We jumped in with both feet and never looked back.
Then the gradual discomfort and itching began. I attributed it to allergies in general, after all who wasn’t walking around with a sniffle? In SC, we have allergens of different kinds all year around–there is no off season. Then I began thinking I was reacting to a sinus infection, though I’d never had that kind of reaction before. I began consulting “doctor internet” and “doctor twitter,” asking for advice and what on earth it could be. I posted pictures to twitter so my friends could see what I was facing. (I had even let dr internet convince me I had shingles in my eyes–ouch!) The first post to twitter about the issue was made on November 18th.
I even posted a picture (I am so brave) to share so folks could grasp the severity of the situation.
Since this picture is really embarrassing, you can just visit the flickr picture to get a good view (and laugh). Most of my Twitter friends were strongly recommending I go to the doctor. But I had an eye doctor appointment coming on the next Friday, and would be leaving to go back home to Rock Hill (170 miles away) for that appointment. So I delayed the visit, leaving Myrtle Beach Thursday right after school, and spending the night at home before going to a 2:00PM appointment. But miraculously the next morning 90% of the swelling was gone, and I wasn’t itching at all. It was a miracle, or so I thought.
At my doctor’s appointment I did not even mention the rash or swelling. No evidence of it anyway…But I did return to school the next week. But by this time, I had a full scale head cold that I suffered through right up to Thanksgiving, and so attributed the returned rash and itching to being sick (again, even though I’d never had that reaction before.) After the head cold subsided, the itchiness remained. So I began to think I was having an allergic reaction to possibly my cats, which I only see on the weekends now. It was the only rational thing I could think of, so I began taking Clariton daily, which did seem to help some. The itchiness was still there, but only a minor nuisance, and by this time I had become increasingly aware of it, and tried desperately to NOT rub or scratch my eyes. So there was a significant decrease in the redness or swelling. During my two week break I had NO signs or symptoms. None. But was taking a Clariton daily, and assumed that it was finally keeping the discomfort to a minimum.
Fast forward to yesterday, January 2, a workday at school. I spent a lot of time at my desk doing things and time in the studio getting it ready for a live broadcast from the studio and from a remote location. I was clear and fine when I arrived at school. But by lunch time all those symptoms had returned with a vengeance. At home last night, most of it went away. Note to self-at school, irritation flares up; away from school, irritation fades and disappears. Today at school, once again, the irritation flared up with a nasty vengeance again. As I was talking with a friend at school, we both realized the itchiness started around the time all the construction was done. The studio was finished and made available to us, and the library offices were carpeted (they had previously been tile.) Notice date on this tweet. November 8.
This is almost exactly when I noticed that my eyes were constantly itching. I just never made a connection to the construction or perhaps even the new flooring.
But I did ask my twitter network if anyone thought I could be be allergic to mold, mildew, or allergens in the library, getting several responses to make me beleive this. I even picked up the phone and called my principal, asking if we might could have the library tested for somethng causing my discomfort. Her suggestion is to come to school tomorrow but stay out of the library–to see if the irritation returns. She is the one that suggested it may be the new carpeting that was laid down in the office and the studio…So tomorrow I work all around the building and not in the library. I will be in the auditoruim for class meetings (helping kids with PPT presentations for 3 different class meetings,) and then I’m going shopping for some school accessories we have determined we need. I’ll drive back to Myrtle Beach for this shopping trip. If at the end of the school day I am free of irritation, my principal is going to call the district office to see what kinds of tests they can conduct. What do I think needs to happen? I want a air cleaner (thanks for the idea Carolyn) and I want to go back to tile in the office and studio. I don’t know if the studio will have sound problems with a tile floor, but by golly I’ll be a heck of a lot healthier and happier.
Last, if it hadn’t been for my Twitter network tonight, I wouldn’t have even thought about the “library” possibly causing all my discomfort. Thanks, network! I hope this is resolved soon, as the irritation makes me look ten years OLDER. Arggg.