Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I haven't been to a church meeting in our building since the carpet and uphostery were replaced about six weeks ago. This last Sunday, several people at church asked my husband how I was doing. He was pretty direct with them and described the problem, not only with the new carpet, but with everyone's perfumes and other scented products. Some of the people he has spoken with recently have asked if they could come visit me in our home. This presents me with a real dilemma.

Like most people with MCS, I'm pretty protective of my home environment. My own children know they had better be scent-free if they come to visit, and I have requested the same of anyone else who has asked to come. A Relief Society sister stopped by unexpectedly a few weeks ago and asked if she could come in, assuring me that she wasn't wearing anything scented. We just stood in the entryway for about fifteen minutes, but by the time she left I was having a reaction, and even my husband (who has almost no sense of smell) could smell her. I'm sure she hadn't put on any perfume before she came by, but she uses scented products all the time, and the scent stays in a person's clothes and on the skin and hair.

A couple of other good friends, who really understand the problem I have, came by to visit last week. It was wonderful to talk with them, and I didn't have a reaction, but I still worried that I might. I guess I feel threatened by anyone who comes into my home, even friends. So I still don't know what to say to this new request for a visit. It would be good to have some company, but is it worth the risk? I'm thinking about it.


Becca said...

That's a hard one Mom. It's difficult to shut down people's good intentions, but you know from experience that even the best of intentions, if not armed with a really good knowledge of MCS, will still turn out bad for you. I almost wonder if you could produce some sort of 1-2 paragraph description of 1) things that contain scents and how they can be a problem and how bad of a problem even a little bit can be, and 2) what your reactions are like so that people recognize the severity of the issue and take it seriously. I don't know what's the best solution here, but if I think of anything brilliant I'll let you know :0

celia said...

I do understand this, of course--

Sometimes it feels as though we have to be "sacrificed" so that others can feel good about "reaching out" to us?
There must be a line there, even if it is fine--
I have had this happen enough that I, too, am sensitive about people coming to my home--

In our culture we are admonished to "visit the sick", so it is a hard concept for people to understand, the idea that the sick perhaps don't need to be made more sick by a visit?
Oh . . .--
I have had people wearing scent free things where the chemical is still stifling and . . .

made me ill--
so maybe she thought she was doing all right, but the bad stuff clings to coats and hair, etc.--

It seems as though there ought to be at least one safe place, and if that can't be home, where do we go?


I'm sure the key is "education", but it's probably not a high priority for many people to become "educated" about this--

unless/until it happens to them--


I hope I'm not sounding like a cranky old lady--