Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

It's a beautiful sunny winter day in Helena, Montana. The air is crisp and clean and I don't have to go out into any stores, so I'm breathing easy. I hope you are too.
Happy Holidays to everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Is it Christmas already?

I have been so remiss in blogging for months now. One of my New Year's resolutions is to be more consistent. There is much going on in the MCS world, so there is much to post about--I've just been a little busy. In the past six months I've spent a lot of time helping my children. One daughter moved from the east coast to the west coast and just in the months of October and November, I had three new grandchildren born. I've done a lot of traveling, thankfully in pretty good health.

Most of my travel has been in my (long-ago-outgassed) Toyota, but two trips, one to Virginia and one to San Diego, had to be in the air. Between chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia and celiac disease, there have been some challenges. Here are a few things that made it easier:

When driving, I pack all my food with me so I don't have to spend much time inside stores and restaurants. I use cotton cloth bags to carry the food and have lots of bottled water with me too. I carry my own soap for public restrooms.

I try to stay with (safe) relatives whenever possible, but when I do have to stay at a motel, I call several days in advance and ask for a room that hasn't been cleaned for several days. Best Western and La Quinta have been good chains to work with. I also have a small carbon filter air purifier that I turn on as soon as I get into a room. It sits right next to my face when I sleep.

Perhaps it goes without saying that I always travel with my own personal care items, including soap and laundry detergent.

At home I sleep on a Cuddle Ewe mattress topper, and I have a travel Cuddle Ewe that goes everywhere with me. I made a washable removable cover for it and also carry my own blanket and pillow.

Flying presents other problems. I always sit by a window and wear an I Can Breathe honeycomb mask. I also use an air filter that fits on the overhead airflow. (I think I got these from Achoo Allergy, but I can't seem to find them on their website right now.) I carry my own travel blanket and pillow, drink lots of water and carry my own food.

I have found that the airlines will change seats if there is a problem with fragrance nearby. This is an ADA issue in the U.S., so I'm not afraid to ask for accommodation.

My biggest problem on my last trip (in November to San Diego) was with the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) on the return flight. The new security measures require you to go through one of their machines or have a thorough pat down, either of which I consider unacceptable. The safety of the machines (San Diego uses the back scatter x-rays) is highly questionable and a pat down is not only a violation of personal space, but is also very painful for a person with fibromyalgia. I submitted to the machine, very grudgingly, and wrote a lengthy email to Delta Airlines when I got home, urging them to put pressure on the TSA to better accommodate persons with disabilities. I received a very understanding email in return from a customer service rep. who has asthma herself. She credited my Skymiles account with an extra 7000 miles to compensate for the trouble I went through and expressed Delta's obvious dislike for current TSA practices, but said there was nothing they could do at present to change things. There are so many horror stories out there about people with disabilities and the new screening procedures. TSA has essentially grounded much of the disabled community.

Anyway, I'm home again (for awhile at least) and trying to stay warm in Montana. Wishing everyone in the blog world a very happy Christmas week with lots of clean air to breath.