Molded Misery

My apartment tried to kill me.

I don’t mean that in a funny sort of lighthearted manner. Sometime back in the spring, the maintenance manager showed up at my apartment while I was at work. He told my fiance that there was a leak downstairs and that it was coming from my shower. He simply put new sealant around everything. Good as new. Sorta.

Fast forward to early summer. Mr. Maintenance Man comes back again. Leaking again. Re-seal. Good as new. Sorta.

Fast forward to late summer. Email from Mr. Property Manager. Leak is really bad. They’ll have to tear out part of my bathroom to fix it. When can it be done? Oh, next week the apartment will be empty for nearly two weeks? Perfect.

I arrived to my humble abode after my summer trip to Canada to find that my bathroom’s repairs were not completed while I was gone. My bathroom wasn’t even touched. Needless to say, I was angry. After bantering back and forth with the property manager for almost 2 weeks, someone was hired to make the repairs. Years ago apparently a pipe in my wall had a leak. Instead of repairing the pipe, a clamp was put around it and a nail into the hole. Eventually the clamp failed. So it’s been slowly leaking for YEARS. A few more weeks pass. Come to find out, the apartment below me was the same apartment that a friend of mine rented years upon years ago before she moved out of state. They had to move her out of her apartment. For what reason, you may ask? Because the apartment above hers had a leak, flooding her apartment and causing her ceiling to cave in. Years. They finally start on the repair work needed in the apartment below mine. The years of leaks reared their ugly heads. A ton of mold spores were released with great fury.

Most of this year, I’d been getting unexplained migraines that were getting progressively worse. I double checked ailments, diabetes was still under control, there wasn’t any explanation that jumped out to anyone. Cutting out the caffeine perhaps? But I didn’t consume enough caffeine to warrant withdrawal migraines….. and the migraines took ages to get rid of. Then came the allergy symptoms. That got worse. And worse. And worse. Everyone in Kentucky gets the crud. It’s inevitable. Mine usually went away within a few days. But a few weeks passed. Weeks turned into a few months. It wasn’t going away. Then the ick really hit me. One Sunday morning I woke up and I couldn’t breathe.

As an EMT, it takes a lot for me to consider going to an Emergency Department. Like. I have to be almost dying for me to step foot in there unless it’s someone else that’s close to dying. I compromised with myself and opted for the fancy new walk-in clinic associated with my regular doctor’s office. “Honey…. you look pretty bad…. we may need to call an ambulance….” NOPE. Nope. Nope. I had an EKG, chest x-ray, breathing treatments, and a slew of other just-in-case tests. Due to the results of the EKG, they were concerned with a pulmonary embolism. Why? Because there’s a type of black mold that can cause blood clots, and my EKG reading + symptoms = a dead ringer for it. After everything was said and done and I improved with a breathing treatment, they at least released me instead of sending me to the hospital, so long as I followed up with my regular physician in the morning. I was sent home with a handful of prescriptions to deal with the mold-induced asthma and fungal pneumonia. Steroids! Inhalers! Antibiotics! Oh boy!

I was cleared from the pulmonary embolism fear. Thank goodness. I was, however, told to get out of my apartment asap. Mr. Property Manager didn’t have another unit available to move me in to. According to Mr. Maintenance Man there were open units…..just none that didn’t also have complaints of mold. My temporary residences weren’t working out one by one. Trying to find a short-term rental was nearly impossible. My renter’s insurance was only going to cover so much. So I arranged to go back to Canada as a visitor for an undetermined amount of time until everything got sorted out. It was a damn long drive, and a terrifying craps shoot on if the Canadian Border Patrol would be satisfied that I’d leave at the end of my unplanned stay, especially since it was so close to when I was originally supposed to move to Canada anyways. Whelp. Here I am.

Now that I’ve been out of my apartment for almost a month, I’ve noticed a significant difference in my health. Within days, I could breathe again and was able to clear out the infection in my lungs. I’ve had two headaches since I left my apartment, But there are other weird things that I’ve noticed as well. My hair isn’t falling out anymore. I thought that perhaps I was just shedding quite a bit at the apartment, but over the past month, I’ve been experiencing significantly less hair loss. My fingernails haven’t been splitting and have actually been growing. They’re stronger and less bendy. I’m sleeping better (which can also be attributed to being with the fiance instead of being 1500 miles away.) I systematically feel better. And I can breathe again!!!

Moral of the story: If you’re feeling like crap and can’t figure out why, you might be in a mold induced misery as well.

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