Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
Lourdes Salvador is the founder of MCS America, a science writer, and a social advocate for the greater awareness of environmental contamination, human toxicology, and propagation of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) as a disorder of organic biological origin induced by toxic environmental insults.
For more information visit MCS America
Woman Overcomes Adversity After Tragedy StrikesWoman Overcomes Adversity After Tragedy Strikes
by Lourdes Salvador
For many people with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), a hospital can be a dangerous place when a systemic fragrance-free policy and MCS treatment protocol is lacking. Fortunately, these policies and protocols are gradually being implemented in many hospitals. However in the face of an emergency, there may be little choice to select an upgraded and technically proficient hospital.
Christiane Tourtet, an individual with MCS, recently shared her experience by her partner Rabin´s side after an unexpected second stroke that left him unable to speak, swallow, or walk and resulted in a fall, bump on the head, and broken arm. An ambulance rushed Rabin to the hospital and the emergency medical technicians insisted Christiane go along despite her poor health and MCS.
The next 9 hours found Christiane in an icy cold emergency room without food or water and suffering from reactions to the various exposures in the hospital while Rabin fought for his life and doctor´s worked to save him.
Planned medical visits and hospital stays afford the opportunity to pack medications, food, water, and other necessary supplies. In the face of sudden emergencies, it is often best to remain calm and think clearly so as to come through the situation.
On a special diet, Christiane managed by reaching out to one or Rabin´s former co-workers who brought diet specific food and water to Christiane at the hospital. She was able to arrange this through a pre-established "emergency contact list" of people she has made connections with in the event of such an emergency.
Rabin was later admitted for surgery and a long hospitalization that required a feeding tube to be placed in his stomach that Christiane would have to learn to use to feed him when he was released from a rehabilitation hospital in order to avoid paying $360 a day for a nurse to come to her home when the medical insurance refused to cover it.
Adding to the challenge, Christiane´s car had broken down and left her stranded and unable to travel between her home and the hospital. She had no choice but to rely on an agency which charged $16 an hour to provide food, transportation, and home care for her own ailing health.
Decisions needed to be made, including whether to put Rabin in a nursing home at a cost of nearly $90,000 a year that insurance would not cover until their home and valuables were sold and used to pay for the care. This option seemed like one that would not only leave Christiane alone without Rabin, but also leave her homeless and destitute.
As the stress, emotions, and bills piled up, she ultimately had to fend for herself and shared, "If you could know the horror, the agony of our lives, the terror, and the endless nightmare I went through!"
Despite the adversity, Christiane accomplished a number of important things in terms of living with MCS.
"It is still very tough to get accommodations in hospitals as they are loaded with biocides, sanitizers, and medicines that are problematic exposures for people with MCS," says Christiane. She recommends:
Talk to the head nurse about MCS and request ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accommodations.
Ask that the staff avoid the use of fragranced hand sanitizers and cleaning while in the patient room.
Request to be transferred to another room if maintenance work (cleaning, painting, floor polishing) is required in the patient room.
Bring a physician´s letter and brochures about MCS to present to the head nurse and staff.
If the hospital has rooms with windows that can be opened, request to be located there.
Wear a mask and non-latex gloves when needed. Most hospitals have non-latex gloves now.
Bring your own food and drink and talk to the head nurse about bringing outside food for the patient if needed.
Most hospitals have an office of volunteers who can assist with ADA accommodations such as special parking and transport via wheelchair to the patient room if required.
Bring warm clothes, as hospitals are usually very cold.
Keep an emergency kit in the car with essential supplies for the unexpected medical emergencies, car troubles, or natural disasters. Pack stable food, water, medications, supplements, brochures, doctor´s letters, warm clothes, a blanket, and a list of emergency contacts.
Additionally, Christiane says, "Do not wait to call 911 if you suspect a stroke or other medical emergency. Go at the slightest sign to avoid further complications that occur when treatment is not timely."
She also recommends making mutual plans with trusted friends, neighbors, and church members to assist one another with groceries and transportation in the event one of you has a problem and needs help.
"The emotional and physical stress can be extreme;" says Christiane. "It is important to find every minute to take care of yourself."
Most important, work with your hospital to establish fragrance free policies and an appropriate MCS treatment protocol such as those found at http://tinyurl.com/cvajjol.
Preparing ahead of time is most important when these types of situations arise.
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2012 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America