I had always wanted to be a lighthouse keeper. It was a very romantic and mysterious notion, and I don’t mind being alone. I would be able to hear the mesmerizing sounds of the ocean, feel the sea breeze and, hey, there’s very little traffic on my way to work! I thought it would be wonderful. Then I visited a lighthouse and some reality started to set in.
I began climbing the circular stairs leading to the lantern room of the lighthouse and a weird sensation came over me, like my head was shimmering. I gripped the cold iron railing with sweaty palms and my legs became heavy. Why, I felt like Scottie Ferguson from the Hitchcock film Vertigo! By the time I finally made it to the gallery deck, looking out over the water, I felt more like the other character, Judy Barton, sure that I would be thrown from the tower. Okay, so I crossed lighthouse keeper off my list once I got down to that wonderfully horizontal ground below. So much for the lonely life of a beacon, but the experience was a bellwether of sorts.
Now that I am fully entrenched in a disorder I’d never heard of until I got it, I am sorry that I ever wished for a solitary life. Since I developed chemical sensitivity nine years ago, my life has become progressively isolated and very difficult. If you have, or know someone who has multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), you know that every place you encounter, every person and every thing is a trial and error – learn as you go kind of life. Exposure to seemingly innocuous substances for me is often comparable to a regular person walking into a closed room that is being fumigated.
If you are just learning about living with chemical sensitivity, I hope you can pick up some tips from my experiences that I’ll be sharing on this blog. You might avoid a headache or two and be able to share your insights here.
If you do not know anyone who must avoid all perfumes, chemicals, departments stores, scented hair products, and even avoid hugging you just because of your lotion or aftershave, then please stay with us to learn. Enlightening others about this condition is a part of the “awareness” in the title of this blog. And I think we would all appreciate your reading this blog most of all (scarecrow) because you might share our difficulties with others and make this world a less chemically drenched environment for everyone.
So, enough with the Kumbaya-world-peace stuff. Though, I realize there is a certain amount of actualization of my previous career choice. With the isolation imposed on me from having MCS and my trying to bring awareness with this blog, I am becoming a lighthouse keeper… with vertigo. Only it’s headaches and fatigue instead of being thrown from a bell tower in a Hitchcock movie.