Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Airing The Linens (CIRS)

I spent most of yesterday doing a task that is not so much in vogue anymore: airing the linens.  I like the idea of line-dried linens, but never did more than hanging sheets to dry. Yesterday included not only the sheets, but the blanket, mattress pad, mattress base cover, and the mattress itself to be aired.

Organ Recital (feel free to skip this part): But I finally received a diagnosis from my doctor on what has likely been causing all of my vague, and not so vague symptoms these past years (asthma, migraines, fatigue, depression).  In a nutshell, I have a problem with mold.  Leaf mold had shown up as something I was allergic to long ago, but I didn't think much more about it, since mold is everywhere, and seemed to only bother me in the fall.  However, one of my symptoms, the asthma, first showed up when we were remodeling our bathroom and showering in the basement in a deck shower.  The doctor found lab markers on me that indicated chronic inflammation in my body.  After running more tests, he determined that my body cannot clear mold the way the majority of people can.  Here is an analogy: when a biotoxin (bacteria, mold, etc.) enters the body, the immune system realizes something is wrong, identifies the invader, and sends in the troops to obliterate it.  In my case, the body recognizes that there is an invader, but can't identify it.  An analogy I read was that it is like a policeman witnessing a crime, taking a photo of the perpetrator, running back to the police station to inform the rest, but the picture is blurry and the culprit unidentifiable.  So, they are all running around looking for this guy, but can't recognize him, so they run around, sort of like the Keystone Cops.  So the immune system is roaming around trying to find it, but can't, and so remains inflamed.  Hence the Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, or CIRS (pronounce "Sirs" as in "Dear Sirs").  I am now on a medication that will help chelate the mold accumulated in my body.  

We are now looking at reducing the amount of mold I come in contact with.  This is very difficult, because mold is virtually everywhere.  What we have done so far is to invest in an excellent air purifier, be more cognizant of keeping the bathroom ventilated and the towels and shower curtains frequently laundered, and started opening windows more, now that the days are warmer.  Future remedies will be fixing the portion of the basement where there is some water seepage ($$).  That's a big job, and fortunately our basement tested out "borderline" meaning I can live with it until such time as we can afford to fix the basement.  I also found a cute craft online for keeping shower curtains mold free (more on that when I get around to making it).  

Because I have read that bedding can sometimes harbor mold, yesterday's work included undressing our mattress from all of its coverings, and having it sit outside in the sunshine for several hours.  We also placed the base cover on the wash line for airing (we are not to wash that, according to the tag).  Then I washed our brand new "jelly head" as Kristin calls the puffy mattress covers, our blanket, and one set of sheets (will do the same process on the other sheets soon).  Thankfully, Robert and Paul were available to wrestle the mattress in and out of the house.  We placed an airtight, allergy-type zippered cover over it.  We also rotated the mattress when we placed it back in the room (can't flip these newer mattresses, because there is a definite top and bottom).  But the rotating was so nice!  Paul and I slept a lot better last night in our fresh, clean bed.  

The first batch: mattress base covers and the new "jelly head".

Second batch: blanket and sheets.
(P. S. Don't mind the little wood pile in the forefront!)

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