Black Mold, Texas Tea

After two and a half weeks at my sister’s, I came back home today to a house that’s still ripped apart, but has been given a clean bill of health and has been scrubbed into submission. We had out air vents cleaned out also, and I swear you can actually SMELL how clean it is in here.

Photo Mar 26, 4 54 05 PM

The entrance to our bedroom

Within the next day or two, all the sealed areas should be opened, and our furniture will be HEPA-vaccuumed a second time and placed back into the bedroom. The floor has been ripped out, though, so in about two weeks we will have to take all the furniture back out again to replace the floors. We are going to go ahead and replace all the nasty carpet on the first floor and get wood laminate for the entire downstairs area, which ultimately will be awesome and is something we should have done years ago, but keep in mind our completely shitty home insurance is not covering a dime of this, so it’s going to cost us a ridiculous amount of money. We also have to get the sheetrock re-done again (most of it is sheetrock we already replaced once, right after Harvey before we knew about the mold situation). Then, we are going to go ahead and rip out all the wallpaper in the areas where we still have it (the kitchen, the bathrooms, and our front living room – yeah, we’ve been living with serious old-school decorating in this house for decades) and get all the walls repainted (some of which we also JUST re-painted right after Harvey).

Photo Mar 26, 4 53 31 PM

One of our built-in bookcases, which also had mold. It wasn’t the black mold we had in the bathroom, but it still has to go. 

But here’s the thing: EVERY TIME I try to get back to normal as far as getting out of the house, going to tutoring sessions, running errands, etc., I get sick again. Even trying to have a simple conversation with someone on the phone sends me into a coughing fit within twenty minutes. It’s as if the only way I feel well is if I sit in bed all day, don’t speak to anyone, or do ANYTHING. And it’s really pissing me off. I have been canceling tutoring sessions for three weeks now, although I’ve managed to squeeze in a random one here and there before getting worn down and miserable again, for the most part I’ve gone weeks without working with most of my kids. Everyone is being really great about it, but I’ve worked really hard to build up the client base that I have, and I hate to risk losing it.

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After packing up all my things and my dogs this morning and driving us all back out to the house, I ended up with another massive coughing fit that just broke me down into tears. I was so frustrated having to cancel on my students again, and to not be able to get back to normal health-wise. I also have now pulled something on my left side from all the coughing, and I’m just really worn down, tired, and disappointed that I can’t get well. I had a chest x-ray done, and while it shows hyperinflated lungs due to asthma, it’s not like there’s any congestion in my chest or anything else going on. It’s just that nothing we’ve tried so far has worked to control my asthma, and we’re pretty much at the top of ladder as far as the escalating steps you take to get asthma under control. I’m honestly not sure what we’re going to try next, unless we add daily breathing treatments and perhaps get allergy tested again to see if I’m reacting badly to something else other than the mold. Especially since the damn mold is gone now and our house is probably the cleanest one in Houston – although the pollen is out of control in the area right now which I am sure isn’t helping.

Photo Mar 26, 4 53 48 PM

Our bedroom furniture, which has been HEPA-cleaned and sealed.

Reluctantly, I took the entire week off and cancelled all my sessions, and as much as I hate to do it my plan is going to be to sit at home on my ass and just. do. nothing. I’m going to go back to the doctor on Thursday for a check-in and I hope to God by next week to be able to get back to normal as far as my health. This sitting around coughing and hacking and feeling exhausted is for the birds. And I haven’t worked out in weeks and am gaining weight. So overall, I just feel sloppy and lazy and nasty and totally blah.

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12 thoughts on “Black Mold, Texas Tea

  1. Hi Cynthia, What a bummer! So sorry you’re still not well! 😦 When my asthma got so bad that I was hospitalized (more than once) The only thing that helped was the prednisone, breathing treatments (which are really no big deal at all once you get a nebulizer) and as a last resort, they gave me Heliox which is a combination of helium and oxygen. For some reason, the two combined work differently. It’s not a common treatment, more for a severe case or one that’s not responding to other things. But I’d say it’s worth mentioning. Definately get on some prednisone. It’s fast acting and takes down the inflammation. Breathing treatments are SO helpful too! Much better than a regular inhaler. I know how you feel. Asthma is no joke! And be prepared, you’ll probably find out that you’re allergic to your pets. It might be that you’re just more sensitive right now. Maybe keep them out of the bedroom so you have one place without any allergens. My friend does that and even uses one dedicated vacuum for her bedroom & she swears by it keeping her from going through bouts of asthma. It’s worth a try. Just my two cents. Get well soon!

    • I am actually on my second round of prednisone and it has done nothing. That is what really surprises me, because any other time I have had a cough I couldn’t shake ( only other time his has happened has been when I have gotten bronchitis and then the asthma takes over) it knocked it out almost immediately. But this time, not one bit of improvement! So perhaps the breathing treatments will help. I will definitely mention it on Thursday; thanks so much!

      • Awe, so sorry to hear that! Darn! Was hoping that would help but maybe the breathing treatments will do the trick. Good luck & please keep us posted 🙏🏼

  2. Hope you feel better soon too! How horrid this is continuing on for you. You are probably hyper sensitive after all the months of the black mold. I really hope your health improves.

  3. I had COPD. It started with asthma symptoms. Which was severe allergy to my cat !! “Key word”
    Allergy. The Pulmonary Doc. said we’ll fix this. And we have–after about 2 years– with meds Symbicort 200 and Albuterol “rescue” inhalers. Coupled with major exercise, etc. Just to note, you will “beat” this rap . There are helpful meds., and there is YOU. Are your Drs. Pulmonary
    specialists ? If not, please check in with your nearest specialist. Mind you, the “2 years” was a continuing positive improvement from day one. Better each day until now no symptoms and
    my “sport” participation as aggressive and satisfying as if no COPD. Keep us informed. You’ll
    beat this, and believe me, many will be very glad for you

    • I’ve been to a pulmonologist, but his hours are the pits and he’s been out of town for two weeks, so I’ve gone back to my primary care doc the past few visits. Thanks for the encouragement – so far, the only improvement I’ve had is i do sleep through the night now. Which is important, obviously, but the exchange is that I now cough more during the day!

      • Please, please see the Pulmonary Doc. It was my GP who chased me to the
        specialist “post haste”….Simply , they are the most qualified to tackle your problem. Good luck, “Please” !!

  4. I have been through this a couple of times in my life so I know exactly what you are going through. The last was after catching a horrible virus in Russia a year ago that gave me bronchitis if not actual pneumonia. Could not shake the cough. Took prednisone occasionally and mega doses of asthma preventer inhaler but had zero effect. I was at the end of my tether when I resorted to cough suppressant Dhydrocodeine Tartrate. Until recently this could be bought over the counter at a pharmacy here but they have toughened up the laws on codeine so sadly no longer. I use it only when I have a persistent cough which is practically every time I get a cold. It is not for productive coughs but is an absolute godsend for asthmatic coughs that are dry and nonproductive. The more you cough the more you irritate your throat and lungs which is why you keep coughing. It’s a vicious cycle. This stuff is mildly sedating so I only use it at night and it is mildly constipating as well. 10 mls at night gives me about 12 hours relief. I coughed for 9 months until I resorted to this and it was gone in a week. I gradually reduced the dose after the first 2 night’s until I was taking no more than about 3 mls.

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