Friday, February 6, 2009

Next steps

n our fertility front I got our IVF consult appointment set up for next Thursday (Feb 12) so we'll be getting info on our IVF plan, tests etc. I'm excited to finally get things started even though there will be the delay with all my travels but there is nothing I can do about that part so I'm not going to let that bother me.

Actually being out of the office might be the best thing to happen right now. I apparently do not work in the healthiest building, which is quite ironic because it's the state health department. We have heating issues, cooling issues, cockroaches the size of my Dove soap bars (seriously I've not only seen them, I've killed them), asbestos etc. The list goes on and it's not pretty.

So they had a town hall meeting about the building renovations that have been going on for the last year. They have been mostly renovating the connecting building. While it's not my specific building they are connected by walkways. My cube is right next to the walkway door and I can hear and smell all the construction going on. So after I (and two other coworkers) tested positive for carbon monoxide (CO) and our building came back CO free, I started to get suspicious. We began talking about these strange symptoms we've all been having every afternoon - itchy eyes, cloudy head, dizziness, headaches. Many people have developed asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis. I remember a couple of months ago thinking that it was strange for me to feel so yucky at work but then perk up an hour or two after I went home - apparently where the air was cleaner. And I was not the only one. So I talked with my mom, who is an RN, about my test results and she said that the tests only look to see if something is preventing oxygen from binding to my red blood cells and not specifically for CO. So basically it could be any dangerous gas that is doing this. At the town hall meeting they told us that when they did air quality test during welding that the levels were in the unsafe zone.

Well guess what was going on right behind the walkway door near my cube - yep, welding. I remember smelling welding fumes and on those days I had MAJOR headaches, cloudy mind and dizziness. But we are like frogs in a pot of slowly heating water, oblivious to the chemical toxins that have been increasing all around us. These symptoms are subtle but signs of major danger and they mostly have left us thinking it was just due to stress or fatigue - we never thought of oxygen loss from dangerous chemicals, till now. The constructions foremen kept telling us at the meeting that the construction was isolated from the working staff but today I took pictures of the gaps between the floor and door and around the door frame etc. I can feel air blowing through the cracks and I could SEE the construction workers on the other side. Gases can certainly get through. Armed with incriminating photos and test results they had nothing to say but confirm that something was getting through and making us sick. I spent an hour with our union person providing all my evidence and even pulled up information on symptoms related to welding fume inhalation, which is VERY scary. Guess what one of the side effects are? Delayed conception and early miscarriage in women. Great.

I have to think of this as being a good thing that we are holding them accountable to getting the fumes out of our area so that when I do IVF I won't be exposed to that stuff. But just to be safe I'm going to be taking a lot of time off around then to get any of that stuff out of my system.


Shannon said...

Im glad you have your IVF consult soon and I cant wait to hear your plan, good luck!

Hillary said...

I'm excited for your cycle to start! And that is CRAZY about your building -- good for you for speaking up! You could seriously get them in a ton of trouble should you choose to...