Is Your House Toxic?
After living with COPD for a few years, mom had her routine down. However, when I came home for a visit, it seemed that something was off. She and I began to make a list of the things that might be making her have coughing spasms. It became clear that her house was toxic and we needed to look at the 4 C's.
Changes needed to be made
Toxic may sound kind of harsh, but if mom was coughing too much, she became sore, and her oxygen and numbers went down. All of us kids understood that her house was big, and got her some help. However, some changes needed to be made to keep everything safe for her. You might take a look at our list of the 4 C’s and see if your house is toxic too.
Evaluating toxins or triggers in the house
Critters - One of mom's hobbies was crocheting. She kept pattern books in a basket near her chair. Some of the balls of yarn at the bottom had become a little mouse nest. Since mom’s immune system was weakened, having any bacteria nearby was not helpful for her. I cleaned it out and we set some traps. My brother also came over and helped seal up around the pipes to keep the critters out.
Clutter - Since her computer desk was a comfy place to hang out with her online friends, she had spread out more than a few papers. Mom trusted me to organize, stack everything up, and wipe all the dust away. She sneezed a lot while we cleaned!
Cleaners - Mom had a helper come by with meals and light housework at least once a week. Nancy changed the sheets, tidied up and cleaned the kitchen. I could smell the cleaners the minute I walked in. Mom was wheezy but said she could not smell it. Mom had adopted one of the 4 C's for alternative cleaners years before. I bought baking soda that very day and mixed up a solution that wasn't toxic for her to smell.
Crate - When mom was away, she put our family pets in a crate so they wouldn't soil the floor. One of the doors was loose, and Snuggles was getting out and soiling the carpet. Mom cleaned it up when she got home and kept working on keeping the door latched. I could smell it. After talking, we decided to pull up the old carpet and have the natural wood floors instead. When she saw the pad, she was so happy to have it out of there.
It was a lot of work, but by the time we got it all cleaned up, mom was thrilled. She was proud of her new floors and her clean kitchen with low odor. She felt organized at her desk and with her hobbies. Plus she had new yarn. Now, she did complain when I first started but thanked me when I left town. I know she felt some relief, in more ways than one. It makes me laugh because she called me bossy but then bragged that I took charge when she needed me to help her clean the house of toxins.
Does your house have the 4 C’s? Let us know in the comments!
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?