a skunk spraying a woman and the fumes wrapping around her neck and entering her nose

The Critter That Took My Breath Away

"Badlands Loop Road, your passageway to the Supernatural"

It was a fun day traveling through the Badlands of South Dakota, with my husband and four small dogs. What an adventure we had been planning. Finally a nice day. I never tire of this drive and it isn’t far away.

In awe of the Badlands

I’m in awe every time that I travel through the Badlands. In earlier days my kids and I enjoyed going through Wall Drug and then enjoyed a day walking, hiking, and taking pictures of the Badlands. The Badlands was the first long-distance trip my husband and I took together.

Badlands pictures then and now

My goal was to take many photos. It was a bit windy and dusty. Not feeling well, my time outside was limited. I was thrilled, even sitting in the car. My husband took the photos, then and now. At the end of our drive through the Badlands, we took more photos. We got pictures of deer and mountain goats.

The Badlands are so amazing. They have been forming for thousands of years. How cool to park the car and to take photos that show many layers? Peaks were carefully formed and molded by the wind and erosion. I’m just in awe. It was going to get dark soon, so it was time to leave.

Overwhelmed by the smell

We were about 15 or 20 minutes out of the Badlands. The smell of a skunk was overwhelming. It was so fresh. Oh my, I coughed and coughed. I was breathless. Thankfully, I carry a rescue inhaler, always.

I couldn’t talk. My husband passed a bottle of water over to me. That was refreshing. He realized that the smell of skunk spray was affecting me. I still couldn’t talk and was struggling to breathe. The odor from the skunk was triggering my COPD and likely asthma. I had my pro-air rescue inhaler and EpiPen.

I forgot important equipment

On this day, I didn’t take my big go-bag. This big bag is where I carry my nebulizer and adaptor. My electric nebulizer plugs into an adaptor that goes into my car's cigarette lighter. I also carry albuterol.

Silly me didn’t even take my Neti Pot. With a Neti Pot, I can do a sinus rinse to clean anything that might be caught up in my nares. Even the dust from this day or even bacteria. On this day I could have been in big trouble. I’m so grateful that I was able to move air, even though it was a struggle. For my inhaler too. Yet, how could I forget to take such an important piece of equipment, such as my nebulizer? This is what my doctor would have wanted me to use at a time like this.

I had been around skunks before

I am surprised that it could affect my breathing and airway. I didn’t realize that just passing through an area that a skunk had sprayed in could affect my breathing and airway. It could cause a crisis. I had been close to skunks and even sprayed. Years ago, in my mother-in-law's trailer park, I caught skunks and other critters in a live trap. They were then relocated. Those who were living in the trailer park wanted the skunks removed because they do smell and irritate people.

Never before did I have any type of reaction. And now, driving through an area that a skunk had sprayed in, not too long before, the critter took my breath away. Never say never with this disease.

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