Bucket List Revisited…

It’s been a long time since I revisited my bucket list and so I thought that I’d do so today.

The last time I updated it, I had 15 entries:

  1. To be a bridesmaid
  2. To visit New Zealand
  3. To live on the ocean
  4. To own a Class B motor-home (Roadtrek ideally)
  5. Day-trip to Frankenmuth & Bronners
  6. Reschedule & enjoy my belated 45th birthday vacation
  7. year-long road trip following 70 degree (21 C) weather throughout the contiguous United States.
  8. Get out walking, locally and a little further afield on walking trails and then snowshoeing as determined by the weather
  9. Visit Harrison Hot Springs in BC
  10. Go indoor skydiving
  11. Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
  12. Train Kai in Rally Obedience
  13. Stay at the North Beach Cabins
  14. Swim with dolphins, in the wild
  15. Attend a regular competition rodeo

Unfortunately I’ve only been able to cross one of these off of my list: #5

#1 – #4, #7, #11, #13 & #14 are long term aspirations, probably more likely to be achieved in retirement. #6 I’ve decided to reschedule for my 50th birthday.

#8 I’ve managed a little of, but my lungs still don’t last very long so I’m still pretty restricted in where I can walk safely. I didn’t snowshoe at all last winter. Hopefully, that will change this coming winter.

#9 I’d hoped to achieve this summer but instead chose to place my little travel trailer on a seasonal site at the Busy Beaver Campground on St Joseph’s Island.

#10 is looking pretty unlikely as the nearest indoor skydiving centre seems to be Toronto and my health isn’t good enough to fly down and I’m not sure how well I’d do staying in hotels if I drove down.

#12 While I haven’t trained Kai in Rally Obedience we have been working on some new tasks for him. After I remembered to break down the task into smaller steps and backwards chain the command Kai will now go around my leg and come to a sit between my legs. Unfortunately I had to teach him it twice as I naturally taught him to do it on my dominant side (right) whereas he heels on my left. As I use a hands-free leash with him we’d get in a real mess if he did this to the right while working. I haven’t had to use this new command in public yet but it’s ready for when we need it.

#15 is like #10 and looking unlikely. My health is much better than it was but my sensitivity to my allergens and scents generally remains really high so flying is impossible and to date, I’m not convinced that staying in hotels (assuming I drove) would be any safer.

So it looks like I need a new bucket list, or at least some items on it that I can actually achieve in the next few years. I’m going to have to think about this so watch this space… I’ll be back!

It’s a hard life…

So I just got back from my second camp at my seasonal site. I feel as so I now have pretty much everything there that I could need and will now only need to take food, clothes, charger for my hearing aids and my knitting!

As you can see from the picture – it’s a hard life for Molly & Kai when we’re camping! They both love it. We go for a walk every 2-4 hours. Not too far as my lungs aren’t up to that yet but there is a small hill to climb which is stretching my limitations in a good way.

Apparently the site is much busier on the weekends. The owners told me that there had been over 15 children there on the previous weekend. Much as I love kids, I think I’ll stick to going mid week where I can.

I still have 8 days of vacation to take before the end of June!

Anyway, this seasonal camping malarky is fun!

Dead canaries…

In the days of heavy coal mining canaries were taken down the pit as early indicators of gas leaks. To put it simply, if there was a leak such as carbon monoxide the canaries would die before the miners giving them a warning and time to get out of the pits immediately.

Sometimes I think that we should now have a modern version of canaries in all public places. Not to detect carbon monoxide but rather the clouds of perfume and cologne that some people drench themselves with.

Our sense of smell is much like our other senses. It acclimates to the smells that are regularly around us so that it can concentrate on smelling things that are of danger to us and out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately, this means that for some people they can no longer smell their favourite perfumes/colognes and so they add more and more until they can smell it again. By which point it’s so intense that those of us with sensitivity to smells have real problems.

Sometimes you can talk to those concerned and they’ll agree to back off the scent a little. Most health related buildings are no scent or low scent areas but not everybody follows the mandate.

So I think we need a modern version of a canary in public spaces. Something that would set off an alert if somebody entered the space with excessive scents. I think that a few embarrassing moments like that and the perpetrators may think a little more before using so much scent again.

In reality this isn’t going to happen but perhaps we can just raise awareness that scents can kill people. As an example, I’m allergic to Marijuana so 420 friendly spaces are literally deadly for me.

So please, as you reach for that perfume or cologne think twice about where you will be going that day and think twice about how much you put on. Those of us with scent sensitivities will thank you.

Why I can no longer fly…

A couple of articles in the past week really hit home for me. Since developing RADS I have severely cut back the amount of travel that I do. In the past I have travelled all over the world and perhaps acted somewhat naively about my safety.

I’ve had one really bad experience on a plane where I reacted to an orange being eaten somewhere on the plane but was able to stabilize myself with medication. Thankfully, much of my travel has been international and as citrus fruits are on the list of prohibited foods for import in most cases I’ve been relatively safe. Additionally, airlines rarely give out fresh fruit.

However, my sensitivity is now much higher than it was. Unfortunately I found out yesterday that, at least to oranges, it remains extremely high. I was in a meeting and as it was breaking up a trolley of food & beverages was brought in for a meeting following ours. There was an orange on the trolley. A colleague notified me immediately and I left straight away thinking that I’d avoided a reaction. The orange was not peeled after all. However, on my way back to my car I suffered from some restricted breathing and had an asthma attack. So apparently, even an unpeeled orange is now an issue for me.

What I am interested to know is how long they were waiting outside the door before coming in. Kai, my service dog, started to be unsettled about 10 minutes before the end of the meeting. I put it down to being a long day as he’d been working since 9am and it was now 4pm. I wonder now if he was trying to tell me about the orange.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I don’t feel that it is safe for me to fly anymore as my allergy is so sensitive and airborne. I sit in wonder when I see people like Miss Allergic Reactor talk about how she travels the world extensively with a severe nut allergy.

In contrast, just this week two boys were taken off a flight due to a nut allergy and the airline being unwilling to accommodate them. I can only imagine what they’d say if I asked for accommodation for citrus fruits especially on a morning flight where they’d usually be serving orange juice with breakfast.

Thankfully, I have travelled a great deal so being restricted to places that I can now drive to isn’t such a big deal. I have all of North America to visit and that’s a lot of places!

Dipping a toe in the water…

In 2016 when I developed Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS) I was very disheartened to hear that the extreme hypersensitivity would likely last at least two years and could be permanent. Here I am, almost 3 years later and I’m finally willing to dip a toe in the water.

What I mean by this is that I’m willing to take a little more risk with my life and step outside what has become a very restricted comfort zone.

My hypersensitivity seems to have calmed down somewhat. However, there’s no really safe way to prove this as deliberately exposing myself to my known allergens seems like a suicidal option to me.

So I’m now playing a game of risk with my life. It started by really wanting to go to a concert (or three). So I bought my girlfriend tickets for us to attend Terri Clarke who was to perform here in Sault Ste Marie in February 2019.

In the interim I bought season tickets to the Sault Theatre Workshop. I attended their Fall and Christmas performances and had a great time. I’ve since attended another of their shows and will see the last of the season in May.

Given that these went well I was much more relaxed about attending the Terri Clarke concert as it was in the Sault Community Theatre Centre with a very limited cash bar. (Bars are an issue for me as they often have sliced, limes, lemons and oranges to garnish drinks).

So given that I’ve been able to successfully attend these events with just mild hives (held in check by the enormous amounts of antihistamines that I take daily) I’m planning to venture further afield in the next couple of months.

There are several events that I will be attending at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. To be safe I’ve made sure that my travel insurance is up to date and will be attending each with somebody who knows my medical conditions and understands that I may need to leave part way through the performance if my allergic reaction gets to strong. Kai (service dog) will also be with me which helps a great deal. While he’s not trained to scent for my allergens (as they’re too prevalent at very low levels and he’d be alerting all the time) he is trained to react to any changes in my breathing and to alert and lead me away from the source. Thankfully, he can pick up on breathing changes a lot faster than I can. I just have to trust his instincts which have so far been 100% spot on.

So for anybody else with RADS there is light at the end of the tunnel. It might yet prove to be an oncoming train but so far, dipping a toe in the water with all appropriate precautions and plans for dealing with any issues that arise life, for me, is opening up a little once more.

I’ve even booked a campsite for midweek in May to start off my camping season. I’m hopeful that the snow on the ground now may have finally left by then! It’s been a winter of a lot of snow! If that trip goes well I’ll plan others all with my little Boler and dogs.

Sometimes being stubborn is what’s needed…

Sometimes it’s hard not to think that life is out to get me. On Monday, I posted about finally feeling like myself again having had a day out in the form of a road trip on Sunday.

On Monday I had some follow-up tests due to one of those rabbit holes we dropped down when trying to find the cause of my breathing issues, just as a precaution, and the results came in yesterday and they’re not good. So I’m back to that specialist next week.  First appointment after the holiday weekend.

It just seems that for the last year, or two, that every time I start to feel as so I’m getting a handle on life again that something else comes to try to knock me flat.

Well this weeble may have been slow in recovering her equilibrium over the past two years and it might be taking me longer to get back up; but I’m getting back up and will deal with this issue as it comes. I’ll also work hard at not worrying about the unknown and the suspected in the interim.

In reality nothing has changed since Sunday. I had the same issue then, I just didn’t know it. So I’m going to hold on to the good feeling from Sunday and use that to help me through the next few weeks.

I’m on the path to health and while it seems to be an especially twisty path I will get there!

I’m too stubborn not to!

 

 

Just for one day I started to feel like myself again….

Yesterday I felt like myself again, just for a day. It was wonderful. I packed up snacks and emergency survival equipment, loaded up the dogs and hit the road. It was wonderful to feel well enough to just drive….

So Molly, Kai and I went to visit the home of Winnie-the-Pooh, White River, Ontario.

The day was mostly spent driving as it’s a good 4 1/2 hours from Sault Ste. Marie. However, it was a nice sunny day for the most part. Though I drove through two storms on the way home just in time to beat the massive thunderstorm that hit last night.

Some gorgeous views and amazing sights. I saw moose and birds of prey. The lakes were starting to unfreeze so the edges were mixed between waves and open water and icebergs. Some of the waterfalls were just flourishing with the snowmelt.

I loved the sense of humour of whoever was naming some of the lakes. At one point there was ‘Mom Lake’ and ‘Dad Lake’ just next to it. Just as I was wondering what you’d call a third lake I came upon ‘Orphan Lake’ just far enough from Mom and Dad to be orphaned!

It was a lovely day out and the dogs loved the ride and the walk by the Winnie-the-Pooh memorial. Next time we’ll have to go when the museum is actually open and see if I can handle the scents.

However, for right now just getting out for the day was such a huge step for me after almost a year of being mostly housebound. I’m only extending my limits to my vehicle but now that I’m well enough to drive like that again…. it’s wonderful!!

Even with the thunderstorm last night all three of us slept well last night!!