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smoke kills me - helen-louise
baratron
baratron
smoke kills me
I fucking hate my body.

Today I was in Epsom - cold and tired, with 8 minutes to wait for a bus. So I went to get a hot chocolate. As Starbucks' hot chocolate powder contains EVIL DAIRY PRODUCTS and there's no Costa in Epsom, I was forced to go into Caffe Nero. Which is mixed smoking & non-smoking.

Pretty much as soon as I walked in I felt my lungs starting to fill up with snot, and the 2 minutes while the guy made my soya hot chocolate was progressively more and more painful. By the time the drink was ready I felt like just flinging a couple of quid at him and running for it rather than waiting for change. I then proceeded to cough my lungs up for most of the trip back, as well as getting a wave of nausea every time I smelled the smoke in my hair or on my scarf.

This fucking sucks. 2 minutes in a coffee house that is not even completely smoky should not make me ill for over an hour. Really.

And I'm totally wound up, because I want to go and see Freezepop when they play here in a couple of weeks. They're the only band I bother to go and see these days because I can't deal with the smoke, and I was ill enough the last time. I had to go outside (in December!) during all the support acts because I couldn't breathe, threw up at least once, and spent the whole time Freezepop were onstage desperately trying to keep my nasal passages clear with Olbas Oil and tissues. After the show I could barely even speak where my mouth and throat were so dried out from an hour and a half of mouth breathing. I'm even more severely allergic to smoke now than I was then. My asthma medication doesn't deal with it, because it's a different reaction - not just wheezing, but massive overproduction of snot that clogs up my entire respiratory tract and makes me extremely nauseous. (Imagine swallowing copious, thick mucus for a couple of hours, and you get some idea what it's like.)

I take my inhalers and completely avoid smoky environments, except for special occasions - which these days means Freezepop gigs and nothing else. I don't know what the fuck else I can do. I've tried going to the doctor and explaining that my smoke allergy is ruining my life, and they just don't understand. I get advice like "Don't go to smoky places, then." I'm 29 years old, and I haven't been able to go to a nightclub in over 5 years because I can't fucking breathe in them. I love music, and I've been to one gig in the past 18 months.

No, there is nothing you can say that'll make this better, except for *hugs* and roll on civilisation.

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Current Mood: stressed stressed

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Comments
redbird From: redbird Date: 11th April 2006 23:47 (UTC) (Link)
*hugs* and maybe a cup of tea? Prepared by me in a smoke-free (though cat-fileld) home.
quiet000001 From: quiet000001 Date: 12th April 2006 00:24 (UTC) (Link)
hey, that's the same kind of allergy I get to certain foods. (Like, preservatives or something.) Not quite to that degree most of the time, but that's probably due to the degree of exposure.

I tried to explain it to an allergist once and got looked like as if I was nuts.

I'm trying to think if there might be some kind of special arrangement that could be made reasonably that would help out, but not coming up with anything atm.

Have you tried face masks? I don't know if they'd filter out the problem bits or not.. (I've got a bunch of disposible ones that Nephsister ordered to be delivered here when she was working in Hong Kong during the SARS thing, if you wanted to try it out.)
From: hattifattener Date: 12th April 2006 02:28 (UTC) (Link)
There's something in some restaurant food that makes me produce more mucus than usual — fortunately, for me, it's just a mild annoyance, but I've noticed the effect. I wonder if it's the same substance.

Re the mask, I've occasionally tried to convince jinian (who's also sensitive to cigarette smoke) to just wear a full gasmask, on the grounds that in some places it'd even be fashionable, but so far no success. I don't think the fiber dust/droplet/SARS masks would help enough, unfortunately. (And it might still be illegal to have a gas mask in Seattle. They could protect you from tear gas, you see.)
quiet000001 From: quiet000001 Date: 12th April 2006 02:34 (UTC) (Link)
Normally happens to me between immediately and 15 minutes after eating the food, makes me 'wheezy', for lack of a better term. There's crud in my throat and I have to clear it through coughing to breathe properly. (Rather than dry wheezing.) It's not like the reaction I know some people have to dairy, where they get kind of stuffed up. It's more immediate. Doesn't normally last long enough to be distressing in acute terms, but I generally feel more tired and generally crappy afterwards. (Kind of the same way you do if you're coming down with a cold or someting. THat general lethargy.)

The couple of times it's gotten really quite bad, my lungs started hurting, too.

It happens in response to preserved meats (ham, bacon, hot dogs) and a lot of ready prepared stuff, so I assume it's some kind of preservative chemical or chemicals. But that sort of thing can be incredibly hard to pin down.
From: fluffymormegil Date: 12th April 2006 00:38 (UTC) (Link)
Here are *hugs*, then.
barakta From: barakta Date: 12th April 2006 00:39 (UTC) (Link)
Sadly the only solution until Non-Smoking-in-public-places day might be to wear full diving gear - although my brain seems to suggest you'd be allergic to the rubber :(

I know someone who wore full diving gear and breathed tanked O2 at a very smoky union clubnight. It is about the only cool thing that person ever did.

Bleh.
mhw From: mhw Date: 12th April 2006 00:59 (UTC) (Link)
Can't you get your doctor to refer you to a specialist allergist?
otterylexa From: otterylexa Date: 12th April 2006 01:15 (UTC) (Link)
*hugs*
From: kshandra Date: 12th April 2006 02:35 (UTC) (Link)
*hugs* and a mostly-facetious suggestion you move to CA.
ailbhe From: ailbhe Date: 12th April 2006 09:02 (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps you can go to Ireland to see them? Do they play in Ireland? Or Norway!

I am SO looking forward to summer 2007. I can't quite imagine how liberating it will be to be able to bring my kids anywhere I like to eat.
(Deleted comment)
judiff From: judiff Date: 12th April 2006 18:01 (UTC) (Link)
I hate cafe nerd (we always see the square o like it's a d) It is always way more smoky than any other cafe even like other mixed ones. (and there coffee is yucky)
i sometimes use a respirtaor in class but it makes me look like a mutant techno womble so it prolly would look silly at a gig.
The asthma nurse here seems more uderstdning about wanting to have a life.
i don't do hugs so have some bunnys instead
epi_lj From: epi_lj Date: 12th April 2006 23:59 (UTC) (Link)
*hugs*

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