Sunday, April 24, 2011

Doom of the Broom: Why Cleaning Should Not Be a Burden

Cleaning up my room will always be a part of my routine. But cleaning can also be a struggle for me since I developed an allergy on dust and dust mites when I was a kid. When I was in elementary, it has been a habit for me to do a general cleaning in my room about twice a year. I use a broom, rag, mop, then apply floor wax after. Everytime I do the cleaning, I would always sneeze a lot, catch cold and my palate gets really itchy. I acquired a severe asthma beginning my first year in high school. I never understood why it’s happening to me, but it has been really difficult to do a major-major cleaning with unstoppable running nose. One roll of tissue paper I am able to use in one day from the moment I start cleaning. I would ask others in the house if they also experience it. Then I realized that I’m alone showing the symptoms. They also sneeze and catch some cold, but not as grave as mine.

Dust mites are microorganism and cannot be seen by the naked eye; they can be deadly

A few years after, I would already wrap a face towel around my nose down to my mouth to protect me from dust. I would also use a dust mask. I didn’t know yet about dust mites until maybe I reach high school. I cannot really remember. I started using Lysol because I believed it can kill 99.9% of germs and can also destroy dust mites. Lysol is a disinfectant spray that does many things, besides making our house smell nice.

Since I would clean a lot, using a broom will never be out of sight. Yes, there will be rags (both dry and wet), tissue papers (for cleaning tiny and narrow spaces and for my nose), but the brooms (both big and small) will always come in handy, plus a small dust pan.

Over the years suffering from this condition, I started to develop clogged nose and ears because I also blow my nose hard. It has affected my school and work. It has affected my moods a great deal. It has affected my breathing, speaking and singing.

In 1996 onwards (during which my condition has gotten to worse), my co-fellow tenor in the church choir would sometimes reprimand me because I would falter in my tones. I would swallow my saliva, wet the insides of my nose with water, drink liquids sporadically. Imagine someone deaf and mute that could speak and hear briefly -- that’s me. My nasal passages can get really narrower and smaller. Same with my hearing, as if there’s cotton in my ears. But nothing could appease me when this condition already sets in.

My ENT doctor at Healthway in Alabang Town Center told me in 2001-02 that I have allergic rhinitis. From then on, I started reading about allergic rhinitis. Everytime I visit my doctor, he would use an instrument to suck the extra mucous inside my nose. The doctor told me that allergic rhinitis is incurable. I was very anxious of my state. There are however medications that can control it but it will stay on forever.

I have been looking for that doctor ever since. Unfortunately, I forgot his name. I've been looking for him because I liked the way he treats his patients. I don't know where he is now.  He has left the clinic in 2003 or 04. He's the best ENT doctor I’ve ever had! He doesn't check the time if the consultation takes longer - even for 1.5 to 2 hours. He's not making presumptions/ guesses on my condition. He said that the kind of allergic rhinitis I have is rare (instead of wet rhinitis to most patients, mine can oftentimes be super dry). This condition has greatly hampered my daily work & activities and has affected my moods, hearing, speaking & breathing.

Since my condition is incurable, though can be treated, he advised me to choose among the three (3) options to alleviate this: (a) nasal spray which can be used forever, but can be costly in the long run; (b) a certain type of injection that must be administered once or twice every 3 wks for 1 whole year. And each syringe would cost around P2,000 (this was in 2002); (c) Since my nose is clogged, my hearing is affected. So an ear operation can be another option - to unclog it. He told me that it could be dangerous because it's near my ear drum. Although all his ear operations done were all 100% successful, he said, I got scared. I thought that it’s also very costly! This doctor really understands his patients well. He could even convince me to go on for the operation since he would be making a lot of money out of it, but he never advised me to go for it. I was short on a budget and I’m scared to break my eardrums. It can’t be, I thought to myself.

 This is not the actual product used

In the past 2 decades, my parents bought a vacuum cleaner. We thought that it was best and timely to have it so that we could easily clean our big carpet at the sala. Our carpet had always been attacked with dog hairs. Our dogs would stay in our sala during the day, and they just love rolling over our carpet. The carpet looked very dirty with all the hairs sticking on it. We were taking out the hairs by hand - every strand of it, as if there’s no tomorrow. I remember that we tried cleaning it using the vaccum cleaner but it didn’t stay for long because the machine was very big, bulky and super heavy. This is the kind of vacuum cleaner we usually see janitors use in buildings. You can imagine how difficult the old vacuum cleaners can be and how tiring it could be for the user. I don't know where it went. Maybe my parents sold it already.

I have asthma. This has also aggravated my condition of allergic rhinitis. So dealing with dust and animal hairs can be very troublesome. A broom or walis tambo is not enough. I need change. I want to start the doom of the broom. I need help, please!!!

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