It’s not in my mind, it does matter

For years, folks have often poked fun at my sensitivity (read that as active dislike) of perfumes, potpourri, air fresheners and their ilk.
Some have even hinted that it is annoying to be with me during certain situations because of my breathing problems.

Today I was on schedule to work 8am to 12noon as a TA one-on-one with a 6th grade student.  I won’t say Sub because the position is newly created and nobody has been hired permanently.  Actually, since I am already Certified as an Educational Paraprofessional, I was the first TA they asked, but I like setting my own hours for being available as a substitute.

Anyway, the kid and I got through class hours 1 and 2 and 3, and managed pretty well, aka I didn’t nag and he didn’t sass.

Between 3rd and 4th hour, he refused to go straight from his locker to the classroom.  He walked down to the end of the hall and back twice.  I waited by the door of the room, and he was willing to enter just as the bell sounded.

I got about 10 steps inside, myself, and realized I had a problem.
Air Fresheners for smell, every inch of wall space was covered with posters, the Smart Board projector was on and glaring.

This was a Math class, yet no way would my ADD mind be able to concentrate.

My first priority was the air fresheners.  My throat was already beginning to close, my eyes to water.

I got back out into the hallway just as a Resource Teacher was coming in.  She realized there could be a medical problem as I slid down the locker and sat on the floor, gasping for breath.

As she knelt beside me, she reached for my bag, asking if I had an inhaler.
I shook my head, that I would be a okay, I got out of the room quick enough.
The air fresheners caused an allergic reaction.

Then the sneezes started.  It’s so embarassing to sneeze 12 times in a row, each one a bit louder than the last, especially when the hall is echoing.

I sat there for a couple minutes, then as I got to my feet, I told her I didn’t think I could go in there and sit.  She said someone else had turned off the air fresheners in the outlets, but yeah, the smell would still linger.

Since I was to be done by Noon anyway, she would cover the last 45 minutes.

I slowly made my way to the Nurse’s Office.  I mentioned to her that a public school building has standards for indoor air quality, and so I was not expecting this situation at all.  And this is one that a teacher maybe should comply.

I wiped my nose and upper lip with an alcohol swab, and waited a few minutes before trying to drive home.

Even outdoor air in the parking lot could not undo the effects.  I’m tired, and my ribs ache from forcing out sneezes.

My plans for a fun afternoon off have been altered.

I need a nap.


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