Yet another allergen identified in Wesley. Bummer.
God. He’s so funny.
I’m not cursing here, I’m literally talking about God’s sense of humor, which, at times, seems extremely ironic.
Martin came to me last night and said, “Holy revelations, Batman!” And I said, “Kapow! What is it?” His eyes wide, he said, “Wes’ asthma. Christmas tree.”
It sunk in in about 0.000002 seconds. Of course.
On top of my illness (which is on day #10 now), and Audrey’s month-long diarrhea (which I think is related to the amaranth flour in the 2 billion cookies I baked this month), Wesley has been having daily asthma attacks since early December. Since discovering that dairy was at the heart of his severe asthma last March, and we went dairy/casein-free, it had literally been months since we’d used his SVN/nebulizer/breathing machine. But for the last month or so, it’s back up to 1-3 times a day. I can remember that the night we brought the tree home, we had to give him a breathing treatment. However, we’d been out in the chilly, rainy night, and we thought that was the culprit. I guess not.
On top of the Christmas tree connection, Wesley has really struggled to breathe in our family’s last two trips to Colorado — the pine-filled, lovely Colorado.
I’ve done a little looking online, and it turns out that there’s even been documented, published medical studies of the increased incidence of asthma in pine sawmill workers. Since pine pollen is fairly large and coated with a waxy substance, the pollen isn’t usually the culprit. It’s the chemical outgassing of pine turpenes — chemicals that make that lovely piney smell. Pine turpenes are also a known trigger for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) symptoms. Wes doesn’t have MCS, but obviously, other people have had documented difficulty with pine turpenes.
The reason this is so funny/not-funny to me is that I’ve sworn for years that I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever get a fake Christmas tree. I adore the whole process of shopping for a tree, struggling to get it straight in the stand, and the pungent pine scent which fills the home for weeks. I even like the pine tar stains on our leather work gloves, and vacuuming up pine needles for weeks after the tree is gone. The Christmas tree — REAL Christmas trees — are just such a wonderful part of our Christmas traditions, and I cannot fathom having a fake tree in our home. I think I need to repent of thinking less of any family who has a fake tree. (Humbled, yet again.)
But, as both Wes and Grant were weeping over not having a real tree (they heard me talking about it on the phone with Martin this morning), I had to explain that Wesley’s ability to breathe trumps having a real tree, and that is that, unless we hop him up on Benadryl all December or something, which I am loathe to do.
So, right now, at the curb of our home, is this year’s Christmas tree, awaiting our city’s free pickup service. Perhaps (sigh), it’s our last real tree. Although this page suggests that a person allergic to spruce may not be allergic to fir; IOW, evergreen tree allergies can be very specific. So, I guess we have 11 months or so to determine what to do.