Recurring Bronchitis

Physical problems often accompany PTSD. Many with PTSD also are diagnosed with fibromyalgia for example. I’ve overcome many of my physical problems including fibromyalgia while becoming certified to apply the emotional regulation process to somatic problems. But I still have problems with my lungs, not because of PTSD but because I was exposed to World Trade Center dust for nearly a year.

I will probably never know while alive if my lungs contain microscopic particles from the dust of 9/11. But after I die, I want someone to look at them to see what particles might be there. My guess is that there are certain hydrocarbons stuck in there. I read an article stating that autopsies of 9/11 victims showed tiny particles in their lungs. They’re not visible to the naked eye, and there is currently no inexpensive or noninvasive way to check a living person. I don’t react to pollen much, and dust might make my nose run, but when certain odors enter my pulmonary system, I become bedridden.

Bounce. I like that word, but I dislike the product. Two days ago while walking Penny we walked past a row of houses where one house had the dryer running. The smell of Bounce wafted through the air and my nose. I just thought, “Yuck. That’s plastic fabric softener,” and continued on our way. Not long after, maybe within an hour, my lungs got heavy developing bronchitis. I could feel fluid building up in my bronchioles and soon, speaking was a struggle. The next day, yesterday, I was in bed barely able to move as my immune system decided to fight the plastic fragrance invasion. It felt like the flu. I wore a hat and scarf and laid myself beneath a mohair blanket. (Found the blanket at an estate sale. What a bargain find. Mohair must be the warmest animal hair. Highly recommend.)

I can imagine particles of plastic fragrance sticking to the alleged particles lodged in my lungs.

Fluid comes up and it’s all clear. No infection. No cold. No flu. As the fluid reaches my nose, I constantly reach for tissues. Once in a while some phlegm coughs up. Again, all clear.

Recently I received a letter from the World Trade Center Compensation Fund. I didn’t qualify for compensation because I had no proof showing that I was in lower Manhattan on 9/11 or the months after.  People living in Brooklyn did not qualify. The letter stated that I could appeal the Fund’s decision. I didn’t bother. But today I wish I did appeal. My lungs are hurting from coughing, and yesterday I lost nearly a full day of work feeling too shitty to do anything except lie down and stare at the computer. Talk about lost productivity due to illness.

Back in 2002 I lost my last full-time job until 2013 instigated by chronic bronchitis. I developed chronic bronchitis because FEMA would not give me an air purifier or filtered air conditioner.  To think of how many work hours are lost every year because FEMA would not help New York City residents keep the air in their homes clean unless they already owned an air purifier or air conditioner makes me mad. How much money is lost in the country because of illness compared to the $500 maximum allowance for an air purifier? I had chosen not to have an air conditioner in favor of a view out my window. But I needed that appliance for 9/11. How could I have known? I wonder how many other people were denied air purifiers and developed breathing problems. At least the Zadroga Act pays my 9/11-related medical bills if I have any. Instead I choose natural remedies over western medical options like Albuterol or antibiotics. Sometimes I go to see if there have been any advancements.

I used to get bronchitis every time I got a cold, which was frequently. But now I rarely get colds, thanks to probiotics such as those in kombucha. Now when I get bronchitis, it’s not because of an infection but because of something chemical in the air. How long will it take consumers to become aware of the plastics in their everyday products? Will they ever realize how harmful they can be? The fertility rate among men is at an all-time low, and plastics — most of which contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals — have everything to do with it. For me, these plastics cause inflammation in my lungs. Who else do they affect? Please share.

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