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Chemical Sensitivities: Bleach

A couple weeks ago I had two Lysol exposures in as many days. Today, it’s that American standby: bleach.

I found a wonderful chicken and vegetables dish in the next town over. I’d been craving vegetables — not just a salad, but green beans and asparagus and kale and chard.

As I waited for the food, someone propped open the women’s room door with a bottle of bleach and went at it. I knew I could not indulge in wishful thinking; bleach requires immediate action or I’d be in bad shape within minutes.

Explaining the situation, I asked the waitress if they could close the restroom door. That wasn’t much, and might not solve the problem, but it was something. And even better solution was available, though. The waitress moved me to an outdoor table, where I enjoyed the meal.

Afterward I stopped at a wifi spot and discovered my laptop had no charge. The car battery charger I bought a few weeks ago now works only 20 percent of the time, and only if I jiggle the wire and hold it. So I decided to go to another restaurant, plug in the laptop (with its regular power charger) and have a beer.

Halfway through a waitress walked by with a wet rag and the smell of bleach wafted through the air. I cringed. But the smell left with the waitress’ rag. I was able to continue to work. And to write this.

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