Trapped In A Deathtrap

A month ago, I posted that levels of mold in our home were higher after professional remediation. While some levels dropped, others rose. The rise in the toxic black mold stachybotrys chartarum suggests dampness or moisture. In Arizona, that generally means a pipe leak. We’ve moved all the furniture and there is no sign of mold, so it must be behind the drywall, somewhere. Again.

As of one month ago, levels of mold were three times higher than is safe for habitation. It’s not safe for us to be here, yet here we are. Over the last few months, our symptoms have worsened and we’re seen increased dust particulates on surfaces and in our half-dozen HEPA filters. I’m sleeping from 5 or 6pm until my alarm goes off at 6:30 the next morning.

Three and four years ago, I was irritated by the fatigue. Now that I realize the root cause is 10-years of mold growth, quite likely, due negligence on the part of those tasked with keeping the community well-maintained, I’m pissed. I don’t get worked up, but I am angry.

But we’re trapped. We can’t afford the bills on our current home and medical bills and rent at another apartment or extended stay. We’ve been told we need to move and throw out everything we own, with the exception of maybe our stainless steel cookware. With what money? It feels like we’re trapped. All feels hopeless at the moment.

During our last two remediation efforts, we’ve stayed with my in-laws. They have made it clear that they think we’re lazy, not sick. I don’t know whether we would be welcomed again. My parents have a full house right now. Our friends are packed into too-small spaces with family or roommates due to rising costs of living. There aren’t many couches to crash on nowadays. And there is a three-year wait list for a cot at a homeless shelter.

Worse yet, our HOA and property management company are a nightmare. A neighboring condo reported a roof leak three months ago, and nothing has been done. The resident had to mop up the mess themselves. It rained the other day and their home re-flooded. That had to be negligence or carelessness, right? In what world is that acceptable?

Were we to report a suspected leak, we may be waiting six months for a response. We would need to self-fund the search-and-destroy effort. Our funds have been depleted for years. Each month, we determined what more we can cut to afford medical care.

And then, inevitably, wait for the next pipe leak.

For about one to two months post-remediation last summer, I started to feel better. I am desperately clawing to get back there. I am sick and I am tired, and I am done with being sick and tired. I have been dealing with this mysterious ailment, along with (presumably) labels of “psychosomatic” and “hypochondriac,” for eight years. For my boyfriend, twelve years. A decade living in a highly-toxic environment, suffering tremendously while being told there is nothing wrong. My twenties and his 30s, lost.

I just want my life back.

Four years ago, I started this blog as a space for inspiration, critical thought, and hope for the future. There has been a significant deviation and, for that, I apologize. However, I’m glad I have this space as a sounding board. It makes me feel much less alone and, perhaps more importantly, allows me to revisit memories that my brain hasn’t held on to.

As mentioned, I’m sleeping whenever I’m not working. I likely won’t be posting much until that changes. Sending love to all, and hoping 2022 is treating you well so far!

9 thoughts on “Trapped In A Deathtrap

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  1. Oh my gosh I am so sorry to hear about your worsening plight.. that’s terrible that there’s nothing the HOA will do to assist. There’s no ombudsman in your city you can write to or call to try to right this wrong? I know it seems far off but perhaps even writing into a news station and let them know what’s going on? I feel like it’s not just your apartment but sounds like the whole complex?

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    1. It’s ridiculous. Our HOA fired the property management company and the new one doesn’t start until late April, so 4 months with no on to help. We’re talking to an attorney and may reach out to the city or a news station. The whole complex is a mess… there’s an elderly couple whose unit flooded 3 months ago due to a roof leak and it *still* hasn’t been repaired, and it rained last week and their home re-flooded. Our home is in the the BEST location, but it’s probably not worth it to deal with this nonsense.

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      1. We had our follow-up testing a couple of weeks ago and finally got the results which show a huge reduction. There is still a little in the basement but it is within an acceptable range. We’ll move one of our air filters down there. I hope that you are able to recuperate in the new housing. Take care.

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      2. I know this is a late response, but so glad to hear your results have shown such a reduction. I hope that you’re able to make a full recovery and keep everything in check.

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    1. My understanding is that mold adheres to dust. Dust may be tiny particulates of cellulose, on which the mold settles and “feeds” (or obtains energy to spread from). Dust may be totally innocent but if you have concerns, we did testing through EnviroBiomics, which was recommended by our doctor and looks for DNA of mold in a dust sample.

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