“It’s like the invasion of the body snatchers movie.” That’s what one of my pals at the gym said a couple of years ago. It was part of his reply when I asked why he hadn’t been at the gym for several months.
My acquaintance said he went from being a busy, successful business executive to an unfocused, disorganized, apathetic person. He had difficulty making the most basic daily decisions and suffered from anxiety and insomnia. He contemplated committing himself to a mental institution. Instead of that, his wife finally convinced him to visit their family physician to get a professional opinion about his condition.
He was hospitalized and given a series of blood tests and an interview by his doctor and repeated the process with specialists in Omaha. He was diagnosed as suffering from Toxic Mold Syndrome. The family home was inspected and several colonies of black mold were found in the attic. The family temporarily moved into a motel while contractors removed the mold and reconstructed the affected part of the roof where mold had taken over.
My gym buddy had mostly recovered from his severe illness and was contemplating selling his house. He felt insecure about living in the place and, at the same time, was worried about the ethics of selling a home that once had black mold.
His story struck a chord of warning for me. My house had visible black mold in the bathroom. There had been a chronic leak in the roof around the sewer vent. Many attempts had been made to seal it, but the leak persisted. I had to place a bucket under the ceiling to catch rainwater that dripped after severe rain storms. The plaster and the wood slats had become saturated and never fully dried out. The mold grew in that friendly environment.
I consulted my landlord to voice concerns. I also mentioned the story about my gym buddy. Because the roof was scheduled to be reshingled after the most recent hail storm, my landlord hired a contractor to tear apart the bathroom ceiling and part of the roof to eliminate the damaged structure and replace it with new material. The contractor and the shingle installers were able to finally seal the roof around the vent. There have been no more leaks and there has been no more mold anywhere in the house.
Meantime, my acquaintance is still not fully recovered, but he is able to function almost as well as he did before being infected with the black mold. It turned out that parts of his brain had swollen due to the infection. The doctors explained that blood circulation to his prefrontal cortex had become severely restricted. Since his recovery, he periodically returns to visit a specialist in Omaha to monitor the lingering minor symptoms.
If you have black mold where you live or work, I suggest that you have it analyzed, and if it’s toxic mold take steps to eliminate it. It’s also a good idea to visit your physician and mention any concerns you have about toxic mold syndrome. Hopefully, you can be as lucky as me, and avoid infection.
The Blue Jay of Happiness suggests that you check out this link: http://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm