So we lived in our former parsonage for 4 years. From the first day there was something wrong. We would walk through the house in bare feet and the carpet always felt damp. Our towels hanging in the bathroom always felt wet, even if they had just been hung fresh from the dryer. It was just so moist. We never knew why. Whenever we would mention it to the "committee" they would say it was just the area and just deal with it. Our house was surrounded by trees and it made it cooler, that's what we were feeling, they said. The bathroom wallpaper was peeling off when we first moved in, so I finished taking it all of the way off and then put new wall paper up.
Our last year there, about January, I developed cold-like symptoms. They lingered through my annual physical so I mentioned them to my GP and he said they were just allergies. He prescribed some allergy medicine, which I took, but I still got worse. Hubby told the "committee" that something in the house was making me sick. Would they please have the duct work looked at? Of course, they said no. By March I was miserable, went to my doctor again and he still insisted I had nothing more than allergies. By this time, my wallpaper in my bathroom was falling off again. That had never happened to me before. I'm good at home improvement projects. Hubby mentioned that to the "committee." They said I did a bad job, it wasn't the house.
Well, the first week of April I was taking my elementary kids on a field trip to a living museum where there was a lot of soot and fireplaces burning. Our class parent went along and she just happened to be the wife of the chief of cardiology at the hospital system. I say system because you need to think bigger than just a small town hospital. You need to think BIG BIG man. I was struggling to breathe and coughing and hacking and she got on the phone with him and told him what was happening. He told her I had to get to a doctor. I told him I had gone several times and been told it was just allergies. That's when he said he was sure I had pneumonia and he told me he would flag my records and told me to go to a specific Urgent Care. Of course, I'm stubborn, but sure enough, two days later I was there when I couldn't breathe. He had flagged my account because a PA walked into the room with my file looking a little overwhelmed and said, "It says here that you are only supposed to be seen by a doctor but we just had a major emergency walk in. I promise you I will take you seriously." And she did.
She asked me questions, took x-rays, poked, prodded, tested and talked to me about my house. She discovered that yes, I did indeed have pneumonia. Not just pneumonia, but Legionella pneumonia. More and more is being discovered about black mold and the toxins associated with it, but essentially it appears that the dampness in the house contained Legionella bacteria and the toxins in the mold weakened my immune system. She couldn't let me out of the Urgent Care until she got my oxygen levels up but she couldn't move me to the hospital because I wasn't sick enough. I spent a long time at that place.
When I finally got home I came home furious. We had been telling the church that the house had been making me sick and they had been blowing me off. But now I had the test results and a whole bunch of medical bills to prove it. Finally the head of the committee came over and looked at the bathroom. He discovered that the vent in the bathroom, which is supposed to vent out of the house, just stopped in the attic. It went NOWHERE. So black mold was EVERYWHERE. It was in thick layers throughout the bathroom ceiling and attic. So the solution: remove the vent altogether. They told us just to keep the bathroom window open. Bastards.
We moved out in June and the next family could afford to buy a high-powered dehumidifier which continues to pull out several GALLONS of water A DAY out of the house even today.
And I wish I wish I could say that that was all. But that's NOT all, no that's not all!
To be cont.