Almost 20 years ago, our local High School (the one from which both my kids graduated), had a fire. It happened before we moved to California so I wasn’t around when it happened and I don’t know many of the finer details.
So why then am I talking about it if I don’t know what happened? I’ll tell you why. My friend (we’ll call her Lou) worked there during that time and as a result of that fire she was exposed to asbestos and has had multiple breathing problems since then and other medical complications. Asbestos exposure is linked to a very dangerous form of lung cancer called Mesothelioma. It can affect both workers and their families. Mesothelioma is most common in among workers in the shipbuilding industry, construction, auto mechanics, contractors, and demolition but just the exposure she had would be enough.
Lou (not her real name but yes she is a real person), ended up getting transferred to another high school in the city almost 5 years later, which is where we met. She has remained a school district employee and is now contemplating retirement. She has had more and more medical complications throughout the years, some of which have never been explained. Engorged swelling of her legs and hands (gout was ruled out, her salt intake diminished to nothing), a mini stroke or two (they aren’t saying for certain the second one was an actual stroke), insomnia, and so on and so on and so on.
I first saw information about Mesothelioma on the back of a city bus. My initial thought was OMG, I bet that is what is happening with Lou. So I read up on it and checked out the Wikipedia page which explains it as "a form of cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos". It goes on to explain the symptoms as "shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss".
Unfortunately (fortunately?) she doesn’t match those symptoms, as a matter of fact, she has put on weight and no matter of exercising and watching her diet seems to make it go away. So, with the further research I realized I didn’t need to rush out and refer her to a Mesothelioma Lawyer.
Lou remains in a state of suspension. Her symptoms are not commiserate with the asbestos exposure and her lungs have not been affected. The poor thing has been prodded and tested and poked and medicated. Perhaps one day, someone somewhere will figure it out. In the meantime, I will continue to be a friend and make her as happy and comfortable as possible.
Thank you great grandpa!!
7 years ago