I recently began a part time/mostly volunteer job tutoring English students – grade 3-Collegiate…and what a ride it’s been.
So far all of my students have been great people, and truly tolerant ones that try to work with me, my schedule, and my very iffy health.
But there is no denying this – when it comes to chronic disease in America, well “You just don’t get it, until you get IT.”
Despite the knowledge that I have severe food allergies – ALL – of my students eat near me, and most of them try to feed me.
Despite being told that any chemical scent at all will make me ill they all wear scented products. What I constantly hear is “I’m not wearing perfume/cologne!” and they’re not, but they are wearing deodorant, scented hand lotions, hand sanitizers, body gels, scented shampoos, or clothes laundered in dryer sheets.
Or they use air fresheners, or odor eaters, or have scented litter in their cat boxes.
And speaking of animals, even the ones that know I have animal dander allergies tell me things like
- Flummums is a chihuahua, not a dog. He’s really small so he can stay right?
- MeowMix had a bath just yesterday…or worse
- MeowMix just vent to the vet and is totally clean, she is even wearing flea stuff.
- Dane just wants to meet you, don’t you Dane?
And try asking them to wash their hands after you finally get them to put the animal in another room. Good luck with that.
One woman has multiple animals, multiple air fresheners, marinates in cologne and has no fans, no AC, and has her windows actually nailed shut.
But when we were negotiating and I explained my allergies she explained her house was perfectly safe.
I ended up pouring a case of Aquafina over my head and changing my clothes (I keep emergency set in my car) in a drugstore parking lot. So for $15 I risked my life and enjoyed some major public humiliation. Just cause this woman wanted a cheap tutor to help her cheat on some online courses.
Another issue is cleanliness.
I love a clean house. That’s great but please please please do not clean it while I am there!
Yes, I am allergic to all of your cleaning products, sprays, and even so called high end hypoallergenic products from EarthFare or WholeFoods are not actually “hypoallergenic” or even vaguely safe. Try reading the labels.
My house is clean. I use water, vinegar, baking soda, and occasionally dish soap. So seriously, what the heck?
On the other hand there are the people who make it worth it. And they are a real joy. I’ve made at least one and possibly two life long friends doing this…and genuinely helped two of my students…which is a major reward in itself.
So I guess the moral of this story is pick your battles but don’t chicken out, as there are so good experiences out there as well.