At around 5pm this evening, I started to wonder what I was going to write about for today’s blog post. It was a peaceful, uneventful day. I spent the day resting while Brett did laundry and went into town to get some work done. “Really nice for us, but boring for the blog.” I thought.
The most interesting thing I could think of was when the strong winds blew our blanket away. We laughed together as we struggled to get it back onto the broken canopy that we use as a drying rack. I thought maybe I could title the post “A Boring Day” and keep it short.
Little did we know what a crazy adventure awaited us tonight. As I already mentioned, Brett had gone to Pahrump this afternoon to try to get a little work done. I stayed behind so that I could keep breathing the pristine air. I was very relaxed. I sat in my chair for almost three hours without any awful symptoms to torment me. Then the winds started to pick up a lot and I got a little cold. I decided to decontaminate quickly so I could get in the tent.
Surprisingly, when I changed into my clean sleeping clothes I reacted to the pants. My legs immediately got a prickly, burning, itching sensation. The same sensation I had gotten from the new sleeping bag the other night. I took the pants off and wiped down my legs again. I got into the tent and the tingling burning sensation started up again as soon as I came into contact with the fleece sleeping bag I had used to line the new thick one. No way! Had the new sleeping bag contaminated everything?
This was not the first time I reacted to these particular items, both the pants and sleeping bag had bothered me last night as well. Brett washed them really well this afternoon though and it’s very unusual for something to keep bothering me after being washed with Downy Free and Gentle!
I went back to sit outside and felt much better even though the winds hadn’t calmed down. Brett sent me a text warning me to avoid inhaling dust however, especially because Valley Fever can be a risk in this area. So a few minutes later when the wind started to kick up dust into the air I went back into the tent. My throat started closing up immediately! What should I do now?! I decided to sit under the rain fly just outside the tent until Brett got back.
Meanwhile, Brett was overhearing some locals talking about a storm approaching. He quickly realized they must be talking about a dust storm! So he got in the car and set out towards our campsite immediately. When he pulled off onto the gravel road he saw a large wall of dust approaching. He couldn’t tell how far it had already come. “What if it’s already reached Ana?!” He sped drown the gravel road as fast as he could!
Because I was under the rain fly, I hadn’t seen the storm approaching and was quite calm when Brett ran over to me and said “We need to get out of here! Now!” I didn’t ask questions. I just rushed to the car and closed the door while Brett wrapped a shirt over his nose and mouth. He hurried to grab a few things and left the rest behind, including our sleeping bags.
We started driving toward Las Vegas while the cloud of dust followed behind us. When we had a moment to catch our breath, we decided to phone my family. My parents looked at a weather map online and informed us that the only way to get out of the dust storm’s path was to head Southeast into Arizona once we reached Las Vegas.
So we did just that. After three hours of driving we were safely out of the storm’s way. We stopped in Kingman, AZ to buy some blankets. Then we started looking for a place to spend the night.
We went all the way to Seligman, but when we got off on the exit a sense of doom and depression settled over me. I felt a strong inexplicable urge to get out of there! Other biotoxin illness patients have told me that an emotional shift like this is often an early warning sign of exposure. We didn’t want to take any chances so we left and tried the next exit. I got the same feeling there so we decided to drive an hour back towards Kingman.
We eventually found an exit in between the two towns that led to a dirt road with a nice open space where we could park for the night. I hadn’t had a chance to decontaminate since being in Seligman and was still feeling pretty bad emotionally and physically. Because I wasn’t feeling well, it was hard to tell for sure if the parking spot felt good to me. It was past midnight though, and we were exhausted! Since I didn’t have any obvious acute reactions we decided to go ahead and spend the night there.
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