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My Cellphone, a Portable Headache Trigger

I manage my environmental triggers as well as I can. At restaurants, I double check to see if there are nuts in a dish. I stay clear of toiletries and cleaning products at the grocery store. I switch seats at movies to get away from smelly neighbors.

Then I spill tea on my cellphone. After many attempts at resuscitation, I replaced it with a pretty pink Razr from eBay. The new phone just arrived and seems to work fine. I don’t know for sure because I can’t hold it up to my face to talk on it. It reeks of perfume.

The crazy thing is that I wanted a red phone until I found out that they aren’t manufactured in red, but painted by a third party company. Wanting to avoid the potential for paint fumes, I chose a different color.

Should I have foreseen this danger? Would I have a stink-free phone if I’d gotten it in silver? Like I have enough control over the world to keep from getting a perfumed phone.

The moral of the story: It’s impossible to avoid all potential migraine or headache triggers. No matter how hard you try. Don’t beat yourself up! (Kerrie, that means you.)

Any suggestions for removing odors from plastic? I’ve already wiped it down with hydrogen peroxide. We don’t have rubbing alcohol; maybe vodka?

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Jackhammers, Diesel Fumes, Tar and a Headache

Jackhammering. I awoke to jackhammering at 7 a.m. Not the metaphorical kind — no, my head feels more like someone is drilling for oil in my brain — but the dig-up-your-entire-neighborhood kind. Road construction complete with idling diesel engines and, the creme de la creme, tar.

Don’t these people know that I need at least eight hours of sleep and my alarm goes off at 8 a.m.? That their smells trigger bad headaches or migraines? That the cacophony of heavy equipment makes it all worse? That the beeping of the walkie talkie-like cell phones, a staple of the industry, is enough to make me tear my hair out?

Like it matters to me if the neighborhood has better water pressure and streets. Harumph.

If I were writing this yesterday, I would have reminded myself that I can’t move the roadwork, but I can make myself not unhappy. Some days grumbling is a prerequisite to finding a solution. Especially when I’m tired (because a jackhammer woke me up at 7 a.m. . . .).

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Scented Police Officers

Lemon- and rose-scented uniforms are on order for police officers in Ahmadabad, a city in western India. The goal is to make officers “sweet smelling and sweat free” despite the vicious heat the city has half the year.

What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea. I hope doesn’t spread to the US.

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The Nutty Lady at the Coffeehouse

That’s me. I bounce from one table to the next as new people sit down. Once I even shifted all my stuff to a new table, started to sit in the chair and then moved everything back to one seat over from where I just was. It’s not like I just moved my latte back and forth. I also have a computer, iPod, water bottle, bag and sweater.

I needed to escape from someone’s perfume. It’s a sickeningly sweet floral-ish scent, which would be disgusting even if it weren’t a headache trigger. I’m having a good day; there’s no way I would wreck it in the otherwise lovely coffeehouse.

The perfume is being overpowered by garlic sauteed in butter. That smells fabulous, but the cloying scent has already done its damage. And the woman across from me just put on lotion. . .

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Cinnamon Invasion

At my biannual tooth cleaning this morning, the hygienist tried to polish my teeth with cinnamon toothpaste. As soon as I smelled it, I jumped even higher than I did when she sprayed a sensitive tooth with cold water, then asked incredulously, “Is that cinnamon?” As if using cinnamon toothpaste is completely beyond the realm of acceptable behavior.

I’d already had her get Vaseline for my lips (so they wouldn’t crack while she was cleaning) and put on latex-free gloves (they give me cold sores), so I hated to be even more high-maintenance, but there was no choice. After a look of shock passed over her face, she kindly offered me a choice of cherry, mint or orange toothpaste. But she did complain that she’d already loaded the tool with cinnamon.

It seems like such a small thing, but for me it was disaster averted. If only I could convince grocery stores and gift shops that cinnamon-scented wreaths and air freshener are harmful to my health. The onslaught began a couple weeks ago with fall decorations and will continue through Christmas. Ugh.