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Struggling for air, and a new home

Sunday 18 December 2011


From US publication the New London Patch:


Linda Getty
Linda Getty

Struggling For Air, And A New Home

New London resident, suffering from combination of illnesses, finds most indoor living intolerable

By Dirk Langeveld 5:00 am

Though Linda Getty rents an apartment on Fair Harbour Place, she hardly ever uses it. Suffering from a combination of medical conditions, Getty is unable to comfortably live indoors and often resorts to sleeping in her car.

“I have great friends but nobody knows what to do,” said Getty. “Nobody can provide me with a place to say.”

Getty, 58, was disabled in 1999 with a chest wall injury. She said she has suffered from breathing problems as a result, and that allergic reactions are especially problematic. Rather than a simple tightening of muscles, she said, allergic reactions lead to a severe crushing of the lungs.

Getty said the situation was tolerable until 2007, when she moved into an apartment in Jewett City. Here, she said, a ventilation system resulted in a number of different chemicals filtering into her residence. Her respiratory condition worsened, and she finally moved out of the building.

After this experience, Getty was diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity. This condition is characterized by a severe sensitivity and allergic reaction to different types of pollutants. According to a letter from Getty’s doctor, she suffers from serious respiratory symptoms with exposure to chemicals included in smoke, new carpets, and common building adhesives, among other things.

Getty began renting the apartment on Fair Harbour in April of 2010, but found that she had similar allergic reactions there. She said having the windows open for ventilation helped, but that nearby wood smoke triggered her reactions during the winter. As a result, she took to sleeping in her car or visiting late-night big box stores to avoid the reactions.

Getty’s doctor recommended in October of 2010 that she live in a “single, detached living unit built before World War 2 with hardwood floors (no carpeting) and good fresh-air ventilation.” Getty said there is a builder in Texas who puts together interiors for people with multiple chemical sensitivity, and she has been talking with a person in Lisbon about renting a trailer to own and renovating the interior in this way.

For now, however, Getty said she is back to the considering how to spend another winter. She said the same issues prevent her from staying for long periods of time at her apartment. The option of finding a place in the warmer climate in the South, where the irritant of wood smoke is not an issue, is impossible since she cannot afford two residences.

Getty said she worked as a substitute teacher and children’s storyteller until a few years ago, when the disability forced her to give it up. She is hoping to find assistance, and said a large church hall may be a suitable place for her to stay.

“I’d like to get this situation solved so I can move forward with my life,” she said. “You can’t live a normal life like this”

Getty may be contacted at 860-514-1919 or


The above originally appeared here.


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