It started just like any other Friday morning. Chatting with Robert, talking on the net to with my sister, enjoying the calm morning. Then the call came. The nurse informed me Brigid's lead levels were high... and well, not just high... almost toxic. She was measuring 37.5. They admit to the hospital at 45. She said someone from the department of housing would be calling me, and someone from the health department would be calling me to set up appointments for consultations and inspections on our home, our clothes, her toys, the soil, the water. Everything. And the Dr wanted to see her again on Thursday (the day we leave for Crosby, ND). They will do cognitive and physical tests to make sure they is no damage, and draw blood again.
Begin Mommy Panic Mode.
I immediately called our health and human services rep, who refereed me to call the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) or the health department. She gave me phone numbers, but didn't know much. I called the VNA first. The gal who deals with the lead cases (yes, they have a person who that's all she does, is deal with cases of lead poisoning. I imagine in this old of a town, there are quite a few old places that still have lead pipes and paint.) was on the phone, but the gal I talked to gave me the phone number of the housing authority. I wasn't about to wait for people to call me. I was going to get to them first. She took my name and phone number and said Michelle (VNA lead lady) would call me back. I called housing and got the number of the person who works for the state and tracks lead level cases (yes, we are now a "case" with the state) and left her a message.
Michelle from VNA called me back. We talked at length about measured I could take to help prevent Brigid from being further exposed. These included Vacuuming and dusting the entire house once (at least once if not more) a day, and wiping out any open window, sill, frame.. everything. And also wiping down anywhere there was exposed wood or wall. Daily. She is coming on Tuesday to meet with us, help us determine if the paint is lead, or see if Brigid has any toys that are a recall list, or might have lead in them.
Being the Panic Mode Mommy, I called the housing lady again, and found out I had left a message on her supervisors phone and he was out of town.. Good thing I called back. She got on the phone and talked with Michelle, and they coordinated for the people with the sample machine to come out on Tuesday morning also. They will take numerous samples from all over the house from all different kinds of things. Water, soil, paint, wood, dust, toys.... She said it would take a couple of hours.
So all that is happening on Tuesday. And there I sat, knowing there was poison in my home, and not knowing where it was coming from. My friend Lindy called and asked if I had used the home test? What? There is a home test out there for this? I had no idea. So I left the house in search of this home test. After 3 tries, Lowes had them. I bought a couple and preceded home to swab the suspects. My first swab was the window sill next to Robert's chair. The liquid was supposed to turn pink within 30 seconds if lead was present. The pinker it got, the more concentrated the lead. As soon as the liquid touched the under layer of paint next to the exposed wood, it turned bright hot pink. Great. That was all the confirmation I needed.
Robert and I thought what are we going to do? We can't stay here. So Robert got on the phone with the maintenance guy, and he agreed we should probably go somewhere else. He thought some of the apartments were open, but didn't know for sure. He told us to call the housing gal. She wasn't home but the baby sitter gave us her cell, and she was so wonderful and came to the school on a Saturday to see what she had and bring us keys. So we packed up some bags and boxes and moved to the apartments down the hill. We're hanging out in a two bedroom place. It's nice and clean, and lead free :) Hopefully being out of the house will bring Brigid's levels down.
So that is where we sit. Tuesday is meetings and sampling. We will know more then. If levels are extremely high they will advise us to move out and the school will have to make the place lead safe. Not sure what "lead safe" means, but that's what they housing lady told me. If that's the case I doubt we will be moving back in, given our time frame with first call.
We will keep you updated as to our journey with this, and Brigid's health. We are thankful for prayers and all the help and kind words we've received. Even in the mists of this all we can see God walking with us. Praises and thanks to Him. Now let's get the lead out!