A Cautionary DIY Tale

I feel like a right idiot – no change there for those of you who know me, but last night was exceptional even for my clumsiness!

I decided that I’d wax Miss L’s desk and I knew I had some clear beeswax wax in the cupboard from ages ago so I’d just use that.  I’d bought it ages ago – maybe 4 years ago and never used it. So grabbed a brush and started painting it on the desk, and it was all looking good. Then I knew I needed to wipe it off, so grabbed an old cloth and started wiping, took me like 10 minutes.

Washed my hands and then the tingling in my hands started……and then my heart started beating faster and then my breathing went funny and I started shaking. So I grabbed the tin, looked at the back and it said – always use with gloves, don’t come into contact with skin. It wasn’t beeswax….CRAP!

Decided to phone NHS Direct – had no idea what the number was, so had to try and google whilst shaking – that’s not easy!

Got through – after 5 minutes of ‘we’re busy, please wait’, talked to the woman at the end of the phone who them put me straight through to the ambulance service and I spoke to a lovely controller who calmed me down and told me a paramedic was on the way.

Miss L was being so brave, and texting Paul to let him know what was happening as he was on the train on the way home, and then she went and unlocked the door to let the paramedic in and keep watch that they were coming.

20 minutes came and went and I wasn’t getting any better, and Miss L was getting quite distressed. She’s seen on TV that ambulances turn up in 2 minutes, so I called a friend and she and her daughter came down to look after Miss L and me, I can’t thank them enough for that. It’s scary being on your own when something bad happens.

Luckily the wonderful paramedic turned up about 2 minutes later and stayed for nearly two and a half hours in the end to make sure that I was ok. He realised after I made him touch the wax that I wasn’t having a panic attack, and it was something to do with the wax, it gave him a tingle too. So he thinks it was an asthma/allergy attack (I’ve only had asthma 6 months so I didn’t know what it was – I normally have a cough) bought about by all the VOC’s in the wax.

Thankfully after a piraton, asthma spray and lots of care, I finally could breathe and stopped shaking about 3 hours later.  I can’t thank my friend Nicola and her daughter enough, Dan the paramedic and poor old Paul and Miss L for looking after me.  This morning I’m tired feel a bit sick still but my breathing’s ok and I’m not shaking – so all good in my book.

But you know from now on I’ll be reading the instructions of any products I use!





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  1. Oh dear Liz, I’m so glad you’re well. I bet you’re shattered this morning. Yes please do read instructions from now on!

  2. That sounded scary. Miss L really showed a lot of courage! I’m glad you are o.k.
    How about the desk? Can you touch it without getting the same symptoms?
    Take care,
    PS Our bathroom is almost done. Looks great! I will post some pic soon.

    1. She did bless her, she was so scared I felt awful 🙁

      To be honest I’m too scared to touch the desk to find out – which isn’t brilliant as it’s for Miss L! Luckily I only did one side, the top and top front bit. So at the weekend I’m going to get Paul (wearing gloves!) to rub off what he can and then re-wax it with a natural product which should I guess cover it up. *Fingers Crossed* xx
      Liz´s last Post ..A Cautionary DIY TaleMy Profile

  3. Glad you’re ok, that must have been scary for you and your daughter. Allergies are horrible – I get a lot of them, and after painting the utility room recently I came out with a huge rash on my face the next day. Nasty.

  4. Oh blimey that sounds awful, was reading it with my heart in my mouth!! Glad everything was ok (ish) in the end and well done to miss L!