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A Canary's Eye View — Challenges
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Public Transportation

As with any public place, the pesticides, cleaning products and "air fresheners"; scent from normal laundry products and personal-care products make this option impossible for me. Then add the exhaust fumes... !

A Car of One's Own

The last time a car I was using died, it took my husband and me over a year to find another I could tolerate. Here's the list I took to the used car dealers and people who advertised they were selling a car:

  • automatic transmission and power steering because of my weak arms and wrists
  • air conditioning, and in addition the ability to control the source of air flow:
    • to eliminate outside air or to admit it with AC on
    • to bring in fresh air from outside while heat is on
  • power windows so my weak wrists don't have to crank to let in fresh air that way, and so I don't have to lean over to get the passenger's window open for cross ventilation.
  • station wagon or passenger van (to hold my oxygen tank on a cart and a spare, my cooler for supplements and food every 2.5 hours, a small air filter for the car -- plus a bigger, room-sized air filter and bedding if I go somewhere overnight -- in addition to anything I might need to carry in order to do what limited shopping I do)
  • NOT cleaned (this one is hard; usually they've been at the car with smelly cleaning products before I get there)
  • old: at least 4 years old, and the older the better
  • a cigarette lighter to plug my car air filter into
  • no pine tree "air fresheners"
  • No previous smokers

Here's my list of other things to check the smell of when I look at the car:

  • ashtrays
  • carpet
  • windows
  • upholstery
  • heater
  • air conditioning

Even with all that, I react to a lot in the car. Arthritis-like aching and stiffness starts after about fifteen minutes, and gets worse the longer I'm in the car. If I keep the windows closed, I get drowsy. Oxygen helps, but fresh air is better. I drive back roads so I'm not in traffic, to avoid exhaust. And when I was trying to find the current car, the exhaust system on the old one had developed a leak into the heating system. Instead of running the heater, I wore heavy sweaters and coats, and kept a thick wool blanket in the car that I put over my lap like people used to long ago in sleighs.

Are you looking for a less-smelly car? Check out

copyright © 2001 and 2007 by Catherine Holmes Clark. Last updated 12 June 2007