Location: MICHIGAN, United States

Thank you for stopping by. It's my hope you find glimpses of my Savior interwoven thru my writings. I am the wife to one husband for over 25 years, a blessed mama to a dozen children, yes each born from me ~ two of which see Jesus face to face & ten at home, all of us yearning to see Jesus someday. We have been home educating for over 18 years with . . . well, another 15 years to go (the youngest is 3, the oldest 23!) I have walked through rejection, to continually learning I am CALLED, LOVED and forever KEPT by God - never, ever to be rejected by Jesus! (Jude 1:1) I've walked through deep sorrow to find that joy does come again, though the night may be long; I've witnessed God orchestrating miracles with my children still beyond my comprehension, & I am seeing new love forming as we begin a new road of older children finding life mates. My life has and is a journey, from the deepest, almost rock bottom pit, to stumbling through my faith and looking towards the ultimate climax of everlasting life in heaven. Will you be joining me here and there? ~ Loni

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Letter - risks of huffing, including helium (balloons)

We have learned a lot about different "breath games" that are played from young children in grade school making each other pass out, to groups of young adults playing breath games at a party. Along with that is various types of "huffing" and included in this is even sucking in the helium from balloons. I've done it as a young parent, until I heard the dangers of it. I received this e-mail and was given permission to share it.

From: "Aimee"

I have permanent damage from huffing..!!!

Hello everyone. (Sorry if this is kinda long I have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from using inhalants (sniffing fumes) and wanted to warn others about the dangers of inhalants -- also known as huffing, sniffing, bagging, or ballooning. I unfortunately know first-hand about the dangerous, life-ruining effects of inhaling chemicals from when I was 12. I am reminded each day, every day of the damage that I did to myself. (And I'm Not looking for pity, I'm just stating the facts as they are :) Those that mainly use inhalants tend to be anywhere from grade school to college-age. Chemicals used as inhalants are typically very flammable and can be extremely explosive.

Inhalants refer to any household or industrial product that one inhales to produce a cheap, quick high. Most think of inhalants as "just" another drug, however, they are actually very toxic poisons. These poisons, when inhaled, latch onto the fatty tissues in our organs in the brain (literally dissolving brain cells), kidneys, heart, and liver, continuing to do major damage! These poisons can put one at greater risk for developing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis (MS is when the myelin sheath that covers and protects the nerve cells wears away).

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas and whipped cream cans also called whippets) or helium (gas for balloons) may sometimes be present at college parties to be used as an inhalant(s). The students mistakenly believe that it's not the harmful poison that it actually is. (*When administered by a licensed dentist in a medical setting, nitrous oxide is relatively safe.) Examples of other inhalants include glues, paint, gasoline, air fresheners, perfume, any aerosol spray-can, inhaling air (gas) from a balloon to get that high-pitched sound with one's voice, and even burning incense. A father went on the Oprah Winfrey Show awhile ago and tragically told of how his younger daughter suffocated and died right on the spot, from inhaling air from a balloon to try to get that high-pitched sound. Her parents were unfortunately not aware of the risks and now she's gone!

A person can die or become permanently disabled the 1st time or 10th time! Just a couple months ago, a teen from South Jersey died while huffing at an outdoor hangout with a friend. And that's with all of that ventilation! How sad and frightening. Someone recently posted to me on a message board of how her best friend's brother died from huffing when his lungs literally froze-up!!

Why did I do something so stupid and reckless? I feel that I mainly huffed to self-medicate. I'd had depression and anxiety most of my life (and still do), and I was trying to find a way to feel better mentally. Inhalants can actually be physically and psychologically addictive.

As a result of my inhalant use/TBI, to this day, I deal with the long-term, irreversable effects which include: Severe memory loss,Severe dizziness (feels as bad or worse than the flu), Chronic fatigue, Nystagmus (involuntary, quick eye movements) indicating Damage to the Cerebellum in my Brain (cerebellum's responsible for balance and coordination, which I also have trouble with), and the nystagmus can make it very difficult to read words and focus on objects, Dysarthria (problems saying words), Word-finding problems (finding the right words when wanting to speak -- even simple words), Severe reading comprehension problems, Written and Auditory (hearing) perceptual problems, Poor attention span and ability to concentrate on various tasks. I have Severe panic attacks and depression.

I have a lot of Nerve damage/numbness to my face, hands, and other areas and have Trouble Smiling due to the Nerve damage. I also have Severe Grating at the back of my neck when nodding my head up and down, most likely due to Damaged Bone Marrow (the fatty inner tissue that lines the bones). So yeah, I'm pretty messed-up!!

What kinds of things am I Unable to do now and/or do Not enjoy anymore because of my inhalant injury/TBI? I am no longer able to enjoy and have difficulty riding a bicycle, swimming (I was an avid swimmer), going on amusement rides, swinging on a swing, dancing, exercising, skating, even just sitting in a chair can be tough because I can Actually physically feel the damage to my brain and bone marrow. Walking can even be difficult along with the other activities because of the severe dizziness that I have and poor balance and coordination. So the quality of my life has obviously gone waaay down due to my wanting to self-medicate by huffing.

Please, if you find yourself even thinking of doing this as a way to perhaps self-medicate and/or self-destruct (or conform to others), Don't! Talk to someone that you trust: a teacher, friend, clergy, counselor, parent, or guardian. Perhaps you can go to a free support group such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). (Please feel free to print this out to show to others or such.) And please keep in mind that no one is immune from trying huffing whether from a nurturing household or not, a straight-A student or not. Here's a website if interested in learning more about the dangers of inhalants:

Please try to find healthier more positive ways to deal with life on a daily basis.

Please take good care, Aimee

Additional websites:
Go Figure - Did Donald Duck Inhale Helium?
Helium Danagers
Sucking the Life From Your Child - The Dangers of Inhalants


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