I haven't done this before, but at least one reader expressed concern about my wife's recent health problems, so I figured I should report. She is doing better. Not any cut-and-dried cause, but it looks like a familiar suspect. Miriam had a brief hospital stay almost five years ago--heart-attack symptoms, but no actual heart attack, low cholesterol, no blocked arteries. It turned out to be formaldehyde poisoning--she had had a small business making tents for historical reenactors (we've done some of that ourselves since 1993). Some of the canvas was treated with a flame retardant containing formaldehyde. We had figured out that every time she made a flame-retardant tent she got another kidney stone; but in early 2003 some other things pushed her over the edge, and she got really sick. Formaldehyde doesn't cause hives or sniffles; it interferes with liver and kidney function. We did find a doctor who recognized it and helped, but it took a long time to de-tox from the experience. She is still very sensitive to a lot of chemicals--even latex paint bothers her for a couple of weeks after it is applied.
Last winter Miriam got a job selling flowers at Costco here in Indianapolis, as a contract employee for the flower wholesaler. She liked the job, enjoyed being around people, had some play for creativity. But there is a strong possibility that the dyes and pesticides used on the flowers are bothering her. She has given notice that she will not renew her contract next month, and her supervisor is looking for someone else to take over (supervisor is not happy about it; Miriam's sales were often among the best in the region, until she got sick). She is feeling much better after some rest and de-toxing activity, and around February she'll look for a new job.