Behold this Dreamer: What
Happened to Marie ...
at a Southern Baptist University
As a child, Marie was very healthy and very bright and enjoyed a
loving and nurturing family life.
Having shown promise as an aspiring writer, musician and
songwriter with a fluency in four languages, Marie was recruited
by a number of universities.
In the Fall of 1977, after graduating from high school with honors,
she began her studies at Southwest Baptist University, majoring in
English, Linguistics, and Recreation.
She hoped to pursue her dream of founding an educational camp in
the Rocky Mountains for bilingual, inner-city, and refugee children.
At first, she earned straight A's, as she always had in the past. As
each year in college passed, however, her grades seemed to
inexplicably fall, and she could not understand why she was no
longer able to remember or think as clearly as she had previously.
She developed problems with spelling, foreign language vocabularies,
and pronunciation. She could no longer express herself well and
had difficulty writing and understanding what was said to her.
She had to drop her piano courses and later could no longer play
her guitar due to a strange and intermittent pain in her fingers
While at college she had no idea why, on occasion, she developed
gradually worsening bouts of flu-like symptoms, nausea, inexplicable
irritability, dizziness, lethargy, muscle cramps and spasms, numbness
and pain in her extremities, peculiar headaches in the center of her
forehead followed by sleep disturbances and nightmares, and
incidences of an odd tingling, burning and redness of the skin.
She was not aware at that time that the university routinely
pesticided not only the halls, but the rooms in her dormitory,
the cafeteria, the library, and the recreation, classroom, and
The University nurse dismissed her symptoms as the "dorm flu."
Administrators labeled her a problem student and warned her
parents, friends and employers that such symptoms resulted from
some moral failure, substance abuse, or even demon possession.
Marie, however, insisted that she had not been involved in any
wrongdoing and remained committed to completing her education.
After several attempts to finish her senior year resulted in the
return of the symptoms and the draining of her finances, Marie
was unable to complete her last semester. She was failed in all
of her classes and left the SBU campus in 1982.
Surprisingly, within weeks of leaving the campus, her symptoms
gradually diminished and her health improved.
Over the next several years, she noticed she could think clearly
and her academic skills returned.
Later, when Marie expressed interest in finishing school, the
University sued her and demanded that she pay some $4,000
owed on her student loan (for the incomplete semester) and
other expenses before being allowed to finish her degree or
transfer to another university.
In order to meet the university's demands, Marie established a small
landscaping and housecleaning service and worked for several years.
By 1988, she repaid the entire debt in full and reregistered to complete
her senior year and her degree.
Then on September 26, 1988, her life took a dramatic and catastrophic
change in course.
While she was attending class, she suddenly felt a sharp pain in the
center of her forehead and a complete loss of well being. The pain
was so intense that Marie was certain that she had been shot or struck
in the forehead.
As she checked her forehead for bleeding, she was suddenly overcome
with nausea. Stumbling from her seat near to the open door into the
hallway, she was enveloped by the mist of what she later learned
was the organophosphate pesticide, Diazinon.
The skin of her face redden and her skin began to peel. The pain in
her chest increased with each breath as her airways narrowed and
She was disoriented and unable to find the door. Her lungs, throat,
and eyes burned, her nose began to bleed, her speech and vision
She fell to the floor, which was still damp with pesticide,
arms and legs became numb. By the time she regained her footing
and reached the outside, she vomited and coughed up blood.
Other students from the class complained of similar,
When she reported to the school health clinic, the nurse explained
that she had had an "allergic" reaction and that the symptoms were
not dangerous and would subside quickly.
When Marie tried to find out which chemicals were sprayed, she
was told they were safe and nontoxic.
She returned several times during the next few weeks complaining
of coughing up blood, asthmatic symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue,
weakness, sleep difficulties, limb pain, muscle spasms, blackouts,
confusion, and seizures, but was reassured that without a fever, she
was well enough to attend class.
Time passed, but the pain did not go away.
It burned and hurt with each breath and, unfortunately,
has lessened but has never left.
Almost immediately, her doctors found that she had chemical burns
and pneumonia in her respiratory tract. Her initial physicians
prescribed the usual medications, but because of the intensity of
her exposure and response to it, she found that she could not
tolerate any of the previously well-tolerated drugs.
As Marie begun to correlate her previous symptoms to her prior
experiences at SBU and began to inquire about the possible toxicity
of the pesticides, the administration and faculty became more insistent
that she leave and in November 1988, she was forced to take an
"Incomplete" for all of her classes.
In retrospect, Marie began to realized that the mysterious health
difficulties which she had previously experienced on the SBU
campus were also what the nurse now referred to as "allergic"
Prior to attending college, Marie had been very healthy. The various
intermittent illnesses began shortly after she moved into the university
She discovered that the dormitories and other buildings were regularly
sprayed each month with pesticides. She began to suspect that the final
blow to her health occurred with this more massive pesticide exposure
in an antiquated and unventilated classroom building.
After the initial acute exposure, Marie was assured that pesticides
would no longer be applied during school hours.
But on January 30, 1989, when she returned to the Administration
building to complete some financial matters and register for two
special courses in the spring semester, she was exposed again as
a pesticide applicator was unfortunately spraying Tempo, Pyrid
and/or Diazinon in the hallway between her and the exit.
She had to pass through the contaminated pesticide nerve poison.
This second blow greatly intensified her previous symptoms and
tragically ruined her life and health.
As she later learned, the applicator had not been certified and the
pesticides were, in fact, highly toxic and many are now banned for
Under the Missouri
Pesticide Use Act 281.005 RSMO (Revised
Statute State of Missouri), if an uncertified applicator applies
pesticides in a building, he may be punished by a fine and/or
revocation of the business license of the applicator himself and
the business owner.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture refused to fully
A year later, Marie continued to be horribly ill.
When she was unable to return, her "Incomplete" grades were
converted and she was failed in all her classes.
Two years later, the asthmatic symptoms and daily chest pain from
cold, exercise, irritants, and odors, severe allergic reactions, weight
fluctuations, and other respiratory, gastrointestinal, menstrual, and
neurological symptoms persisted.
She was so ill, she could not attend school or work, think clearly,
or live an ordinary life.
She has repeated life-threatening episodes in spite of changing her
entire life style in an effort to avoid chemical exposures. She could
only eat non-pesticided foods, wear only organic cotton fabrics,
and had to be constantly on guard so she had no contact with the
many chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis.
Substances such as natural gas, scented body products, perfumes,
gasoline, plastics, polyester, tobacco, cleaning products,
deodorizers, disinfectants, cigarette and wood smoke, etc.,
and even the printing chemicals in certain books and newspaper
caused asthma and respiratory difficulties and were intolerable.
As time progressed, her reactions upon slight exposure to these
substances became worse -- life-threatening anaphylactic/
anaphylactoid shock, involving : rapid reddening and peeling
of the skin; narrowing and swelling of the airways to the lungs;
swelling of the skin, larynx, head, face, hands, feet, and other
areas; drastic changes in blood pressure; heart arrhythmia,
Her life had become a daily nightmare.
She cannot see people or go places because of her chemical allergies
and sensitivities. Her former friends do not care to be with her
because she is too ill and cannot do ordinary things.
She has no support system. She has no money and has received nothing
but illness in return for the $5,721 tuition (now $8,167 with interest).
She was given failing grades at school after the exposure
she was too ill to attend school or study.
And worst of all, she had totally lost her health and excellent memory.
What did her school say? She was warned not to speak to the
other students or community members about her concerns.
Her professors and the administration actively discouraged her
from receiving giving information to other students or receiving
What did the doctors say? The opinion of the specialists who
saw her were unanimous. She had obvious evidence of both a
chemical toxicity and chemical sensitivities.
Dr. Aubrey Worrell, Jr., a board certified allergist and an
environmental specialist, confirmed that her illness was compatible
with a toxic chemical exposure.
Dr. Thomas Callender, another neurologist, stated she had peripheral
nervous system damage and toxic encephalopathy from her SPECT
brain image. His testing indicated lung restriction and medical
problems affecting many body areas, including her nervous system
Dr. Gunnar Heuser, a Ph.D. M.D. neurologist, also confirmed that
she had multi-system complaints, as well as changes in her brain
and blood that were compatible with a toxic chemical or pesticide
exposure. He recognized that minute chemical exposures can cause
her to have dramatic changes in blood pressure and seizure-like
Dr. Jack Thrasher, an immunologist, said she had a weakened,
damaged immune system and autoimmunity which was consistent
with a pesticide or solvent exposure.
All of the specialists believe that she has suffered severe and
How is Marie now? She continues to be so ill that it is highly
unlikely she will ever be well. She continues to have numerous
medical complaints affecting many body areas.
She has multiple food, drug, and chemical sensitivities and allergies,
convulsions, severe asthma, headaches, nervous system damage,
heart abnormalities, fatigue, intestinal complaints, body swelling,
muscle pains, and immune system malfunction.
On the "very bad days," as when she is exposed to substances to
which she is now sensitive or allergic, she experiences severe
asthmatic symptoms, convulsions, seizures, heart difficulties and
often becomes unconscious.
On the "not so bad days", she continues to have difficulty walking
normally and using her hands; her extremities are no longer well
coordinated. She is sensitive to touch, sudden movement, bright
light, and sudden, loud, or unusual sounds.
On the "moderately bad" days, which occur several times a month,
she can't eat, the food keeps returning from her stomach to her throat.
She can't breath -- each whiff of inspired air causes chest pain and
burning. She has difficulty speaking, concentrating, and thinking. Her
extremities simply do not work well, and she experiences problems
walking and using her hands and arms.
Marie has been unable to leave her home during the past nine years
to go anyplace except for emergencies to the hospital.
Her life is ruined and without funds there is no way she can
possibly begin to regain her health or some semblance of a
The punishment does not fit the crime. She was merely sitting near
the door and later on, walking down a hall, when they were spraying
a toxic pesticide ... at a Southern Baptist University.
And they said one to another, "Behold this dreamer cometh."
Joseph's brothers (speaking of Joseph) while
plotting to capture and murder him.
~~ Genesis 31:19
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