Sensitive sniffer feels excluded from invite

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December 6, 2019 - 4:17 PM

Dear Carolyn: I recently had cancer surgery with a number of complications, including severe asthma. It is triggered by, among other things, the slightest exposure to fragrances.

Months ago, my beloved partner of nine years and I scheduled a multiday visit with his brother and sister-in-law, at their invitation. They are very well-off and have a grand house in a beach community. Sister-in-law has been communicating often about how excited she is to have us as guests. We have stayed with them in the past, every three years for a brothers’ reunion.

A few days ago, I recalled her flair for decorating includes bowls of potpourri, plug-in air fresheners, candles and a permanent holiday tree laden with scented ornaments. I contacted her and said I understood this might be perceived as a lot of drama, but I must avoid triggers that cause my airways to shut down.

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