By Kim Goldberg
May 26, 2013
Electrosensitivity doesn’t just cause identifiable medical symptoms. It affects and often limits all aspects of people’s lives—shopping, employment, housing, friendships and more.
Laurie Corbeil has worked as a cleaning person in private homes and industrial settings for most of her life. But now, due to her electrosensitivity, she works just two days a week for one client who allows her to shut off all wireless devices while she is there.
“If not for this, I wouldn’t have any job. I am very concerned that when the smart grid is fully operational, I will not be able to work or even remain in the city,” says Laurie, referring to BC Hydro’s installation of smart meters across the province, a program expected to be complete by December 2013.
“I have an 81-year-old mom to take care of. What will become of us?” she asks.
Laurie developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) twenty years ago as a result of her exposure to chlorine and other cleaning agents while at work. And that condition has made her more susceptible to becoming electrosensitive.
Case studies show that people with MCS, or other chronic burdens on the immune system, are far more likely to develop electrosensitivity. The Environmental Health Centre in Dallas, Texas reports that, of 500 patients treated for MCS, as many as 80 percent of them also have electrical sensitivities.
Coffee shops, doctors’ offices and even Laurie’s own church are now off-limits to her because of wi-fi, cell phones, tablets and other wireless devices.
“Wireless exposure saps all my energy and later causes my mind to drop into a depression,” Laurie explains. “I can’t think at all when I am around it. I can hardly breathe, my left ear goes deaf, I get a blistering headache and double vision, my muscles tighten. I just seize up.”
Last year, Laurie purchased an RF frequency analyser for measuring the strength of wireless radiation. “I am now able to detect where there are high emissions and get away from them,” she says. “It’s a terrible game of avoidance day by day just to avert getting sicker.”
If every cloud has its silver lining, then for Laurie that lining consists of discovering the healing and protective power of forests.
“The most wonderful thing happened,” she recounts. “I discovered that while I am in the forest, I feel great! If only I could live in there. The trees are clearly a buffer against the ill effects of EMF. And being in dips below the trajectory of cell towers is also really beneficial.”
Laurie spends at least an hour every day in one of Nanaimo’s forested parks. She says the best local parks for relief from EHS symptoms are Colliery Dam Park, Hemer Park and Morrell Nature Sanctuary.
Each site offers a sizable forest of mature Douglas fir, Western Redcedar and Bigleaf Maple. And each site has a system of lakes and waterways, generating a protective field of negative ions.
At Colliery Dam Park, Laurie finishes her outing with a grounding session at a pool located at the base of a spillway in the bottom of a lush ravine. She sits on her favourite rock, kicks off her shoes, slides her bare feet into the water and rests them on a large underwater boulder for 30 minutes while misted from the spray of the spillway.
Then she scrambles back up the slope to return to her car in the parking lot, and to the world of invisible wireless radiation beyond.
Text and images © Kim Goldberg, 2013
(Laurie Corbeil’s story will be included in Kim Goldberg’s forthcoming book REFUGIUM: Wi-Fi Exiles and the Coming Electroplague, due out in 2015. Read more people’s stories here.)