A Minnesota man whose wife is allergic to everything - including her spouse - has asked for prayers for healing after she collapsed in the home he spent a year renovating for her.
According to Fox 9, Johanna Watkins, 29, had been living in friend's master bedroom, which was wrapped in plastic with the windows sealed for the past year while her husband, Scott, worked to transform their new home with new paints, new floors and new furniture heated to mask any scents that could make her sick.
Diagnosed with mast cell activation syndrome, which causes cells to release the wrong chemicals in the immune system to the wrong place at the wrong time, Johanna is dangerously allergic to food, chemicals, the outdoors, dust and hundreds of other things. Even worse - she's allergic to the scent of most people, including her husband and parents.
Hoping to create a better life for his family and driven by his love for his wife, Scott, an elementary school teacher, worked tirelessly to renovate his home, even building his wife a bedroom to include a positive-pressure system to keep the air fragrance-and allergen-free.
However, despite Scott's best efforts, the intensity of the day and scent of the new pipes caused Johanna to faint the moment she arrived in her new home.
"Johanna passed out as she entered her 'safe space'", he wrote on the couple's Caring Bridge page. "The smell of her space triggered her and she lost consciousness. This was not the picture perfect moment (despite the TV cameras outside) we were waiting for. This was life or death. Johanna was in the space and there was no going back."
While Johanna regained consciousness shortly after passing out, she was unable to move from the loveseat for four days. Scott revealed that the smell of the pipes from the bathroom is so strong that her bedroom has become inhospitable.
"To the regular nose it has no real smell, to my nose it has a slight smell, but to Johanna it has a STRONG smell," he said. "A smell that makes her so sick and triggered she has needed help walking to the bathroom and has required around the clock care from her siblings. To adapt Johanna has stopped breathing through her nose. It only helps slightly. At night she also breathes through her mouth, a skill that you might not think possible, but would believe when you know the pain Johanna experiences when triggered by a scent."
Continuing his update, Scott explained that his wife is still very sick - even too sick to visit the doctor - but is slowly building a tolerance to the new house. The air filtration has to be intensified and it has more windows than her previous space, which could trigger a reaction. Scott said he has covered the windows on the first floor where she is staying, while he lives upstairs.
Despite the devastating circumstances surrounding them, Scott said he and his wife "truly look around everywhere and see and hear how God has provided magnificently for us."
"We're in survival mode," he wrote. "Please pray God would send his Spirit and comfort and encourage all of us. And that he would heal Johanna."
He added, "Please pray for future medicine decisions. These choices are complicated and fraught with risks. This has been a strange four days. For me it's been filled with thankfulness and stress and sadness and suffering and attempts at hope."
To follow Scott and Johanna's story, click here.