Interview of Shelly Petit
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Before her Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) became debilitating, Petit was a multilingual school teacher and Girl Guides of Canada volunteer.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Social MovementsEnvironmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Before her Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) became debilitating, Petit was a multilingual school teacher and Girl Guides of Canada volunteer.
- Petit, Shelley
- Persons Present:
- Shelley and Yiu
- Place Conducted:
- The interview was conducted using the Zoom video conferencing platform.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- This interview was conducted by Wei Si Nic Yiu, a graduate student researcher, for the Center for the Study of Women; PhD student in Gender Studies, UCLA. Yiu’s dissertation focuses on queerness and archives of Asia.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- 1 hr
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
- Please delete file size 1451182 under Legal Agreement.
Personal Background--Born in Chatham, Ontario but moved around to different cities in New Brunswick as a child--First serious experiences with fragrances occurs as a result of perfumes in school environment--First serious reaction was going into anaphylactic shock at the scent of nail polish during a school fair and is rushed to the ER--ER doctor recommends that she sees an allergist, specifically Dr. Carson--Explains experience with dismissive doctors and malpractice--On Income and Canadian social assistance: a massive decrease in annual income compared to her income as a teacher--Discussion of self-advocacy as a patient--Referred to Dr. Fox, a specialist in MCS and chronic care, from Dr. Carson--Difficulty with affording all of the treatments recommended to her by Dr. Fox--Discussion of class in relation to MCS--MCS impacting relationships with others: finds it easier to be alone than to constantly explain her MCS--Tips for patients on advocating for themselves with friends, family, or partners--Final thoughts: finding the silver lining