Monday, March 25, 2013
I have had a lot of friends request that I write a blog as they remind me that I haven't written one since November. I apologize for the lengthy wait. Actually I had intentions of writing blogs more frequently but I have no intention of writing one every day again. I know that many people write daily blogs for different reasons - they want the sparkpoints or want to keep themselves motivated or they enjoy it. Those reasons don't apply to me. LOL. For me, writing a blog is not worth the points because I have crossed the 200,000 points threshold. Besides, I give away the spark points almost as soon as I get them. Unfortunately, blogging every day doesn't motivate me to stay on plan. I can obviously talk the talk and not walk the walk. LOL. And, I am past the point of being entertained by my own thoughts. To be honest, my main reason for not blogging every day is that one needs something interesting or different to make writing a daily blog worth your readers effort to read it and I haven't been inspired for a while so I will probably write when I have something I really want to say. I'm writing this one because a close friend of mine who has had a horrible year is looking forward to reading something/anything from me. Plus, another friend is sick and needs some advice. You know who you are.
This first blog will be about being sick as most of my close friends know I have really had my butt kicked again and are curious as to what happened. It's not a fun, glamorous blog but it is where I'm at now.
What happened? Well, stress happened. Stress is my Achilles tendon. It always has preceded any lengthy, intense, acute illness I have ever had. I knew I would end up sick when the end of my MIL's estate started to draw near. Is the estate/trust settled yet? No, but it is in the final stages as we sold my MIL's house finally on January 14. It was quite a relief. We no longer have to drive the 58 miles there every week to take care of the place. No cleaning, grass mowing, repairs, etc. We are waiting for two checks to come in and for hubby to sell the car and cancel the insurance, get that money back, and deposit the final check. I'm pushing the geezer but he's stubborn. My SAD is in full swing so hopefully he will get this done to before I morph into Lizzie Borden.
Any Stephen King fans? "Captain Trips" started here on January 23. As usual the portal to illness in our home came in the form of my son. He had the day off and when he got out of bed, he told me he was nauseated. He couldn't eat his breakfast and returned to bed. Soon he started throwing up violently and did so for 14 hours straight. The doctor said norovirus. I was busy bleaching everything in sight, trying to prevent the spread of germs, but I also knew I was around during his incubation period and was probably already exposed. The doctor agreed. I decided to go on a variation of the BRAT diet as it was obvious my son was going to be on it. Even though Ian went back to work the next day, the poor kid was nauseated for days after the puking episode and lived on plain rice and dry toast for almost a week. The day after Ian's puke fest, the 24th, I was certain I had the norovirus too. I was nauseated but determined to avoid the puking if possible so I ate small amounts of the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet. It is not the best thing for me health-wise but it achieved my goal and I didn't throw up. I was on the downhill slide anyway. I got the abdominal discomfort and the diarrhea. Soon after, I developed an upper respiratory infection, which rapidly proceeded to sinusitis, an ear infection, asthmatic bronchitis, and last, pneumonia. My husband and son got some URI problems but they didn't end up nearly as sick as I did. By the time I broke down and went to the doctor a week after this started, I was a total mess - barely able to eat, getting little sleep, etc. My inhaler was just not cutting it. I had severe wheezing and exertional dyspnea. Fever. The doctor did the usual tests and put me on breathing treatments 6 times a day (or more if needed), prednisone, and an antibiotic. I didn't want the latter but it is protocol. Have you ever had 6 breathing treatments a day??? I didn't tolerate the meds at all and had to cut back on them as needed due to the "blow the top of your head off" headaches and shaking, which for me was like convulsions. The doctor wanted me to eat yogurt but I couldn't tolerate any milk products at all. I ate so much chicken broth that I gag hearing the words now. I ate crackers, chicken soup, tea, ginger-ale, noodles, Popsicles, potatoes, juice, etc. I switched to probiotics in pill form but, admittedly, didn't know much about them and just bought some cheap ones from Kroger. Within a week, when I was supposed to go back to him, I had developed anorexia, severe nausea, stress incontinence, and serious diarrhea. He told me to take one more day of antibiotics and then stop. I had already finished the prednisone. After talking to some sparkfriends I decided to go to GNC and look for some products they recommended. Some were convinced that many of my problems were related to gut and immunity problems. The manager could relate and said I would need really strong probiotics to get my immune system going, not the wimpy stuff many places sell. They supplements were expensive but my family and I were eager for me to get any relief. I started them and they really helped almost immediately. I got rid of the nausea but a week later, by my next checkup, I had a lot of throat problems. It looked like thrush and I still think I had it but I treated it before I went so it was not apparent. He said I had developed herpes of the mouth and throat though. No real difference in treatment - I really didn't want any more meds anyway. They are poison to my system. He said it would be 6- 8 weeks for me to get better. A lot of people with this start to feel better and relapse. The thought of it still freaks me out. I decided my best bet was to continue to work on boosting my immune system, healing my lungs, and getting and keeping my gut flora stabilized and that is what I have been working on. I started tapping some of my really smart sparkfriends for advice and used what I already knew in addition to their advice.
Things that help - for adult only
1. Airborne or the generic equivalent - I'm still taking a dose a day. I have been using this for years. Sometimes this gets rid of a cold if I take it at the first sign I am getting sick. It works for my husband as well. It does not work for my son. Some studies say it doesn't work at all. Don't believe them. Find out for yourself.
2. Vitamin C - I'm still taking it. Some experts say it doesn't work. Others say it does in high doses. It can cause diarrhea so you have to keep your intake below that amount. My dad take 1000 to 2000mg every day. He swears by it. He in his 80s has not had a cold in decades. So another reason to do your own research.
3. Extra Vitamin D - I'm still taking it plus my usual daily women's vitamin for women over 50. I have SAD right now so I need it.
4. Breath Easy Tea - this works really well for me when I am wheezing and have that panicky "I can't breath" feeling.
5. Ginger Tea - I'm still using this off and on too. This stuff really helps. When I was so sick at my stomach I thought I could never eat again I would sip on this all day and it would ease my nausea. Still does. I'm not in love with the taste but it is worth it.
6. Honey - I often combine #5, #6, #7, and #8 in different ways. Honey is antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, has vitamins and minerals, helps a cough, sore throat, congestion, upset stomach, asthma, digestion, immunity. I made my husband a paste of honey and cinnamon for his sort throat and it was gone for good after one dose.
7. Lemon - has vitamin c and is a natural diuretic that helps flush out the toxins
8. Cinnamon - antioxidant, antimalarial anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, helps arthritis, blood sugar, diabetes, colon health, heart health, etc.
9. Zinc - I take it at the first sign of a throat tickle or anything returning. This works!
10. Saline Nasal Spray - helps stuffy nose or post nasal drip
11. Horehound Candy - weird but this helps a sore throat if you don't need cough control.
12. Vick's Salve - for nasal congestion
13. Probiotics - for stomach/intestinal problems. I will be on this for a while.
14. Good Belly Juice - in the evening with supper for stomach/intestinal problems
15. Altoids - yep, they help too. The peppermint ones help my breathing.
16. Drinking lots of fluids - helps everything
17. Chicken soup - ditto
18. Brushing my teeth a lot - gets rid of lingering germs. toss the toothbrush frequently.
19. Assorted cough drops - for sore throat PLUS cough
20. Peroxide ear irrigation - When my son had chronic otitis media he had a chronic cough that drove us crazy. The doctor could not do anything about it but she worked with us to try different things. We discovered that a combination of this and #21 and acetaminophen got rid of the cough every time.
21. Medicated eye drops and ear drops
22. Acetaminophen or motrin.
23. Salt water gargles - help with sore throat or think mucous
24. Vaporizer - still using
25. Expectorant and/or antihistamine. Use sparingly for a day or two only if you have a lot of nasal mucous. I used one fourth dose of the expectorant once. Helped the thick mucous but made me super nauseated. My hubby used one partial dose of the antihistamine and was better.
The doctor was right. You can treat the symptoms but it takes 8 weeks to get over this. Most people I know who have had this are still not back to normal. My MIL's best friend, who never gets sick, had pneumonia in November and got it again about the same time I did and she is in the same stage of recovery as I am. We still have lingering symptoms that come and go like wheezing, post nasal drip, ear congestion, a productive cough, stuffed up nose, etc. I'm doing what I can to strengthen my immune system.
I'm completely out of shape now and feel fat as a tick, partly from the prednisone and antibiotics which completely destroyed my gut flora and partly from poor eating habits while sick. I am also emotionally labile, which could be the prednisone or the SAD but it seems to get better when the sun comes out and I can get outside so I tend to think the latter. Winter is usually over here by now and isn't. The doctor says don't push myself so I am concentrating on getting my exercise back up to where it should be. I haven't been able to get my 15,000 steps in for a long time but recently I have. I am working on the diet slowly. The 3 of us all need to lose weight. I'm not worried a lot about the weight as it will come off when I get back to exercising and eating better but I hate starting over. I just take it a day at a time. One step in front of the other.