In health…and sickness

09 Apr

Yes, I know my title is backwards from what we are used to hearing, but since my focus has been primarily on health, and trying to ward off sickness, I flipped it up on ya. 😉
I’ve been sick this last week with a nasty head cold, and I was instructed by my husband to blog about it. 🙂  His purpose in having me write was this – if you’ve been trying to make healthy changes and still are feeling run-down, or have gotten sick, don’t be too discouraged. Try as we might to stay healthy and take care of ourselves, life happens.  We do too much.  Our systems get run down.  Germs and bacteria are everywhere (hello O.C.D.).  It’s pretty much inevitable, at some point.  But don’t let getting sick discourage you – the changes you are making are making a difference, sick or not.
Let me expound.  As I’ve said in previous posts, my immune system is has been terrible.  I’ve been working really hard at building it back up and strengthening my system.  And I haven’t been really sick since last February.  That, for me, is HUGE.  I can’t remember a year, regrettably, when I haven’t had to be on antibiotics, in some form or another.  And then, last week, the inevitable happened.  It started w/a sore throat, which, for me, is how it always starts.  (Ask my mom.  To this day, if she hears me clear my throat, she says “you’re not getting sick, are you?” 😉 ) And I ignored it.  I didn’t feel too badly, just a little sore throat/congestion.  I wasn’t totally run down like usual, so on I pressed.  Sheer stupidity, on my part.  I should know by now, that when my body gives me a signal, it’s for a reason, and I should listen to it.  So point number one: listen to your body.  When you start thinking “I feel a little rundown.” Or, “I think I’m getting sick,” pay attention.  Slow down a little.  Rest when you can.  Drink more liquids.  Pay attention to what you’re eating.  It may seem silly to do when you are not feeling totally “sick,” but it will benefit you in the end.
You know that saying, “you’re the pot calling the kettle black?”  Yeah.
We took last week off for spring break, and I was going to make the most of it.  So I didn’t stop.  And I payed for it.  I started getting the hint on Monday evening, with a sore throat.  By Thursday, I was stuck in bed.  Total congestion.  Nasty cough -which for me, can turn into asthma-induced bronchitis in a heartbeat.  Fever.  Just sick.  Four days of it.  Once I realized I really was sick, I knew I had better pay attention and do what I needed to get well/not get worse. (Besides the fact that I have a loving, caring husband, who knows how totally stubborn I can be, and doesn’t give me any other option than to rest and take it easy. :))  Which brings me to point number two: do what it takes to get well.  Within reason, of course. 😉  For me, this means letting my body rest as much as possible.  Which I hate.  Really.  I absolutely despise just sitting around.  It takes all that is within me to not get up and do what needs to be done.  But, ironically, laying low is what needs to be done.  So I do it.  Begrudgingly, yes, but I try. 😉
Here’s what I am excited about though – today, I feel better.  Not great, mind you, but better.  And I haven’t taken any over-the-counter medicines the whole time – no Tylenol, no Sudafed, no Dayquil, no nothing.  Except, one night, my husband did forcibly pour Nyquil down my throat so I would sleep.  Again, it’s that stubborn thing…
So what did I do?  Point number three: keep it natural.  Let your body do what it needs to do.  A fever is a sign that your body is fighting toxins, so let it fight.  Tylenol only masks those symptoms.  Rather than take medication, I let the fever run its course.  At night, I piled up the blankets so I could sweat it out.  I could have taken a lukewarm bath to bring it down, but it wasn’t that high. ( I had a low-grade fever, not 102 or anything.  A high fever can be the sign of a serious illness, so do what it takes to take care of yourself, and seek medical attention if needed.)
I drank lots of fluids.  We’re talking like 3-4 quarts of liquid per day.  Mostly water.  You can do warm water with some lemon juice and honey.  I would have done some kefir and kombucha, but ironically, I ran out a day or two before, and didn’t have the energy to worry about making more.
Take your vitamins.  This I do everyday, but when I’m feeling sick, I up the dosage of Vitamin C, as much as possible.  The general rule is to keep taking it until you get diarrhea, then back off the dosage.  Echinacea is beneficial, as well as grapefruit seed extract, which contains antimicrobial and antioxidative properties.
Providentially, I received some essential oils that I had ordered just before I got sick.  The first couple of days, I rubbed tea tree oil on my feet a couple of times throughout the day.  Tea tree is one of those miracle oils that can be used for many, many purposes.  It is a powerful antiseptic/antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, immuno-stimulant. (how’s that for a mouthful)  I also have some eucalyptus oil, so I would get a washcloth as hot as I could stand it, put a couple drops on it, lay it over my face, and breathe slowly in through my nose and out through my mouth.  You could alternatively bring a pan of water to a boil, put a couple of drops in the water, lean over it with a towel draped over your head, and inhale that way.  But, I’m cheap and impatient, so I prefer to use the no-electricity-no-waiting method. 🙂  I also took a couple of good, long soaks in the hot-tub, soaking up some fresh air and sunshine at the same time.  The steam from the hot water helps clear/loosen the sinuses, and I added a few drops of lavender oil, which not only has well-known relaxation benefits, but also is used to treat respiratory problems.  I also rubbed the lavender oil on my chest and sinus areas while I soaked.  So while I go around smelling like a walking apothecary, allow me to expand upon point number four: eat healthy, whole foods, in their natural state.  We’ve covered this before, but I can’t emphasize it enough.  Overly-processed, white flours and sugars will only deplete your body of its natural ability to ward off/fight infections.  They are immune suppressors, not builders.  Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, homemade stocks, whole milk yogurts (or kefir) are the better way to go.  Now, let me be totally real here and admit that I did cheat a little yesterday…my “comfort food” when I’m sick is jello.  Terrible in many ways, I know, but it’s what my momma always made me when I didn’t feel good, and so it is now what I crave when I am sick.  So when my daughter made a raspberry jello dessert yesterday for Easter, I broke down and had some.  Part of the healing process is nurturing the soul, right? 😉  That’s all we had in the way of sweets, though – no jelly beans, chocolate or even Cadbury Cream Eggs – oh Cadbury, why do you taunt me so?
So, now that I’ve rambled on long enough – onwards and upwards.  Here’s to healing, and good health.  Keep up the fight; all that you are doing is not in vain.  Feel free to message me if you have any questions and/or comments.

Closing with a picture I love: It’s a well-known fact that I love the San Juan Islands, and I love old barns.  So here’s an old barn on San Juan Island – combining the best of both worlds. 😉

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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Health/Nutrition


2 responses to “In health…and sickness

  1. Michele

    April 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks for this. I found you via the Barn Hop 🙂
    I have been using tea tree oil for cold sores and pimples for years, and it’s great. But how do you use it for internal illnesses? Is it ingested or is it applied to the skin?

    • dwellinginthesecretplace

      April 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Hi Michele! Glad you found me. 🙂 Tea tree oil has so many great uses! My kids don’t really care for the smell, but I found some that is combined w/lavender oil that’s a bit less offensive – plus, you get the added benefit of the lavender along with it. 🙂 You should not, under any circumstance, ingest tea tree – only apply it topically, and be careful when using it on your face, as it is very potent and can cause irritation. Although, if you’ve been using it on cold sores and pimples, I’m sure you’ve already discovered that. 🙂 I do use it in my oil face wash (which I wrote about in this post:, and it is great stuff! For internal illnesses, the best way to use it is like I talked about – put a couple of drops on your feet, and massage it in. You could sit for a few minutes to allow it to absorb, but I put a pair of socks on so that I can get up and walk around and not leave oil patches everywhere I go. 🙂 Or, if you don’t mind people touching your feet (I, myself, can’t stand it), sweet talk someone into giving you a foot massage w/it. 🙂 Alternatively, you could put a few drops in a diffuser, or humidifier/vaporizer. If you don’t have those, at the very least, a pot of simmering water w/a few drops added works just as well. Hope that helps! Thanks for the question, and thanks for stopping by!


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