Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tuesday's Time To (27th March)

The spring weather we are having at the moment is wonderful. For the past week at least, the sun has not stopped shining all day. It feels so good to be able to put out 2 or even 3 loads of laundry and have it all dry by the end of the day! I love the smell of it too when it has dried outside, so fresh and sweet. But apart from the laundry and my basic daily chores, I've not been able to get done many of the things on my to-do lists the last couple of days. The arthritis I suffer with intermittently in my right hip has been hurting me very much recently and this morning I could barely walk. Fortunately, thanks to the Lord's blessing, some strong pain medication and Papa Bear's insistence that I rest, the pain is beginning to ease now, but I have been worrying about not getting everything done! I needn't have though - Little Bear has been very helpful so that between us we've got most things covered indoors, and Cubby has been helping with fetching and carrying things, sorting out the animals, and putting out the rubbish (we live in a high rise apartment that has no lift, which means a lot of stairs to climb!). Oh! I's wonderful to be so well cared for! When I told Papa Bear how grateful I was for everyone's care and attention, he said that I did not need to be grateful, because it was my time for being looked after, just as he and the cubs also have their time for being taken care of too. Of course, he's right - we all have a season for being ill, and a season for being well. And with that thought in mind, here I am writing today's Tuesday's Time To, which, continuing with this theme, is all about our health.

A time to plant ... many people hesitate about taking conventional medicine because they do not like the idea of taking chemicals into their bodies. But did you know that a great many medications are actually derived from plants? Popular painkillers, such as Aspirin and Codeine, come from plants, as do some anticoagulants, such as Digoxin. Many stomach treatments are also plant based, as are some cough medicines. In fact many of the medications that we take now, have been developed from simple home remedies that were used by herbalists many centuries ago when only plants and herbs were available to them. That's not to say that they are all without side effects, but it's worth remembering that almost everything we ingest has its origin in something that God created - modern medications included.

A time to heal ... the only treatment available for me to permanently heal my painful arthritis is to have a joint replacement. However I am hesitating about this just now, as they only last for 15 years or so. At the age I am now, this would mean having to undergo this same operation perhaps 3 or possibly even 4 times during my lifetime, which obviously isn't very good for my overall health, as it is a major operation with all that this entails. So until the pain becomes an everyday occurrence and is impossible to manage with painkillers and rest, I shall carry on as I am, and wait on God to guide me, or see fit for me to be healed in another way.

A time to laugh ... laughter is a very good medicine! Papa Bear and the cubs did plenty to cheer me up today. Cubby is the best joke teller in our home. This is the sort of joke we get from him ... (Papa Bear brought home some hot cross buns for a treat today - yes, it's Lent, but he decided we all needed cheering up with a surprise for our tea) and so Cubby treated us to one of his favourite jokes as we ate them with our tea - "what do you get if you pour hot water down a rabbit hole?" Answer - "a hot cross bunny!" Well, we think it's funny! The buns were lovely too, by the way - apple and cinnamon - very sticky and delicious, toasted with butter on them - mmmmm!

A time to embrace ... Papa Bear makes sure I get lots of extra "huggles" (a huggle is a cross between a hug and a cuddle, for those of you that don't already know) when I am suffering with my arthritis. Even though I try to hide it from him because I don't want him to worry about me, he always knows when it is really bad, and he is so kind and caring. Just that one extra hug always makes me feel ever so much better.

A time to keep ... I always do make sure to keep our medicine cabinet well stocked. We don't overuse medications, but I do make sure we have a basic first aid and medical kit. It contains painkillers (my prescription ones, and generic ones for the whole family to use. If you have asthma sufferers in your family, as we do, it is worth noting that you should not use Ibuprofen as a pain reliever as it can cause breathing difficulties in those who already have asthma. Paracetamol is the safest painkiller for the family - Aspirin is also not suitable for children under 16) plus also a painkilling gel that can be rubbed on the skin (this contains a derirative of capiscum - chilli peppers - another plant based medicine). I also make sure to keep some stomach medicine (peppermint oil and everyone's favourite, Pepto-Bismol. It is such a pretty colour!), anti-sickness tablets for travelling (Little Bear and I are like the Duggar family and suffer badly with this), anti-histamines (both tablets and Wasp-eeze for stings), arnica for bruises, antiseptic cream and ointment, plasters and bandages, sterile swabs and fabric for making into slings if necessary. Both Little Bear and Cubby are trained St. John Ambulance First-Aiders, so we are well equipped as a family for any physical emergency! I keep my medical kit in a plastic lunchbox with a flip-top lid (well labelled, of course). It is much larger than a proper first aid box, but cost a fraction of the price. Oh - and one last thing - we always have a bottle of smelling-salts and some Eau De Cologne in our first aid box! Very old fashioned, but they always make us smile when we see them (and my goodness me, those smelling-salts certainly do make you wake up when you inhale them!).

A time to sew ... eek! The worst medical emergency we've had in recent years is when Cubby cut his hand open with a Stanley knife. In fact it looked much worse than it actually turned out to be, because of all the blood, but I was so scared! I truely thought we were going to lose him when I saw the mess in the kitchen. We drove to the A&E department with his hand wrapped in a towel in a carrier bag to stop the bleeding going all over the car and when we got there and unwrapped it, I nearly fainted! Cubby wasn't at all bothered, until he had to have 4 stitches! They were in the palm of his hand and it wasn't so much the stitches that hurt but the needle for the anaesthetic. Oh I did feel for him! He's a very brave and stoical lad, our Cubby, never one to make much fuss, and he would not let me go into the cubicle with him, but it did not stop me HEARING him. Poor Cubby! He cheered up quickly enough afterwards though, when we stopped off at McDonald's on the way back home to pick up our tea for a treat! Believe it or not he was still hungry after all that!

A time to speak .. when to speak to the doctor? When we were first young (very young!) parents, Papa Bear and I were always so worried about bothering the doctor. Were we being too vigilant? Or not vigilant enough? As our babies grew older, we got more confident. It's so hard to know whether a symptom is serious enough to warrant a visit to (or from) the doctor, especially with a very small child. But we soon learned that the doctor never minded if we went and it was nothing to worry about! Better to be safe than sorry. Little Bear, our first baby, was such a quiet and contented child that when she did cry properly for the very first time (aged 3 months old!) we were so panicked that we literally ran all the way to the doctor's surgery, convinced that she was seriously ill. She had been crying all afternoon and just could not settle. We were so anxious! And when the doctor did finally see her, of course she was as quiet and sweet as she usually was, and his diagnosis? Wind! He he! When Cubby Bear arrived we knew better and were a little less anxious, so we didn't visit the doctor quite so often, but it's worth remembering, the doctor is there to reassure you, and if you're not sure - phone and ask. In England, there are various helplines and websites you can access, and pharmacies are also good places to go if you need advice. But if you are really concerned, don't hesitate - your child's health is too precious.

A time to love ... apparently, being in a stable, loving marriage, is so good for your health that it adds as much as five years to your life! According to medical research quoted on the news channel CBN, the security and contentment of being in a fulfilling marriage leads to lowering of stress levels which in turn protects against diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimers and heart conditions. It also protects the immune system, leading to a lower incidence of infectious illnesses such as flu and colds. Yet another excuse for a hug, Papa Bear!

A time of peace ... if you struggle to get a peaceful night's sleep when you have a cold or sinusitis because of problems with congestion when you are lying down, try a traditional remedy to aid your breathing which I've used for a long time - steam inhalations. Get a sturdy heat proof bowl and fill it with recently boiled water. Add to this a few drops of Olbas or Eucalyptus oil (if you have pet birds, do not use Eucalyptus oil in the room where they live, as the oil is an irritant to their respiratory systems) and then lean over the bowl (not too close, or you may scald yourself) with a towel pulled right over your head. Inhale the steam as deeply as you can - it will feel impossible at first and you'll think you can't breathe, but keep inhaling slowly and you'll be surprised at how much clearer your nose and throat become. Don't do this for too long or you may start to feel faint - about 5 minutes is plenty. You can repeat this as often as you need to. I follow it up with a flannel soaked in warm water which I hold over the swollen areas of my face, when my sinuses are really blocked, and I also sprinkle a little of the oil on our pillows, to aid with breathing. I've found doing this is just as effective in treating my blocked sinuses, as taking decongestants.