Friday, February 26, 2010

Self-Induced Stomach Flu

You would think that the last thing I'd want to deal with after having my kids go through a bout of E. coli is the stomach flu. But me? I brought it on myself. How is this possible?, you might ask. Well let me explain.

For the past few months, I have been trying to consistently take (and give to my family) a supplement called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), at the recommendation of my awesome sister-in-law. Basically you mix an acid solution (citric acid, in our case), and use 5 drops of that per every 1 drop of MMS. You start out by taking just one drop (activated by the acid solution for 3 minutes), in water or juice (JUICE. Definitely juice! But it has to be a juice that does not have Vitamin C. We use organic apple juice for ours.). Then you work up to either a standard dose (based on your weight - usually about 6 drops for adults and up to 3 for small children like mine).

This solution is supposed to be able to prevent viruses, flus, and illnesses of all kinds, as well as help you get over them faster when you do get them. I honestly believe that it was taking probiotics and MMS that got my kids well as fast as they did after contracting E. coli 157. The Public Health Official was amazed that they were not hospitalized (she said that there has been a child die in our area from having this!).

I have not been as consistent with this as I would like to be. Usually George reminds me sometime during the evening by yelling out "Apple Juice!" Which is my cue to make it. Sometimes I do, and sometimes it is not an appropriate time (like if I'm making dinner). But I digress. So two nights ago, I gave the kids (except Blake, because he was already in bed and I had forgotten) their dose, and made mine and Chris'. When I tasted it, it was VERY strong, and I thought I just added too much citric acid. I think I was trying to give us a 4 or 6 drop dose, but I can't really remember. I warned Chris about the taste, but he drank his as well. This was around 7:30pm or so. I gave the boys their bath and got them ready for bed, and by 8:45pm, I was feeling extremely queasy. I had to short-change the boys' bedtime routine (No books! No prayers! No hugs or kisses! Mommy's sick - I'm sorry!) so I could sit down a while and not move. Chris was at Lowe's at the time.

Now, the reason they have you work up in drops is so that you can let your body tell you if you have taken too much. This is a powerful detoxifying agent, so if you take too many drops, you will feel queasy or experience some intestinal discomfort. It's not a bad thing necessarily - it just means that you may have something going on in your body that needs to be taken care of and the solution is doing it's job, albeit a bit too fast. So you back off on the number of drops the next time. The goal is to take as many drops as you can handle without feeling sick. And up to this point I have only felt mildly queasy a couple of times. No big deal.

To make a long and very painful (not to mention dis-gus-ting) story short, I ended up puking my guts out off and on until about 1:00am, which is when the horrible diarrhea took over until about 3:00am. I suffered yesterday morning with it as well (the vomiting was over by then), until I finally got fed up and took my first Immodium. I was very weak in the stomach all day yesterday and ended up having to take another Immodium last night around 11:00pm. But today my stomach has been much better.

So what happened?! I have a couple of guesses. The most logical one in my mind is that I switched the bottles of citric acid and MMS and gave Chris and myself 30 drops of MMS instead of the appropriate 6 (or 4). A mistake that, if that was indeed the one, I will NEVER EVER make again. So you may be wondering, how did Chris fare in all of this? He was a bit queasy, and had some gurgling in his stomach. But that was pretty much it.

Needless to say, I did not take my MMS today. I figure I will resume it again in a few more days. Because I do believe that it is a wonderful (and cheap!) way to stay healthy. But you MUST follow the protocols correctly, or like me, you will be very, very sorry.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Makes Me Smile

This morning I woke up with a headache. And a neckache. And a bad attitude. And as I was feeling especially grumbly because I HAD to get up anyway, I was reminded of an article I read in Family Fun just last night about positive thinking.

The mom who wrote the article explained how she got her 9-year-old son who was prone to complaining and being negative to start thinking and talking more positively. In a nutshell, it started with having him give her one positive statement for every negative one he spoke. What a great idea, thinks I!

So I'm going to give it a try. Here are some negative things I was thinking about this morning. Let's see if I can come up with some positives (shown in purple):

I have a headache. I am, for the most part, in very good health, and do not live in chronic pain.
The weather is cruddy. Spring is just around the corner!
My house is an absolute disaster (and beyond - believe me, I cannot underestimate this statement). I have a big, warm house to live in, which accommodates my family very nicely.
My husband has been gone a lot for work lately. My husband has a great job, which provides for our family very well, and we are blessed for him to have work to go to. Also, he is around a LOT more than most people who work full-time.

That was not difficult at all! I am hoping to remind myself of all of the positive things in my life whenever I start to think negatively or start to complain. There is no such thing as too much gratitude.

In addition to the positive statements I listed, here is something else that made me smile today:

While I was lying in bed trying to will away my headache (since the medicine wasn't helping), I heard the boys chatting over the monitor. I listened closer, and realized that George was "reading" Green Eggs & Ham to Josh. How cute is that?!

And now my baby is beckoning me to play. Another thing to make me smile.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Experience with E. coli, Part 1

I have seen way too much of toilets in the past week. We have been dealing with E. coli 157 (want to know more?). This is an evil bacteria, causing diarrhea the likes of which I have never known or imagined could exist. Fortunately, I personally have not contracted it yet, but believe me - more than once have I wished and prayed that I had it instead of my child(ren). The thing that is most frustrating to us is that we have no idea where it came from. Let me go back:

On Saturday, February 13th, the boys had a basketball game. They missed the previous week's game and the subsequent practice due to a cold, but by the time Saturday rolled around, they were well enough and they seriously needed some exercise. We hadn't gone to church on either Wednesday night or the Sunday before since they had been sick. They aren't in school or daycare, so the basketball game was the first time they were in contact with other kids for a while. After the game, Chris informed me that George had had to make an emergency trip to the bathroom during the game to go poo. Not big news to me, the kid has been regular for as long as I can remember.

On Sunday we missed church again due to me having a migraine. George seemed pretty normal that day. Then overnight that night, he got up a few different times to go to the bathroom, as well as many times throughout the morning. At one point, he told Chris he was sorry because he tooted in his underwear and got it dirty. Chris inspected it and noticed that there was blood as well. This was around noonish on Monday. A handful of bathroom visits later (each involving blood in the stool), we knew something was really wrong. He also had horrible cramping pain each time. So around 2:15pm we packed up the entire crew and headed to Urgent Care. Once we got there, they said that they had just accepted their last patient of the day as they were closing early due to the fact that the weather *might* get bad. At that point in time, there was no precipitation and the roads were perfectly clear. Grrr. So we headed down to Children's Hospital.

We spent the next 3-4 hours at the ER. We did a whole lotta waiting. Considering how long we were there, and that we had burned through all of the snacks pretty quick, and that Blake didn't get a nap that day, and that George had to go running to the restroom every 20 minutes or less, the boys did surprisingly well. They took blood and urine samples, and the dreaded procedure of taking blood. George has never been a very good patient. Always freaks out at the smallest of things, even before they happen. But this time, he did awesome. He did cry a little bit when the phlebotomist drew his blood, but she was great with him and he did follow her instructions to keep still.

We had to wait for the lab results, which were normal. They sent us on our way and told us they would contact us once they got the results from the other specimens. Monday night was a little better for George - he only got up maybe 2-3 times. Then around 3:00am, Josh woke up to go. And again at around 6:00am. And that began his journey with the evil illness.

Tuesday afternoon we got a call back informing us that George had contracted E. coli 157. I was shocked. Stupefied. Puzzled. How? Where? When? She said that we needed to give him probiotics twice a day until the diarrhea cleared up, and avoid fruit juice and fiber, etc. I decided to start the whole family on the probiotics right away just to be safe, and we cracked down even more on the kids' handwashing habits (which are pretty darn good already). George still had to go a lot, and Josh had to go a lot more than normal, but only a speck of blood here and there, and he didn't complain about having cramping like George did. Josh has always had a hardier constitution than George, it seems.

Wednesday was a blur. Blake had a couple of nasty diapers early on, but seemed OK after that.
Thursday I took George back down to the ER for a follow-up visit, which turned out to be another whole goat rodeo having to wait, go through processing, and all of that. We waited for an hour and 15 or so, and they finally called us back to go to a room. I was surprised that they didn't just send us to the lab (the nurse I had spoken with led me to believe that this would be a quick, "fast-track" visit, with just a blood draw). I asked if we'd be able to get it done by 4:30pm (it was 4:05 or so at the time), and the nurse laughed and said, "umm, I highly doubt it." So I politely let them know that I would have to leave by 4:30, as my husband had to leave for a job and our other two little kids were at home so I had to get back. After hassling with the nurses, registration, and some phone calls to Chris, we ended up leaving (after 4:30, mind you). So we didn't get seen, we had to drive back during rush hour traffic, we'll still get charged the $100 ER co-pay, and we wasted all of that time. Grr.

On Friday morning, I got a call from the Public Health Department. They always follow up on reported cases of E. coli and the lady had some questions for me so they could try to help track down the source. Here is where I will say that there is much more about this piece that will be included in Part 2. For now I will press on. Blake had started pooping more this day, after we had thought he had gotten better. During one of the conversations I had with the PHD, Chris was changing Blake and saw some blood in the diaper. Just great. Fan-tastic.

Friday night was horrible. From about 8:00pm until about 3:00am, Blake had no less than 10 bouts of painful poo. What's worse is that since he is not toiled trained, his bottom was getting increasingly raw. Every time we tried to wipe him or put cream on, he screamed in pain. It was an extremely rough night. And it has been rough since. The frequency has gone down each day, which leads me to believe that he is getting better, and his appetite is good and he is drinking his fluids just fine to stay hydrated (as are the other two).

George and Joshua seem to be fine, though we're not completely out of the woods yet as there is a risk of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) in children under 5 which can show up 5-7 days after diarrhea stops. There are lots of symptoms, but simply put, HUS could cause renal failure. So George has an appointment on Tuesday to get his blood checked so they can test his kidney function. Josh had the diarrhea for a much shorter time frame and got better pretty quickly, so we'll see how George's test results come back before we decide to get Josh tested as well. We'll be getting an appointment for Blake though, as he is the smallest and probably the most at risk.

Chris had some tummy trouble for a couple of days, but for some reason I have been the only one who has not gotten it at all. I am hoping we are at the end of this awful sickness, and will be posting again soon about the other development this has incurred.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Birth Order: Bogus or Brilliant?

At my moms group this morning our speaker talked about birth order, and the significance that plays in family relationships. I found it absolutely fascinating, and a topic I had already thought was interesting. I bought the book about birth order by Kevin Leman, but I lent it to my dad before I had a chance to read it.

Mr. Sexton (our speaker today) has been studying and speaking about Bowen's Family Systems Theory for over 10 years, and he works for the University of Tennessee hospital currently. He is also a chaplain and does some family counseling as well. He said that the birth order traits are amazingly accurate, and after he explained them a bit, I could see what he meant. It has definitely given me a new perception on how I view people (including myself).

I am looking forward to delving into this topic more, to be sure. But I, for one, think it is a brilliant theory.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wish I'd Thought of This Today

Today was a rainy day. Cold and rainy. My least favorite type of weather. I'd honestly rather have a blizzard than a whole day of cold rain. Blech.

And I didn't really do anything fun with the kids today (I had chicken stock to deal with, along with some other stuff), so they got to watch some TV and play on their own, which never lasts for too long without someone crying over something. And I remembered (only too late) what fun they had a while back with this:

They built houses (with a little help) out of a set of foam floor padding (which is also really fun to make paths with), and pretended to be neighbors. They had little neighborly feuds, and then were friendly neighbors who visited each other - it fostered such imagination!

I wish I had thought of this today. Ah well, perhaps tomorrow. It's still raining now...