family health

A Different Presective on Life: Macular Degeneration.

wildflowers Monongahela National Forest Elkins WV

Yellow Flowers at Stuarts Park near Elkins WV

So about two weeks ago I was told that the inherited eye disease that my family carries is beginning to do damage to my eyes too.The usual end result is legal blindness, although they say I may still be able to see some at the edges of my vision field. I am not sure if we ever knew what blinded my Grandmother but we are positive that my mother has battled “wet”  Macular Degeneration for about 20 years. She began to notice the changes in her sight in her late 60’s with a very quick loss of vision over about three or four years. In my case I have a type of “dry” macular degeneration or Age Related Macular Degeneration. The outcome is almost always the same with either disease,  although the my condition is a chronic slow loss of vision and my mother had a very acute fast-moving loss of vision, we both will end up blind at one point or another.

So far there is no real treatment for this type of vision loss and they can not predict when or if I will go completely blind at any point. So I am faced with the most challenging obstacle in my life. A unknown cloud  will slowly yet steadily take away one of the things I have enjoyed most in my life and make even everyday tasks become almost impossible to do on my own. This new challenge has changed my perspective on things that I can hardly explain here.

How do you quantify the value of your sight, or hearing, or the ability to touch taste or smell??? How do I explain the feeling of loss that is trying to drag me into the darkness without even allowing me to try to fight back. There is no recovery,  rehabilitation, cure or corrective device for this progressive loss of sight. So how do I learn to keep my balance in life when I am not even given something to fight against. I am left with trying to make peace with my situation…. and if you know me at all, making peace is not my best quality, by nature I am at my best when the fight is on.

The Dr. suggest that I change my diet to lower my blood pressure and lower the sugars in my diet to at least slow the progression of my loss. Diabetes and high blood pressure cause all kinds of damage to our vision. If  I can reduce my risks for other complications I may reduce the chances of going blind faster. Strange that I am hoping to just slow down something I can’t control in the slightest.

So you may see posts from time to time about my new situation and how it changes my perspective on things in both a literal way and a figurative way. I have a new pair of glasses which I hate… and can’t hardly use comfortably. I now have to see my eye Dr’s every year with other visits if I discover any changes. I was lucky I went for an annual exam when they discovered the changes were more drastic than I thought or could have imagined.

I now  live and look at things with a more studious eye. Drinking in the colors and textures of the things I love as if I may not every see them again. I will continue to read as long as I can. I will read all of your wonderful blogs and drink in the words as deeply as my heart allows. I have made it a point to enjoy more books too. Real books with paper pages and smells of old books stores with torn edges that I can annotate and dog ear. I will reread and re-watch my favorite books and movies until I know them and they become a part of me. I will create this blog until the time comes when I can not see the words on the page but only get to hear them read back to me with a computer voice. I will learn to work with it, around it  and through it and move forward into what ever wonderful things that God still has for me.

In a decade they guess I will no longer drive or clean my house. So I must have something wonderful to do some other way…. Maybe I will become Agatha Christy who dictated every one of her books and had a wonderful editor who transcribed them for her? Who knows maybe I am to be a painter of impressionistic flowers that tour the world as “works of the blind”?? Or  Maybe a Philosopher who spends too much time alone thinking about the meaning in life and discovers the “One Thing” that explains life as we know it.

So my perspective is changing on many things, but mostly on what beauty is and how we express it; What is Art and how do we enjoy it and what is Joy and how to find it.

 

 

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Categories: About me, blindness, blogging, family health, health, Love, wellness | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Better Mouse Trap

Today after 4 days of use I have to share my feelings about the Tomcat Live Mouse Trap.I rarely write a product review but for this product I am making an exception.After years living on a farm, in the country and now on the edge of town we have had our fair share of mice. Having field mice sneak into your house, barn, or garage is nothing to be ashamed of and is in some cases expected, animal feeds draw the darn things.

So over the years we have tried to control them with every trap or poison on the market, with mixed results. Most of the time the poison worked for the summer and was gone by fall and a new crop of mice moved into the feed shed for the winter.Making us constantly buy more product that is dangerous to use around dogs, cats and kids. We tried several snap type of traps with some luck but they miss many times and make a mess with the mouse that does get caught.Often times you are just refilling the trap night after night with the mouse stealing the bait… That makes me mad!

Then we tried glue traps in the house…. DO NOT DO IT!!! it is the most heart wrenching experience to have a mouse caught and start screaming for dear life at two in the morning. The glue is a very sticky surface and once caught the mouse is stuck and not able to move. You can’t even pull the darn little guys free from the glue to get them to stop shrieking. Then what do you do with the trap? A live animal that you trapped is stuck in glue and still trying to free itself? You can’t save it now covered in glue, you don’t want it in the house, so you end up tossing a live mouse into the trash or out the back door so you can stop thinking about the worst mistake you have made that day.

You can get large live traps but most of them are too large for a field mouse. I have also seen the price on live traps for mice at 20 bucks at the feed store. So when a mommy mouse found my dishwasher insulation the perfect place to have here babies, the trap problem was on again. I had no idea how many mice we had in the house but we were pretty sure their were more than one. So while out looking for traps I came across the Tomcat live trap at a CVS drug store. For 6 dollars I bought my first live mouse trap.

I really did not expect much from the very simple design based on a lever and fulcrum principle. I set the trap…(no snapped  fingers with this design) added the peanut butter to the bait cover and placed on the floor of the kitchen that evening.The trap door is placed in the open position with the little legs standing on the floor to keep the door open and you walk away.

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Close up of trap door on Tomcat live mouse Trap

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Side view of Tomcat live trap this shows bate tray that is placed in the back of trap with peanut butter

 

The following morning the door was closed and the weight of the trap indicated I had a mouse in the trap. No SCREAMING, NO GLUE MESS…. just a heavy trap that  I took out in the back yard and opened and shook. Out popped a very hot, sweaty, tiny field mouse who hopped off into the tall grass in the field behind the house. Inside the trap was a few mouse droppings that I washed with the sink sprayer and let dry for few minutes before resetting the trap.

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Back of Tomcat live mouse trap with bait tray

I followed this routine 4 nights in a row… and got a mouse every single night. All with the same trap and peanut butter. The only problem was remembering to check the trap to see if it needed dumping. I washed the trap today and will set it again tonight with hopes that this is the last of the mice. But even if it does not catch a mommy mouse I have found a fast,clean, noise free way to get rid of the mice. I do not have to worry about the kids getting into a snap trap or into poison that could really hurt them and for 6 dollars I have found a trap that I can use over and over. So now you know why I am pleased to share this product with all of you.

If I was going to rate this product I would call it excellent. I like the design, the easy set up with no snapping parts. I love that it is easy to remove the mouse and supper easy to clean up after each use. Set up is fast and it is easy to tell if the trap is full I found it to worth every penny of the 5.99 plus tax.I have caught 5 mice so far!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Country life, family health, Farming, mice, rural life, traps | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Concentric Circles of Life and Death

Well it should come as no surprise that things here on the mountain are changing again. The spiritual head of our family is making the slow transition from the world of the here and now to the land of forever. It is a shaking off of the old skin and the trying on of the new freedom of the spirit that we are watching. It is emotionally stretching everyone in the family to the limit. This transition into the concentric circles of life and death, where there is no beginning or end.twirl-bluegrey-web The cancer has moved to the bones and a hip fracture has made her bedridden. So with other complications to her overall health the Dr’s know that she will not recover. The body worn out and now only a cocoon for the vibrant, fiery, giving, helpful, spirit that is still very much alive. It is a slow and often painful process to see the soul finally be released from the body. Yet, as amazing to watching as a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. This experience has only one drawback, this butterfly will one day fly off with out me……

There is no time line of events. It is day by day, hour by hour,breath by breath. It is ups and downs and moments of clarity and others of total delusion. The pain comes, then the drugs, then the weakening of the vale between the worlds. She talks with those she loves who have departed, she sees them and knows they are close. The chorus of angels then fades and the drugs wear off, she is with us, clear, focused and even agitated with us. She is happy to see the men of faith that come to pray with her. They remind her that it is only for a little while and she will be healed. Healed and free from pain…. free from being trapped in a broken body…….. Ahhhh the final release.

She is my best friend, she is my spiritual rock, and the cancer is taking her away from me. I find some comfort in the words of the great writers, thinkers and spiritual believers.For generations we have survived this awkward step in understanding and some have left words for us to fallow.This is just one of many quotes that I have found some comfort in:

“The Prophet” by   Kahlil Gibran

from the section on friendship,

“And let your best be for your friend.”

“If he must know the ebb of your tide,

let him know its flood also.”

“For what is your friend that you should

seek him with hours to kill?

“Seek him always with hours to live”

“For it is his to fill your need, but not

your emptiness.”

“And in the sweetness of friendship let

there be laughter,and sharing of pleasures.”

“For in the dew of little things the heart

finds its morning and is refreshed.”

 

Our relationship has always been more than “married into the family” we have always been friends. So as I finish this post I am waiting on word that she is released from the hospital to go home. To spend her final days in the place she feels most comfortable and safe. I will sit with her when she settles in and read to her while the hours pass. So I can share the last few days or months that we have together, before she flies away.

Butterfly at Holy River State Park, WV

Butterfly at Holy River State Park, WV

Categories: Cancer, Death, Family, family health, Friendship, grandma, poem | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Beginning and the End

As the truth of the news sets in I fill with a choking pain. I do not know what to say and I have no idea what is going to happen in our families future. They don’t give instructions on how to deal with the cancer process. The results from Grandma chemo are the worst you can get. The Dr.’s see no improvement from the 6 Chemo treatments that she has received. There is nothing left that they can do.

As we hear this my husband and I look at each other with eyes that are wide open. The future was never a proven fact, only a glimmering hope on the horizon and try as we (the whole family) might the fact is that we had one good year and maybe a few more months before the cancer starts to change our lives again. I got word from the Dr that we would see the cancer return in about a year and we would be lucky to have Grandma here with us at the three-year mark. That seems all seem like a dream now as the tumors have doubled in a matter of 6 weeks. The first year is already gone and we are now looking at maybe having months with her not years.

Wild Blue Bells at Hacker Valley, West Virginia

Wild Blue Bells at Hacker Valley, West Virginia

She has gone and made her funeral plans and picked out the casket and song that need played. Her plot has been saved and the final paper work is almost in order. The fact is that she is going about this transition in the most honorable way possible. She is thanking everyone and saying the words that need said to make everything “Right” before it is too late.  It is an important time for my family and I hope all of you understand that in the coming months I may or may not write my weekly post. I will try to share things I love when I can and when the mood strikes but not unless it feels right.

We are about finished with the remodel just in time for all of this to happen. The Barn Wood Builders are coming back to finish up the filming of the house the 28th of Aug so we have time to get all the details done by then. At some point around that time I will be getting Grandmas room ready and she will move back in with us at some point in the future. I am ready and willing to make her last days as comfortable as possible with Gods help.

So as Grandma always tells us this is really not an Ending but only the Beginning. That death is not the worst part,it  is being trapped in a broken body that is terrible, that the spirit is free at death and can finally return to the unending love of our creator. She is so wise in all of her 78 years that I must believe that what she says is true. That death will only be a better beginning for all of us. That her freedom from pain and suffering will also release the rest of us from our suffering also. That somewhere in the future I will be able to breathe freely again but this time it will be for her.

Window at the Hutte Haus in Helvetia West Virigina  The old and the new

Window at the Hutte Haus in Helvetia West Virgina The old and the new

Categories: Cancer, cancer treatment, Death, family health, grandma, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Seed Shopping with Seed Savers Exchange

Tom and I have decided to try to have a totally Heirloom garden this year. We want to join the Seed Savers Exchange to save Heirloom , untreated, Non hybrid, Non- GMO seeds. So with a new garden and new seeds comes new challenges. We do raise our garden in an organic way so saving heirloom seed just makes sense. This is the process that my aunt, uncle and grand  parents  used to raise their gardens.They raised a crop, saved the best seeds and planted again, simple, direct and generally easy if the crop was healthy. This process does not work very well  with Hybrids. Have you ever tried to grow a fruit tree from seed at the grocery store? Have you ever tried to grow an acorn squash and gotten some other kind of squash from the seeds you collected… I bet you have!

Carnival squash... maybe ? seeds from store bough acorn squash hybrid

Carnival squash… maybe ? seeds from store bough acorn squash hybrid

The above photo is of an experiment Christopher and I did two summers ago. If you find the most wonderful vegetable, and want to grow it from seeds that you save, will you eventually grow what the parent crop was? The answer is No in most cases… and this is proof that Hybrids are not reliable in self-sustaining gardening. This is the result of growing a seed from a Hybrid Acorn squash from a Kroger grocery store. I understand that in this case the “Squash” needs more water to grow to a bigger size but I am thinking that this is not growing an acorn squash at all but a pumpkin crossed with an acorn squash.

I am looking harder at what I want to accomplish with my garden. First, I want to feed my family healthier food. Second, I want to learn better ways to become a self-reliant person. Third, I want to be able to reseed my garden if that time comes that I need to or that I want to. Seriously, I think that it is really wonderful that if I save seeds I can share them with others who also like the plants I grow and they too will have their own means to feed them selves without ever having to go to a manufacture to get food seeds or be left with seeds that do not produce.I also like the idea of seed sharing and  the history around some seeds. At the Seed Savers Exchange you are able to get the history of every seed in the catalog. Really cool stuff here if you like to know about where you food really comes from.  Here is a typical page in the catalog.

Bean pages of Seed Savers Catalog

Bean pages of Seed Savers Catalog

So today I am in the process of making a list of the plants and seeds I want to grow in the new garden. I have Sweet potato roots ( from stock that is 40 years old) from last year stored away and ready to sprout for this years garden. I will start them in my window in about two weeks. I want acorn squash that actually grows acorn squash, lots of pole beans (snap and dry), cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers (hot and sweet), brussels sprouts,cabbage, pumpkin and parsnips. I think that will get me through this year with a small new garden.

My husband is the one who encourages all of this craziness and is the one who also thinks we should join in some of the seed conservation. So I will become a member and start to save mostly pepper and bean seeds this year. With help from Heritage Farm  and their seed saving tutorials and classes I will donate back some of my seeds and store some for our families future use. Then share them with my friends and family and hope to keep at least one seed alive for the future. (I think I am seeing a trend here look up My Brothers gift of Memories and see why)

Again for more information on the Seed Saver Exchange and how it all works visit their website and look at the large verity of flowers, vegetables and apple trees these people are trying to save and share for future generations.

Seed Savers Exchange.

Categories: family health, gardening, heirlooms, Non-GMO, organic food, Preserving, pumpkin, Seed Savers Exchange, seeds, Sweet Potato | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Preparations Begin: Surgery is less then a week away

It is finally going to happen…. a year and 30 days later, I will finally have the bone removed from my foot. I had my pre-operation appointment and everything is looking fine for my foot surgery on the 20th Oct. I will be in a cast for another 5 to 6 weeks but the future is looking so nice and I really don’t mind it at all. Because this photo shows what I had to deal with all last winter.

Air cast in the snow

Air cast in the snow

Under the freshly fallen snow is my Air Cast and under that are two thermal socks and two plastic bags to keep my toes and feet from freezing. This is what I had to do to take Christopher to the bus stop every morning. I slipped on the ice, I had ice balls under my toes, waded through parking lots full of slush and only fell one time last winter. I worked through all of it, during one of the worst West Virginia winters in 20 years. With my foot hurting, limping along with a 5 pound cast. I somehow made light of my situation by just laughing at it.

Christopher was the only one who found my broken bone a good thing. He knew I had more time to snuggle and play with him up close. I was never going to chase him through the yard so he could torment me until we both just giggled. He never minded that his mom was in a cast and took full advantage of my time out of it the cast to play “broken bone man”

Christopher playing with my cast spring 2014

Christopher playing with my cast spring 2014

I have done all the things that I would normally done without the cast. So finally around July of this year I went back to the Orthopedic Dr’s office and asked for a new cast. Yea….. they looked at me funny when I explained that I had walked all the rubber of the bottom of the cast and it was flopping around like an old shoe.  I needed a second cast to finish out the year. “Wow” the nurse said “We never have to give out new ones”. Well I needed a new one and it was free because the warranty was for one year and I had gotten about 6 months out of mine. So does that tell  you that I just can’t sit still most of the time.

Mushroom hunting in my cast...#2.

Mushroom hunting in my cast 2014.

In this photo I can really begin to see where the weight of inactivity was creeping up. I actually gained almost 35 pounds over the course of this year and I have heard that up to 50 is not unheard of. You are just so limited in everything you do. Over the year my foot did cause me to go from working 35 hours a week to 10 and then none. So I am hopeful that when this is over I will be able to work 30 to 40 hours a week on my feet again.

Now the preparations for not walking for 11 days begin. I have been working on getting grandma moved back to her house for the remainder of her recovery ( see Cancer sucks post). I have been cleaning like a mad woman and getting some one set up to come help me for the second day after surgery and a few days after that. We still have lots of shopping for frozen food to do. I am not cooking for several weeks so forgive me for not doing any new food posts for a month or so. I am planing to do lots of reading and writing though. I will be doing some traveling two weeks after surgery and will be posting about all the effects of traveling in a walking cast with a small child… That will make for a funny post. So if I  did not say  it before, I will say it now, Thank You for your support. I will be posting again next week after the surgery and let you all know how it went . So until then take care. I am on the road to recovery and will be able to do more and write more about how wonderful living in the Mountain State  is and my life as a homesteading woman.

Categories: About me, family health, foot pain, foot surgery, Healing, health | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Americans are wasteful even at the Farmers Market

Today was another eye-opening experience at the farmers market. I am lucky to live in a community where we have at least 4 farmers markets within about a 12 mile area. I live in a small town of a zip code population of about 4,000 people and the neighboring town may have a zip code population that is double that. So together we may have about 12,000 with 4 farmers markets. We live in an agriculturally diverse area and many families also grow large gardens to can or freeze their own healthy foods. So farm fresh food is not hard to find here but today I learned that we as Americans are still looking at food in a non-realistic, non-healthy way.

Cody, Christopher and Paige Powers picking tomatoes and peppers in the garden

Cody, Christopher and Paige Powers picking tomatoes and peppers in the garden

I am getting ready to put up about 7 quarts of home-made spaghetti sauce and spent the morning talking to an older woman who worked the farm market stand. We of course talked about what I was making and what was real fresh and what they were short on. So after several minutes she headed out to the cooler to box up my order, as I bagged up the rest of my items. When she returned and I payed for 23 pounds of tomatoes and 5 pounds of peppers. She asked me if I might be  interested in the of tomatoes sitting on the counter. The box was about 5 pounds of over ripe, soft or damaged tomatoes. She said “no one wants these, they are not perfect. If you take them they are free.” Well of course I wanted them, why wouldn’t I, an over ripe tomato is the best tomato of all. I went on to explain that they looked pretty good to me and that I would just juice them when I got home. She felt better and I was over joyed to have another 5 pounds of tomatoes to take home.

Harvest Basket in the garden 2014

Harvest Basket in the garden 2014

Then on my way home it hit me. Why in the world would she say that unless she had thrown out many items from their stand. Tossed away food that was totally edible but not PERFECT. Why in this day and age would some one throw away food that could feed a needy family or a homeless person? Why are Americans so trained to think that a blemish is not normal or common? I felt offended at the thought that we are so wasteful. That we are not able to think about real food in an honest way. Fresh from the garden food is not perfect if you are realistic. It is only a farmer who sprays his crops with pesticides that never gets bug damage. It is only the tomato that is half-ripe and processed with chlorine that looks red but is hard and perfect looking at the Big  Box Store. It is only on a store shelf where food color is added  to tomato juice to make it red. Why are we eating like this?

As I drove, I got madder and madder. I thought about the millions of children who only see their food on the shelf at Fred Myers, King Supers or the Piggly Wiggly.  They will never see  green beans and peas growing on a vine or carrots are dug up from underground. Some will never know that their french fries are under that bushy plant and are dug up before being fried to a crispy treat. We are raising food ignorant children. We are raising people who have no real idea what fresh from the garden food looks like or tastes like. What a shame that our country has the most money and is the most disconnected from our food.

So when I got home I washed the box full of  blemished tomatoes. I cut away a few spots and pulled out a stem or two and did this.

free tomatoes ready to be made into juice

free tomatoes ready for juicing

I juiced the tomatoes and made about 1 gallon of fresh juice that my family can make into chili, a soup stock, a V-8 drink  or a marinade for a tough deer stake. I am sure I will freeze some as soon as I get a couple of freezer containers. I will use most of it fresh with in a couple of days. I am thinking that a deer roast with peppers, onions, tomatoes in the slow cooker sounds good. I am proud that I have used what others would have thrown out. I have saved my family money with free food and I have saved my child from eating processed food once again.

1 gallon fresh tomato juice  for free.

1 gallon fresh tomato juice for free.

When will American’s learn to look at food and its usefulness in less wasteful way? Was my grandmother crazy when she said,” Waste Not, Want Not.” I hope that slowly I am teaching my children that food does not need to look perfect to taste wonderful. That we can still use a deformed carrot in stew and make jam out of over ripe fruit. That we are able to live closer to the land because we understand that nothing in this life is perfect, but what God provides for us is perfectly made for our use. Amen!

Categories: Chili, cooking, country cooking, family health, gardening, health, Homestead, organic foods, regional food, soup, steak with peppers, Tomatoes, Uncategorized, venison | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Need for Quite

I am guessing that anyone who has had young children or has been around them knows that they are noisy. They own the world that they live in and take command of that space anytime they feel the urge. Laughter and screams fill my home along with the train whistle sounds that my 5-year-old son makes.  We also live on the corner of a main two lane road and a country side road where our house is really to close to the road so it is a noisy location.We own three TV’s and it seems that someone is always watching one of the them, they provide a constant stream of back ground noise. So in all of this chaos I have discovered my desperate need for quite.

quietly floating on a boat at the base of this bridge

quietly floating on a boat at the base of this bridge

While taking care of my mother in law, who is still recovering from a major surgery and throat cancer I have discovered our need for quite is more than most. She needs peace and quite to fight off secondary infections, to combat the cancer and to process the emotions that go along with healing. No wonder why hospitals try very hard to keep things quite.

quietly looking at the ground

quietly looking at the ground

I have always been able to escape into the quite and now I need it more than ever. I would say that in general I am an extrovert and love people and social activities, talking on the phone,my book club, family dinners, parties are always activities that I love. But I have discovered that with my reduced time in the garden, on the porch reading, and time to just rest,I have lost myself and my happiness.

So over the last week I have made an effort to reduce the noise and stress I  am feeling. My home should feel like a place of rest and recovery. I have even read a few articles about the importance of quite in hospitals and in our homes.  This article talks more about the problem of “Noise, Health and Wellness” and suggests we all need more quite time. This article is just one observation  that links noise to longer recovery times in hospitals.

quietly walking through a Poplar grove.

quietly walking through a Poplar grove.

So how do you remind children that a house is a quite place? How do I reduce the amount of traffic going by my house all day? How do I find more quite time? How do I turn the day-to-day noise into a peaceful, restful place? I know there are limits to what I can do but I can remember that when no one is watching TV to turn it OFF. I can remember to take the kids outside to play. I can ask that Grandma only have a few guests a day instead of a large group where no one can hear her( she is still having some speaking issues do to the cancer and has a very quite voice). I can take her for time on the porch in the sun shine to watch the birds and feel the breeze. I can go to bed earlier making a nice quite routine happen every night so that we all fall peacefully asleep with out a rush or fight from the children.  I can take time everyday to read and pray.

quietly feeding the geese on the pond

quietly feeding the geese on the pond

It is wonderful with age that you start to understand the real importance and restorative power of Peace and Quite. My mother always tried to teach me about rest and quite. That everyone in the world would be so much better off if they could only find a few minutes everyday where they had peace and quite. I hear her voice now and understand that healing the body and the mind sometimes just needs some quite time.

quietly reading a book

quietly reading a book

 

Maybe with a little effort on my part over the next few weeks I will feel like I am getting enough quite time and will be able to take on the challenges of this life a little better and will find some more peace at the same time….. wish me luck!

Categories: About me, Cancer, cancer treatment, family health, grandma, wellness | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Ooooo That Hurts, a Bee Sting!

Just about everyone has had a bee sting or two. I have had plenty and with a yard full of clover we are very cautious about wearing shoes out side. I guess today was a the day to get a honey bee sting while wearing my Crocs . It was a total surprise and very painful while balancing a 50 pound bag of sand on my shoulder. So here is a reminder of what works and what doesn’t when some one in the family is needing some TLC from a bee sting.

honey bee

honey bee

The first thing to know is if any of  your friends or family is allergic to bee stings. If there is any chance of an allergy call 911. This simple step could save a life. Beyond a life threatening allergy there are a few things that can be used to calm a very painful and usually puffy bee sting.

my foot with a fresh honey bee sting

my foot with a fresh honey bee sting

As soon as I realized that I was stung I put down that 50 pound bag of play sand and pulled off the clog I was wearing. I looked down and looked for the classic black spot of a honey bee stinger still attached to the skin. I pulled it out with my fingers. Yes, you read that right I pinched the darn thing and pulled it out as fast as I could.I was not waiting to walk into the house to find a credit card to slowly pull the darn thing out. I can’t even imagine waiting to get the stinger out for myself but what about a toddler? Really, who is going to make them wait until you get in the house and find your pocketbook and dig out  a card, the whole time they are screaming at the top of their lungs to make it stop and tears are flowing. I am not that MaMa, I am a get that thing out of their as fast as you can and let’s get it washed ASAP, kinda grandma. Some research supports me in my thinking and others say do not take the chance to inject any more poison. I just know that the faster I get my personal stingers out of the skin the less they swell. So I remove them as fast as I can and head for a bathroom. I find that cool water is a God send. It cools the stink and washes away any dirt or grass that maybe in the sting area. If  the cooling would only last a little longer. If possible I take an aspirin or an antihistamine …  Yea, I know common sense would tell you to do this. Many people forget that aspirin is perfect for reducing swelling and pain suppression and Antihistamines  stops the terrible itching that always fallows a good sting. If you can’t get to Aspirin or a Allegra and you are treating a child try this. Mix up your own batch of Baking Soda and water and apply as a past to the sting.

baking soda and water mix together to get a paste

baking soda and water mix together to get a paste

baking soda paste on sting

baking soda paste on sting

Let this concoction dry and it will sooth the sting. It took about 5 minutes for the majority of the pain to pass away. Then to combat the swelling I washed my foot again with a cool wash cloth and used it as a compress. I have also used ice packs for wasp stings. I am more sensitive to them and swell a lot more.  Although, today all I really needed was to reach in my fridge and find a Blue Ice cooler pack and use it, wrapped in a paper towel.

blue ice pack and paper towel

blue ice pack and paper towel

 

After about three hours, I found that with a dose of Allegra, the ice and soda, I was totally fine. No pain, No swelling, and no itching, this was a great first day. Things went very well for a couple of days and on the 3 day after spending a large amount of time on my feet  I did notice a little swelling in my pinky toe and across the bridge of my foot and some general itching. I guess even after 48 hours there was enough poison in my system to have a slight reaction when I was walking all day.

2 hrs after bee sting

3 hrs after bee sting

Some of the other things that my family has tried over the years that do not help us who swell up like balloons are…. deodorant, Calamine lotion, Toothpaste, and  most of the bee sting kits. Most of the kits only mask the pain with a skin numbing agent and a small amount of rubbing alcohol. They do nothing to reduce swelling and the itching. These two symptoms are actually the worst for my family. I can usually get the stinging to stop with the above treatments,but they do nothing for the later effects. I have taken my son to the ER due to swelling of his foot so big that he was unable to wear shoes or see his three smallest toes for several days. So I always keep on had any form of generic children’s allergy medication and my Adult version just in case something happens. I even take them on vacations with us in our medical kits.

three days after a bee sting

three days after a bee sting

I hope that your summer is sting free. I am hoping that I am the only one in my family to have this experience this year. I know my heart would be broken if it was little Christopher who got in a fight with a bee and lost. Kids have such little bodies to deal with this and they suffer so much more than we do. So keep in mind these tips and maybe your summer will be a little more comfortable for everyone.

Categories: bee stings, family health, Healing, home remedies | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

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