Thursday, February 26, 2015

Empowered Enough For Ears

My family and I tend to stay pretty healthy. I can't say exactly why for sure, but I have my suppositions. Healthy eating, foot zone therapy, emotional and spiritual healing and other practices are part of our lifestyle and probably contribute to preventing illness. I don't normally have dramatic or exciting stories because things don't get bad enough for dramatic recoveries. We like to stay in the realm of "good", "better", "fantastic" and occasionally dip down to "not so good",

But we aren't perfect and neither are our mortal bodies, so this month we've had some illness in our household. It probably could have been prevented, and once we started feeling sick, we probably could have done something to help create a faster recovery and milder sickness(I have before). But we didn't put forth much effort when we caught a cold. It was pretty mild anyways.

I stayed home from church with kids, not because I didn't feel up for it, but because I knew that there are people that are terrified of germs, and some have good reason to be. It would be a ironic shame if my newborn's sniffles resulted in something horrendous for someone else. A disease that is just a slight inconvenience for me could be a lot worse for someone else. So out of respect for other people, I spiritually fed myself at home instead of church. We also had nap time at a reasonable hour. (church recently switched to 1-4 pm and so toddler falls asleep around 5 or 6).

I think I was subconsciously (and a bit consciously) enjoying the excuse to relax and not do much. And while it isn't fun to see your kids sick, it is easy to care for a usually busy kid when all they want to do is sleep and cuddle. I was content to let a mild cold just run its course without much intervention, especially since the baby was the healthiest among all of us with barely noticeable symptoms. (Say what you will, but I attribute it to breastfeeding).

But my perspective drastically changed when my toddler started complaining about his ear.
At first it was just a slight comment here or there, not enough to cause any action on my part. Then he started saying it a bunch. "My ear hurts. There is sticky in it. My ear is ouchie!" At that point I decided to postpone changing a vitamix full of oranges into jello and address the more immediate need.

I took Critter upstairs and put him on the bed next to where we store the essential oils. We've never had to deal with an ear infection, or even any real complaints in that area. But despite the lack of experience in this specific problem, I had a slew of tools to use. Over the last few years, I've been learning lots and lots of things to help my family. All of them are great and powerful individually, but for something like this, I prefer not to do experimentation of "lets try this today, and next time we'll try something else." My objective is to help my kid stop crying about how much his ear hurts, so I just threw a whole arsenal of attacks.

Modern Tools

My husband was set to leave work in less than an hour. We are a one car household. Call it doubt in my own abilities or call it common sense. Knowing it would take at least half an hour to get home from work and the nearest instacare is about 20 minutes away from home, I called my husband to tell him I suspected an ear infection. He decided to come home and help out without delay.

I was already doing stuff to help when I called, and about 20 minutes later both kids were asleep and peaceful, so I asked him to stop by Walmart (20 minutes from home, but on his way from work) and get an otoscope, something that was already on my wish list of items for home health care, but hadn't purchased yet. I figure if tools like that are readily available, it may be able to tell us as much as a trip to the doctor. Definitely worth $17 to rule out potentially simple and obvious things. Also worth it to recognize if its a real emergency that I'm not ready to handle with out medical help.

Foot Zoning and Essential Oils

My first go-to solution was what I am most familiar with. Funny how 2 years ago I had never heard of foot zone therapy, and now it is an automatic reaction. I followed a routine similar to this. I've also posted about ears before. I knew the ear point without having to look it up. Its one of the points I teach in my free classes. I'd often used it for colds and other minor ailments, but never had the opportunity of working on a toddler crying "My ear hurts!".  I also worked the lymph system as well.

The area was tender and full of "crunchies". Sometimes people ask if a foot zoner is supposed to just intuitively know or feel the energy to know if something is wrong. While that's an option, it certainly wasn't necessary in this case. I could feel are sorts of problems physically, and if that wasn't enough, it seemed to be more uncomfortable to my toddler to have me work on his foot than to feel the pain in his ear. It was so tender that I could just lightly drag my knuckle across and get my toddler to scream and pull away. For a moment I contemplated the advantage of taking him to the doctor so I could be the sweet, kind mom and let the doctor be the bad guy. But I quickly decided I would rather be the bad guy and the hero.

Since I have family members that are hyper sensitive to essential oils (meaning they used to be fine but now they get a horrible rash from applying diluted lavender), I like to err on the side of caution, especially on kids. So I put on a lot of coconut oil on the foot. I use that freely all the time. Then diluted meleluca, then diluted lavender and used my mommy intuition to choose a few other oils for topical application and for him to smell.

He wasn't happy about it, but I tried to work out the "crunchies" a bit more on the foot. I could feel that it was improving, but still problematic and tender. I sent a little reiki energy through the foot (directed at the ear point) then put the oils away and sat next to him on the bed. At this point I hadn't done anything to his ears on his head, just on the foot. I sat on the bed and nursed both my boys into peaceful slumber while we waited for daddy to get home. I used a free hand to keep doing some reiki on my toddler's ear and surrounding area.

The Ear

With two kids sleeping on me, I let my husband grab my laptop and prep the otoscope after he got home. I used my laptop to do a search on a holistic facebook page I'm part of. I'd seen plenty of posts about ear infections, and wasn't disappointed in my search's findings. Most people had lots of experience with a similar protocol, so that is what we went with, although first I tried squirting some milk in his ear. He laughed at that.

With the otoscope we saw a LOT of wax. More or less than normal, I don't know. Not so much that it appeared to be the only problem, but there was definitely wax. Of course, since this is the first time using it, we didn't know what "normal" was for his ears. But there was a little chart with the otoscope and we guessed it was a bit infected. We could also tell one ear looked worse than the other, which matched what he was telling us. It started with just one ear hurting, but had increased to both, which correlated with my foot findings as well.

We started off just putting stuff in Critter's ears, but he hated how cold it was. I was kind of curious, so I volunteered to be the guinea pig for subsequent rounds. Then Critter could hold my hand and help me through it (and giggle when I squeezed his hand when it was cold) and he could see it was OK. We waited a while between drops, don't know if it was necessary or not. but it didn't hurt anything.

The protocol we followed was this:

  1. Pour/drip hydrogen peroxide into the ear. It is cold and feels like when your ears get full of water. It may fizz a little if there is infection and sounds slightly bubbly. Then flip head over onto towel so excess drains out of ear and drops can go in the other ear. We did this step once for me and a few times for Critter.
  2.  Pour/drip rubbing alcohol into ear. This was a similar sensation, but also seemed to produce just a little bit of heat. Not a burning or really uncomfortable, just enough that I noticed and was ready for the next step sooner than later. This step helps dry out what might be left from before. We drained excess like with the first step.
  3. Pour a little olive oil into ear. It helps soothe everything. We used a funnel and the oil tickled just a little going in. I rubbed excess into my skin instead of worrying about draining on the towel.

Finishing Off

After all this, I think Critter was wondering if the cure was worse than the ear pain. Having someone rub your foot and put cold drops in your ear can be pretty rough for a toddler, especially when you are already in pain. But looking at his ears through the otoscope indicated things were much improved. Working the feet confirmed it. I'm pretty familiar with feet by now, so while I liked the concreteness of the otoscope, the feet offered more clear and obvious feedback to me. I realize I may be somewhat unique in this regard. :)

After we assured him we were done, he was tired and ready to rest and relax some more. He still said his ears hurt, but it wasn't keeping him from resting and I was wondering if he was answering out of habit rather than to tell us what was going on. I've found that 2 year olds don't always give reliable answers. It probably still hurt a little at that point, but while he rested, I gave him an almost complete reiki session. The reason it was only almost complete is because when I got to the bottom of his feet he jumped up wide awake, excited and ready to play. Ears no longer bothering him.


So amidst all our treatments what actually healed his ears? It was obvious that he was healed. He went from crying and complaining about how much his ears hurt to being his usual self. My ears felt a little clearer too. I don't know what was "the cure" or even if it was any one isolated thing. He probably didn't need all of the treatments we gave him, but nothing hurt, so why not? Maybe his healing was already underway when I was doing reiki on his ear downstairs before abandoning our vitamix concoction. Maybe the foot zone or essential oils were the turning point. Maybe he received emotional healing as I comforted him through the process and as daddy came home early to help him. Maybe the chemicals in the ears were the most beneficial process or maybe the reiki session at the end.

I don't know, and don't really care what was most effective. I'm grateful that his problem never got more serious (no fever or other complication).  and I'm especially grateful for the opportunity to use the skills I have to really make a difference. I'm glad I can make subtle differences regularly, but it is kind of nice to see a substantial, significant shift once in a while. I'm super grateful for all that I've been able to learn in such a short time and to be able to apply such simple practices to get such awesome results.

It wasn't fun being the "bad guy" during the process, but it sure is nice to feel like the hero after the fact.

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