Tag Archives: sickness

I’m All Ears.

31 Jan

As a kid, I had a lot of ear infections. As an adult, I still do because I’m stuck in a Catch 22.

Because of all my ear infections growing up, I now have a condition they call Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. The Eustachian tube is what makes your ears pop to keep the pressure on the inside and outside of your ear the same.

Even though the Eustachian tube is always at work (it opens and closes with each yawn or swallow), most people only notice their ears pop when ascending/descending in altitude (like flying) or possibly when they have nasal congestion. But when your Eustachian tube malfunctions, it’s very obvious.

I started noticing it when I’d get a cold. My ears would pop a lot and I’d be able to hear my own voice inside my head (which is very weird, by the way). When the cold went away, so did the symptoms, for the most part. But that was in college when I never cooked anything besides turkey sandwiches and cereal, I lived in a house with 5 other girls, and spent a lot of time surrounded by other students – meaning I got sick a lot. (Travis still remarks about this, though I only get sick once every 18 months or so now.) It seemed like I was always sick in high school and college. So my ears were frequently bothering me.

Finally, I had had enough. It was miserable living that way. I went to the ear doctor and they made me do at least half a dozen hearing tests, in addition to looking in my ear with their lighted instrument. They asked, “Did you have a lot of ear infections as a kid?” Why yes, yes I did.

After all of that, they sat me down and said that I had Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. They described what it was and said that since my ears still popping (as opposed to being completely shut or completely open) and my hearing was still fine, I didn’t need surgery. But then they said something that made me almost cry.

“There’s not much we can do about it.”

What? You mean I have to live like this the rest of my life?!?!?

As I choked back tears, they explained that the only thing they could do was put in ear tubes, but they usually cautioned against that in adults because it could leave a permanent hole in my eardrum. Well, I didn’t want that. And ear tubes sounded creepy. So I just left, utterly disappointed.

That was about 7 years ago.

Today, my ears still pop every time I swallow but I’ve gotten used to it. And I am soooo incredibly thankful that the condition is just an annoyance, instead of one that would cause deafness or actual pain.

But the Catch 22 is that my Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which was caused by ear infections, is now causing ear infections. An article on Livestrong says:

In many cases, the Eustachian tubes are either too narrow or are blocked due to irregularities in the surrounding structures. For those individuals, frequent ear infections may recur due to the failure of the Eustachian tubes to drain the middle ear.

I’ve had so many ear infections that I can tell if I have one by just pushing on the outside of my ear. If it hurts, it’s infected. I go into the doctor and say, “Have ear infection. Need antibiotics.” (But they never believe me, so they get out their lighted instrument and stick it in my ear anyway.)

Right now, I have an ear infection. Every time I blow my nose, my ears pop and my right ear hurts. This time, instead of going to the doctor, I’m trying a natural remedy – garlic oil.

My friend Carrie told me about this (she uses it for her kids) and swears that it works. And because the Internet agrees, it must be true. I read here that garlic can cure ear infections because it has antibiotic properties. Who knew?

That same article gives this recipe for making garlic oil:

 

Things You’ll Need

 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 glass measuring cup, microwave safe
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • Cheesecloth
  • Small jar with lid
  • Eye dropper or syringe
  • Cotton balls
  1. Pour the olive oil in the glass measuring cup. Chop two peeled cloves of garlic and place in cup. Microwave the oil for about a minute. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the oil through a piece of cheesecloth to remove the garlic pieces. Place the oil in a covered jar and store it in the refrigerator. The oil will keep for about three weeks.
  3. To use the oil, place 1 tsp. over an open flame until lukewarm. Test the oil on the back of your hand to make sure it’s not too hot. Have the person lie down, infected ear up. Fill the dropper or syringe and put 1 or 2 drops of oil in the affected ear. Insert a cotton ball in the ear for 30 minutes. Repeat every 1 to 2 hours.

I did this last night but didn’t have a dropper and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right (and was too lazy to find out for sure). My ear feels a little better but still hurts so I will be doing this again tonight.

Have you had a lot of ear infections? Ever tried a natural remedy instead of antibiotics?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Bright.

28 Jan

That’s how I would define my new Brooks running jacket and Aspaeris compression shorts.

In the words of Elf, That’s shocking.

But colors aside, I think my new running gear is going to be good. The jacket fits snugly but a good snug. The bottom black part is elastic so it stretches across my booty and the jacket is roomy enough in the chest and arms for me to fit one or two thin layers underneath. I’m not sure I’ll need to though, since this jacket clearly states that it’s designed for “40 degrees and below.” The jacket is thinner than I expected but when I put it on, I do feel warmer. According to the tag, the “lightweight aluminum membrane retains your heat so you stay warm without adding layers.” For $110, it better live up to the hype. Now I’m wishing for Colorado to cool off so I can try it out. 😉

I really like the reflective details on the jacket – you can see the vertical one at the bottom in the picture above (there’s another one on the right side). There’s also a reflective logo on the left sleeve, and on the back, there’s a reflective logo at the top and then another reflective piping strip along the vent in the middle (never mind the black specks, those are mascara smudges on the mirror that I can’t get off):

And never mind that you can see the stripes of my underwear through the red shorts (buyers, beware). I also like the left inside pocket for holding your mp3 player or phone (the gray mesh part is also a bigger pocket, on both sides):

And the thumb holes:

The black fabric, which is just from the cuff down, is really soft. I’ve never had a jacket or sweatshirt with thumb holes before but I think I’ll like it. At the very least, it’ll force me to not obsess over my pace because I can’t get to my watch!

I’ve wanted the compression shorts because SkinnyRunner raves about them, I don’t like my other tight running shorts, and I’m in love with all shapes and sizes of compression gear – but I couldn’t stomach the $60 price tag. The minute I heard they were 50% off with the code cooleronline (in support of SR’s Ragnar team – I’m not sure if it still works but give it a shot), I snatched them up. And in red. Why not? It’s actually a very pretty red, IMO.

The shorts fit really well – they’re definitely tight and hard to get on, which is the key to compression gear. If it slides on easily, it isn’t compression.

I also like that they come up higher so I don’t feel like my belly is hanging over them or getting some muffin top action. That’s never good. In case you’re wondering, I ordered a medium in both the jacket and shorts. It’s a rare day that I’m not a medium!

But it’ll be a couple of days until I can try these things out – or try running in general because I ended up getting sick. Boo. I started feeling sick on Wednesday but didn’t feel sick enough to stay home so I went to work that day and Thursday. Finally, Friday I felt crappy enough to merit starting the weekend early staying home from work.

As far as sickness goes, it’s been kind of bittersweet. I have hardly any sinus congestion but I have a major headache that I can’t get rid of (even with acetaminophen and lots of water) and some major chest congestion and a hacking cough. Which means I feel well enough to read, bake and take the dogs on slow walks, but I can’t run or do anything that would get my heart rate up. I’m a little bummed because I was looking forward to running this weekend but the smart thing is to rest until this blows over. (I’m pretty sure I’d hack up a lung running anyway and I need to keep what little lung I have.)

I am thankful that I can mostly enjoy being forced to take things easy, instead of being in a Sudafed-induced coma. I’ll live vicariously through reading about all of your runs. 😉

Hope you’re having a good weekend!

It’s amazing what you can accomplish…

26 Sep

…when you don’t workout!

My weekend was lovely and productive. But I didn’t do a single workout – unless you count walking my pooches and watching them smear their poop all over Wheat Ridge sidewalks.

Friday night, I finally repainted my toenails while watching Parenthood – love that show! I went to bed around 9:30 (I don’t even feel the need to justify that) and read for a while while Travis played hockey.

Saturday, we got up bright and early for coffee with Cathy (me) and The Forge at church (Travis). Then we went home and while Travis watched football, I made my grocery list and went grocery shopping.

On the menu for this week:

The Zesty Chili is cooking in my crock pot right now.
With my refrigerator and shelves fully stocked, I set to making zucchini bread and muffins with one of our last zucchinis (single tear! not really – we’re kind of burned out on zucchini) and this gooey deliciousness for our care group BBQ on Sunday.

While my bread and muffins baked, I did the massive quantity of dishes that baking always produces, walked the pooches, and got ready for our date night: Yogurtland + Cheap Seats. Woohoo! The date literally cost us $13.

I got Mango Pineapple + Coconut + Peach and topped with a little bit of: kiwi, raspberries, pineapple, gummy bears, and cheesecake squares. Mmmmm… Travis had never been to Yogurtland before. As he was eating his delicious concoction, he said, “I understand what all the rage is about now.”

{Apologies for the bad pic.}

After Yogurtland, we saw Captain America for $7 total. It blows my mind that two people can see a movie at the discount theater for less than the price of one ticket at the main theater. Yay for discount theaters! (If this one ever goes out of business, I will be seriously sad.) The movie was great. As much as my sophisticated taste thought I would hate all of the Marvel Comic movies, I have to admit that I have loved each of them (I have seen Thor, both Iron Man 1 and 2 and now Captain America). The only one I haven’t seen is The Hulk – which I guess I’ll have to remedy before The Avengers comes out next May.

Sunday, we went to church and then bought a baby gift for my nephew, due in January! I bought 3 items from their registry, plus one fun thing (that I will mention later in case my sister-in-law happens to read this). Still very hard to believe that I am going to be an aunt. (I guess technically, I already am an aunt since Travis has a nephew but it feels weird to call myself his aunt…)

Then I finally tackled our messy office. It went from this:

To this:

Organization – welcome back.

I also downloaded all of our pictures from our camera onto our computer and deleted them off our camera, printed out our confirmation emails for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Relay, and sent pictures of Charlie to the vet who rescued her.

By 3:30, it was time to leave for our care group BBQ. I didn’t take any pics (stupid!) but a fun time (and LOTS of good food!) was had by all. I ended up feeling a little sick to my stomach by the end of the party so when I got home, I changed clothes and spent the rest of the evening on the couch (instead of cleaning and baking like I had hoped). Oh well. I watched the season finale of Drop Dead Diva (my #2 favorite show ever, after Bones) and the season premiere of Desperate Housewives – which was “eh.”

Things I wanted to get done that I didn’t (and need to before leaving for MN on Thursday night!!):

1. Vacuum. Dog hair is everywhere!

2. Laundry. Overflowing.

3. More baking. Specifically chocolate chip banana bread and pumpkin bread. Mmmm…

I also need to work out every day this week (since I will probably be taking off 4 days back in MN). I’m thinking a couple of runs, some yoga, and some time on the bike. We’ll see…

Sickness + Sore Muscles = Suck

23 Sep

Yesterday, after typing up my marathon training plan, I was all gung-ho to get back on the exercise horse. So I ran to the Rec (3.15 miles round trip) and did 30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical while I was there. I kept an eye on my heart rate but I was so tired and sluggish that my problem wasn’t keeping my heart rate low enough, but getting it high enough. My run was at a 11:50/mile pace but it felt a lot slower.

I did the first 30 minutes of Yoga X (from P90X) on Tuesday morning and I am just now getting over the soreness. And it was weird soreness – the front of my biceps and my hamstrings. Weird. My arms were still so sore yesterday that they hurt while I was running. It always amazes me how the human body adapts to exercises. I can do an Olympic triathlon and hardly be sore at all but I do 30 measly minutes of yoga and I can barely walk. What’s up with that? Anyway, I also had high aspirations to do strength training last night but after 15 lunges on each leg, discovered that my legs were completely shot.

Then during the night, Charlie woke up at 3 am and started whining and banging around in her crate. I either have the world’s best hearing or have a mother’s sixth sense because I can hear Charlie over a fan and through a closed door. Grrrrr… I got up once and told her to stop whining. She kept doing it. Travis was moving around a little then so I asked him if he thought she had to poop and if I should let her out. He said “Maybe” and “Probably” and then very chivalrously offered to let her out himself. As he stumbled over to the closet to find some shorts and rummaged around for 30 seconds, I told him I might as well do it since I was already wide awake and was fully clothed. So he went back to bed.

Charlie did have to go. As I put her back in her crate and went back to bed, I thought about how our relationship with Katy is so different from ours with Charlie. Katy is very predictable and always has been. So if she pooped or puked inside the house, you knew there was something wrong – it was so out of character for her. But Charlie has seriously been (to use Winston Churchill’s description of Christopher Columbus that I learned in college) “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” We have not been able to figure her out. There is no predicting what she will or will not do.

But I feel like we’re making very slow progress with this. This morning, when I sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, Charlie went over and sniffed at the laundry room door (the way they get outside). I let her out and she went and did her thing. Yay! She didn’t poop inside! Progress!

The downside of getting up to let her out was that I couldn’t get back to sleep for the life of me. I think I finally fell back asleep around 4:30. I don’t know why but when I go to bed, I don’t have any trouble falling asleep. But when I try to fall back asleep in the wee hours of the morning, I always have tons of thoughts running through my head – about work, what I’m going to wear, what I’m going to have for breakfast, if I should work out in the morning or wait until after work, what I’m going to bring for lunch, etc. This stuff does NOT need to be decided at 4 am!

"Yeah, I'm a lot of work."

Needless to say, working out this morning did not happen. I actually didn’t get up until 7:30! Katy started doing her low groaning thing in our bedroom around 6:30 because she wanted to be fed. So I got up, fed them, put Charlie back in her crate and went back to bed. But I just laid there, psyching myself out, paranoid that they were whining. Bah! So I got back up at 7, put them in the backyard (with Charlie on a cable so she couldn’t jump over the fence like she does all the time now), and went back to bed for another 30 minutes. Again, no sleep. Just too lazy to actually stay out of bed. I think I’m understanding my husband more these days…

And on top of everything, I woke up feeling more sick than I did yesterday. This cold is tougher to kick than I thought! So I guess I should ease off and do some more yoga and easy cardio.

I’m feeling very relieved that I only have to run 5 miles in the half marathon relay! And that today is Friday! Our weekend is pretty open so far – I’m having coffee with my friend Cathy tomorrow and then we’re having a “last of the summer” care group BBQ on Sunday afternoon. My only goal is to get our office cleaned up. That has been my dumping ground for the last 4 months and it shows!

Do you have any plans for the weekend?

Finding God in a cold

19 Sep

{source}

Being sick makes me whiny. Self-pitying. Lazy. Indulgent. Compromising.

I sleep in instead of reading the Bible – because “only sleep will help me get better.”

I don’t pray because if I don’t have the energy for a “real” prayer, it doesn’t actually count.

I hunker down in my own little world, waiting for the sickness to blow over.

“Once I’m better, I’ll get back to normal life.”

Then this verse hit me this morning:

“And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your  bones strong…” (Isaiah 58:11).

Being sick makes me feel like I’m in a scorched place. A place where I don’t enjoy being awake. A place where I really dislike having to go to work.

God can satisfy me even here.

I had categorized sickness apart from trials. But in reality, sickness is a trial. And if I let all the little trials of this life drive me from God, I won’t be near God very much.

Once again, God is showing me that I need to draw near to Him in times of need, based solely on my Savior’s blood. I don’t need to earn His blessing through my prayers. I can’t earn His blessing.

The question isn’t whether I’m spending time in the Word instead of sleeping, or reading Christian books instead of watching TV, or praying for others instead of for myself while I’m sick. The question is: am I still pursuing God?

Most of the time, the answer is no.

Pursuing God feels like work. It feels like something I need energy for. Something that needs to be done all-or-nothing style. I’d rather just lay on the couch and not think.

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).

God does not set unrealistic standards for me, like I do for myself. I’m the one giving the guilt trip. I’m the one saying that it’s all or nothing.

God says that whatever I have to give is enough. He wants my constant affection, not my perfectionism.

Anytime my perfectionism keeps me from going to God, a red flag should go up. There are no obstacles to God in Christ.

None. Not sickness. Not death. Not failure. Not sin.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, not things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).