Wednesday, February 10, 2010

what's in you wednesday

I haven't written about it - because I don't want to complain - but I've been really sick for the past 10 days.


This is the fourth time in the past three months that I've been sick. And once again, I question the whole concept of "sickness strengthens the immune system." This theory is totally lost on me. I was sick as a child. I'm sick as an adult. Infact, most of the time I get even sicker than my children.

So where the heck is my immunity?!

This past Monday, it got so bad with the fever and hacking cough, that I thought for sure I had pneumonia. Turns out I don't. Just an extremely stubborn case of bronchitis. But it's prevented me from doing much exercise. Or anything else for that matter. Except eat chicken soup by the gallon and clutch mug after mug of hot tea and honey. All of my business trips and meetings have been scrapped and I've been shuffling around the house with a box of Kleenex under my arm.


Earlier this week I ran out to a doctor's appointment. Charlie asked me to pick up something for him at Home Depot on the way home, which was easy enough since I was planning to stop at Target which was in the same vicinity. But when I swung by Target, I had a coughing fit while standing in the cleaning aisle debating what would best clean the floor around the toilet.

Fanstastik? Oxy Clean? Scrubbing Bubbles?

It started as a little tickle.

*Cough* *Cough*

But then, my windpipe closed and I started gasping for air, between hacks.

Tears were streaming down my face and at one point, I saw stars. I grabbed a hold of my cart and stumbled over to the paper good aisles where I spotted a box of tissue that I ripped open. Then I turned my cart and made my way to the medicine aisle where I ripped open a bag of cough drops. Then, I spun my cart around and rushed over to the grocery section where I grabbed a bottle of lemonade that I cracked open and chugged, right there in the store. Then I said a little prayer of thanks that I went to Target first as opposed to Home Depot because I might have dropped dead in the lumber aisle.


Last night, I took the cough medicine my doctor prescribed which is something with codeine. I went to bed at around 11:00 PM and Charlie nudged me awake this morning at 10:00. Not once between 11:00 and 10:00 did I open my eyes. I must not have moved during the night because when I woke up, I was in the same exact position as when I went to sleep. Propped up on a pillow with the book "Three Cups of Tea" opened to the first page.

Because ... ha ha ... I thought I'd start reading it last night before I went to sleep. But all I remember is getting in to bed, picking up the book and looking at the cover. And then, the codeine must have kicked in.


That codeine is some powerful stuff. But now I need to know some other powerful stuff that I can take to help me proactively combat illness for the rest of the year. I'm not willing to resign myself to the fact that with four little ones at home, colds and flus are a part of life. Since the whole Zicam anosmia fiasco, I've stopped using what I thought was a tried and true bullet against illness. Now, I'm eating an apple every day and drinking lots of water and washing my hands all the time. But what else?

What else can I possibly do?

Please tell me, what are you doing to stay healthy?

And more importantly ... is it working?


In other news, I just happened to catch this story on CNN. Here's more on their noble cause.

All I can say is what remarkable young women. To be so young and to do so much good ... they are an inspiration. These are the stories that give me so much hope about the goodness in our world and our future generations. These are the kind of good deeds that I want for our children to hear about and embrace as they grow older. So tomorrow, I'll be sharing with our five-year-olds what other young people are doing to help the world and I'll do my best to explain what I know about Rwanda.

Which according to my cousin, a famous Boston comedian, is right next to Rwalter.


  1. The other thing that your body needs to stay healthy is getting your 8+ hours of sleep every night without fail. I'll bet you are a stayer-upper...?

    I'll also bet that fourtimesthefun Michele is having her own coughing/laughing/lying on the ground in hysterics spasm that *I* am telling you this, because I am the WORST offender in this area. But I know that I should get more sleep, for my own health, and I'm trying. So it's on my mind and I thought I'd toss it out there to you in case it applies to you, too. Good luck and feel better!

  2. Surprisingly, my two kids have been pretty healthy this winter. I'm chalking it up to their vitamins (children's multivitamins, Immune C gummies, and extra Vitamin D), plenty of hand sanitizer, and their bout with (supposedly) swine flu back in October. It's been great for me that they have been so healthy, because I'm not catching anything from them and I've got about 5 weeks to go in my pregnancy and the last thing I want to do is be sick.

    Stay well hydrated, Jen! And as far as cleaning around the toilet, those Lysol/Clorox/Kirkland brand from Costco disinfectant wipes do the trick around here. I try not to use spray stuff in the bathroom unless I have covered up the toothbrushes properly.

  3. I've heard good things about black elderberry. Specifically sambucol, . I hope you feel better soon!

  4.'ve been going to church more frequently and you've also been getting sick more frequently? AND you started working full time again and have more meetings where you are stuck in an enclosed space for a period of time?...You may be just going thru a phase of building up your immunities for the creeping crud in your new environments...
    I would recommend handwashing on the way out/as soon as you leave these activities. This has worked well for my family.

    I take a regular multi-vitamin, but I've also started taking a vitamin called "The Wellness Formula". (you can get it at Whole Foods and Jimbo's...maybe Henry's) A co-worker turned me onto it. It has lots of vitamin C in it (among other herbs, roots and voodoo-like's a nasty tasting horse pill, I say...) I keep it near where I fold the laundry, so it is super easy to remember to take it. It has worked like a peach!

    Sleep helps too...but you are already used to operating on no sleep...I can't imagine you are sleeping more now!

  5. For me, B12 complex + additional B12 vitamin has done the trick. As I've gotten older, I seem to get sick more often and have a hard time getting over it. Heck, once I got severe case pneumonia and I was the only one in the house to even get the sniffles.

    When I was first treated for hypothyroidism, I thought the treatment would jump start my immune system but it really didn't do anything. I started having constantly tingly/jumpy legs and my doc did a B12 test. Technically it wasn't low, but it was low enough that she said she often sees nervous system impacts. A few months after starting the supplements, I was better. After 6-9 months, I noticed I wasn't getting sick very often. When I did get sick, I got over it much, much quicker. I never forget to take my B12s now.

  6. Sorry you are feeling so ill. I wish I had a magical cure for you, but the only thing that works for me when I am sick is sleep, sleep,and more sleep. I was wondering where your kids are sliding in the pictures. We are in San Diego every once in a while and I think they would love it. Thanks!

  7. You've come to the right person!

    We take a combination of Engystol and Sambucol. I get both at

    The Engystol was developed in Germany and stimulates the immune system to fight off viruses. The Sambucol prevents the virus from multiplying. Between the two, you can't lose.

    I think my kids have RSV again and I started pounding them with it and Amanda only coughed two nights. Now Austin just started. Yippee!

  8. Hi,
    If you are not already taking a good-quality daily fish oil supplement, try that. That helps me. Also, for me there is a weight range where if I go below it, I get sick a lot more often than if I weight 5-10 lbs more. For me it is BMI 21-21.5 that seems to do the trick. Even though not technically underweight at BMI 20 or slightly lower, I noticed that I got sick a lot more often vs. with a few more pounds on.

    Dress warmly enough when you go outside so there is no chance of getting a chill.

    Otherwise, I just hope you feel better and that you stop getting sick.

  9. Sick - yuck. Glad your hubby is a great team player in covering the kids for you.

    Have you tried saline wash for your sinuses. It's gross to think about but is a major life saver for the creepy crud.

    They make a special little pot to use but honestly, the bottle of saline (contact wash) works great.

    What you do... get a washcloth (dry) and the bottle of saline. Open the bottle and put the little knob in one of your nostrils. Turn your head over in front of you so your head is down by your knees. Gently squeeze the saline so that it fills your sinus cavity. When it starts to come out the other nostril take the saline bottle out of your nostril and gently stand back up. Use the washcloth to catch the liquid.
    Repeat on the other side.
    When you are done - move your head side to side to make sure you have the saline out of the ears.
    You will need to blow you nose a few times.
    Do this twice a day and take mucinex for the chest congestion.
    Do the sinus wash once a day when you are feeling good - it helps keep all the germs out of there so you reduce your chances of getting sick.

    Sounds gross but you will swear by it when you don't get sick anymore. And it really only takes about a minute to do.

  10. Michelle M in TX2/11/10, 9:25 AM

    Try Cold Eeze (sp?). They taste kind of yucky, but they help if you begin taking them at the first sign of a cold. Hope you feel better soon!

  11. You are correct, Say NO to ZICAM....still working on my sense of smell and it's been THREE YEARS!

    My suggestion: vitamins. (not that I'm good about taking them myself) Drink lots of water too.

    Feel better soon.

  12. I'm sick, too... hacking cough and sinus issues! It is so hard to wake up every 2 to 3 hours with baby and then try to get better... doesn't work. UGH! Let me know if you find a cure!

  13. Michele ove At 3 times the fun recommended sumbical *sp?* I picked up some for my husband because he stays sick too and it works!

  14. Austinlivingstons: Those slide photos were taken at Legoland in Carlsbad. We bought memberships last April and have only been a few times. Since they expire soon - we're trying to make a point of going every two weeks!

    I'm definitely going to boost my vitamin intake and Lynn, VERY interesting about the tingly hands and jumpy legs. I've been having a lot of that lately. I'll need to pick up some B12 when I run out later today.

    Thanks for the wellness advice everybody!

  15. Oh, and Tamara: I love nasal sinus rinses - LOVE them!! I don't use a Neti Pot, but instead, the Sinus Rinse. It's the same concept and it works great. I've even got the kids doing it...!

  16. Hmm... I don't know what to say. I think I want to try Michelle's medicine cocktail! I have a very supressed immune system because it is being medically supressed right now. (thanks to that bout of blistery hands, which turned out to be an ALLERGIC REACTION)

    Anyway, I catch EVERYTHING. And its always super bad. I finally went over to my aana's (g-ma) and she scolded me for not coming to her earlier.

    Now...I drink a cup of tundra tea, mixed with fresh spring water, and stinkweed boiled into it. I haven't been since in WEEKS. Seriously. I was sick, SiCk, SICK, and now...nothing. At the onset of coughs, my kids get a cup of that tea per NIGHT. It has drastically helped. My daughter, who had CHRONIC strep throat, (10 times last year alone!) hasn't had it ONCE in about seven months since she started gargling with stinkweed (I know that's not the real name...but that's what we call it) tea. My son...who was born with a weakened immune system has been awesome. No hospitalizations, etc.

    I'm chalking it up to my grandmother knowing her stuff, after all she DID live through everything in northwest AK. She is also the one who cured my daughter's eczema. (bathe in lukewarm water, then add about 10tsp of COOKING OIL (like CANOLA OIL!) to the bath...wash as usual) She has the softest skin now!

    Good luck. Sorr, I can't send you any stinkweed to boil. Its all covered in snow. I guess people gather it in the summer/fall time and freeze it. Hmm...

    That's all I have...I'm as clueless as anyone. I want to try the Sambucol and Engystol but thanks to the hand thing, I'm afraid of being alergic to it...

    For now...I'll stick to stinkweed and tundra tea...with honey!

  17. It's lack of sugar! You need a serious fix. ;-) Had mine this morning and although I'm an emotional, nervous, blotted mess and I am totally shaking from a sugar high - at least I'm not a coughing, sneezing, spastic mess!

    Now I ask you - which sounds better???? ;-) Hope you feel better soon. Love, Marg

    Oh! By the way - Did you really get snow?? I saw a clip on the Today Show this morning - Not sure but thought they said San Diego got snow.(?)

  18. I went through a period of 3 years with what they were calling chronic bronchitis (pretty much every other month) and a couple of bouts of pneumonia thrown in. Codeine is wonderful for sleeping and supressing the cough. I am not one to take too many meds, but I caved in and started taking advair like my doctor recommended to strengthen my lungs. I no longer use it or have needed in the past 2years since I took my fathers (he is more about natural stuff) advice of starting a B12 complex supplement along with a multivitamin.

  19. First time to comment! But have been reading you for about a year. I have almost 4 under the age of 5- (due with our 4th in 2 months) so you make me laugh quite frequently. I can relate to a lot (especially your struggle of to school or to homeschool) and the "organized chaos" that every day brings! In any event, in being pregnant with H1N1 going around and the scare that it seems to be for pregnant women, I was pretty adamant about searching for ways to stay as healthy in my power to do so. I found the info here VERY helpful. It, too, recommends sinus cleansings which I started (totally weird at first but you get used to it, sort of...but what I REALLY found interesting was the gurgling with saltwater or Listerine. TWICE now I've had that funky feeling in my throat and after gurgling, it's totally minimized. I think there's something to it, even if just in my head!!!

    Also- our whole family started on "Juice Plus"...a whole food supplement that is the only one on the market with peer-reviewed research. As a nurse myself, that "peer reviewed" thing is key. They have a capsule form for the adults and a gummy form for the children. The great thing is that IF you and Charlie started on it, you could sponsor TWO of your kids for free for I believe up to 2 years as long as you continue taking. It's a "children's health study" that they are currently doing and all that is required is a survey stating your doctor visits, illness, etc. Our family has been taking this for just over a year and DRAMATICALLY has decreased the amount of colds/sickness we have. Granted, we bring in an occasional bug, but it doesn't go in rounds like it used to- and my husband and I RARELY get what the kids have. AND the kids have it in much less severity that those of their peers. Anyway... if you'd like more info, I'd be happy to tell you more or put you in contact with someone who could. Really not trying to make money here (I am a distributor but only to save on my families portion since we have such a big order!) We find it to be very affordable and love the fact that they are constantly undergoing studies... plus many health professionals stand behind it. In any event, if nothing else, try out the listerine trick AND lots and lots of handwashing! And not with antibacterial soap...just regular old soap and water! Anyway...thanks for all the laughs!

  20. You know, I wish I knew how we stayed so healthy, so I could pass that knowledge along to others.

    I had a cold in October, then my son got the same one for about 2 days. Since then nothing for anyone in our house. (I am seriously knocking on wood for saying this.)

    The last time I was sick enough to go to the doctor was...5 or 6 years ago. I had a terrible sinus infection. I've had nothing but a few minor colds since then. I don't get flu shots, I occassionally remember to take my multi-vitamins, and I wash my hands often.

    My son has NEVER been to the doctor for being sick, only well-child check-ups. I know, strange, and extremely lucky. I wonder if it's because he was born with an unexplained infection and therefore spent a week in the Special Care nursery being pumped full of antibiotics. Don't know. He's almost 4 years old and healthy as a horse.

    My son is not in daycare or pre-school. We only go out and about once or twice a week, and also attend church once a week. Otherwise we tend to be homebodies (my son and I). Maybe that's the answer. Less time out, less exposure. Who knows. I feel blessed.

  21. Just a head's up, I recently read in a Reader's Digest article that recent studies have shown taking vitamin C doesn't really prevent getting colds and flu. It has virtually NO effect whatsoever, no matter how much of it you take. So unless you've got Scurvy, I wouldn't worry with chugging too much of it.

    As for us, we each (hubby, me, kids) take a multivitamin daily and do a lot of handwashing and hand sanitizer. Also, we use a vaporizer for the kids when they start coughing to help them breathe better and sleep through the night.

    Also for coughs, we put vicks vapor rub on the soles of our feet and then add socks. I got this in an email forward two years ago, and having used it ever since, IT WORKS.

    Other than that, lots of good advice already posted on here. I think we all just do the best we can preventively.

  22. Oh man....being sick is just plain sucky. I've been down and out with something twice in the last three months, and that was enough to drive me crazy. I like hearing what other people are doing to stay me good ideas. Hope you feel better soon.

  23. I read something a few weeks ago and it said to gargle (back of throat) and swoosh (entire mouth) with either warm saltwater or Listerine several times a day. The theory was that germs divide and multiply in your doing the rinsing throughout the day you are halting the process. So, if you DO still get sick, it won't be as bad as it would have been. Also, it said to swab the inside of your nose with a q-tip that has warm saltwater on it. Same theory...germs divide in the nose too.

    I have absolutely NO idea if this works, but it actually makes sense and it would be so easy to try that it might be worth a shot.

    I rarely get sick, but my mom catches everything...if you find something that works, let us know and I will pass it along to her!!!


  24. I too was on the Zicam bandwagon. They still make Zicam melts that you suck on, but I must introduce you to Airborne. (The Target version is just as good.) I start taking it when I feel like I'm catching something, just like I always did with Zicam and wowsa, does it ever help! Sometimes I still catch a little something, but it never really gets bad like it was for a while there. I was SICK the whole month of October last year.

    I also use the neti pot to clean out my nose and sinuses when I feel something coming on and that helps, too.

    Good luck! Let us know what works.


  25. I like emergen-c. Raspberry flavor.

  26. We wash our hands constantly. When we come in from being out and about is very important. We also have everyone who comes to the house to wash their hands and/or sanitize them. I would say I am a little anal about it, but totally contribute the lack of illnesses in our family. My kids are 15 months old and have only been sick once - with a cold - and that was just after their first birthday. I haven't been sick at all since the birth of my kids. And I am just getting over a cold. I am a huge believer in hand washing - all the time : )