I confess. I have become a germaphobe in my advanced ago. I don't mind saying so especially these days. I wash my hands every time I come home from a public place and am so grossed out by people coughing and sniveling and sneezing without regard to others in the same air space that I will turn around and walk out of that space. Sometimes I think that I am being ridiculous but most of the time I honor my caution.
I know there was a time when I did not pull down my sleeve to cover my hand to turn a public knob or use my elbow to push open a public door. I've tried remembering whether there was a point at which I suddenly became highly conscious of keeping my hands clean but I can't really pinpoint it. It was probably a gradual process.
That being said, I probably turned a corner when I came down with a long and horrid flu virus after cramming myself into a room full of children for a Henry Winkler workshop in a small indie book store. Never again will I attend a children's event. Pity but truth. Still, it's not only children who are germy.
I remember watching an episode of ER during one of its last seasons in which a staph infection was running through the facility. It was determined that an orderly in the ER was not washing his hands. At all. The scene I remember was of one of the doctors instructing and supervising his hand washing. Golly, I thought... How is it possible that hospital workers do not wash their hands or even understand how to or why it's necessary?
I remember my father washing his hands in the basement sink with Fels Naptha. We always had bars of that around the house. That stuff was super harsh. I could no longer use that on my skin today unless it was the last soap available. However, I'm fortunate in that my parents were both pretty keen on my hand washing.
Now I use Dr. Bronner's Castile liquid soaps most of the time. I also travel with charcoal soap and, if I pick up a sample, a small bar of some nice, fatty French olive oil soap. I always keep a little nail brush at each of my sinks.
I also wear gloves whenever possible especially "rubber" gloves while washing dishes. The truth is that my fingers have become almost allergic to water. The skin around my nails splits and my fingers break out in a sort of dermatitis rash. I finally found a solution after trying all sorts of creams, ointments and lotions to no avail but I'll write about that at the bottom of this post.
The CDC lays out clear instructions and here's what they say:
HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS
1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. If the water is too hot, you'll damage your skin.
2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
3. Keep rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds. After the very important length of 20 seconds, I pick up my nail brush to get around my nails and cuticles. If you use a nail brush, make sure that you rinse that, too.
4. Rinse your hands well (that means thoroughly) under clean, running water. Rinse all those germs off. Thoroughly.
5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. It's better to pat your skin dry rather than rubbing. Patting dry reduces potential irritation.
6. If you can't use running water and soap, use hand sanitizer and cover all surfaces of both hands. Read my upcoming post on how to make home made hand sanitizer.
If your skin is sensitive, dry or delicate, follow with a protective cream or ointment. I have finally, after considerable trial and error found a product that works for me. It's Dr. PawPaw Original Balm which is the Brit version of the Aussie Lucas PawPaw Ointment. I'm planning a post on these product because it contains Vaseline which I've avoided for years. That's why I'm planning a post devoted to these products after I've had time to investigate the whole mineral oil conundrum. But, hey, the PawPaw ointment works for me like a miracle. Plus, it is a protective film.
The whole point of following good hand washing with a moisturizing and, ideally protective film is that excessively dry skin and/or broken skin will make you more susceptible to infections.
If you are a healer, you must know how important it is to wash your hands before and after every client or process. It's even a good process simply for the energetic value.
Okay. 'Nuff said. Wash your bleeping hands. Regularly!
Many moons ago, in the early 1980s when I was hanging out with the world music crowd in Los Angeles and studying African drumming, I visited an older African drummer, tall in a wafting white caftan, who lived in a tiny house in Venice. I must have been coming down with something otherwise I cannot imagine why he would have shared a recipe with me that I have relied on ever since.
He didn't write it down but just told me and I never forgot. He said that it would flush out all the bad stuff from my system and I believed him. It's worked for me every time no matter what.
I've found that this is great for viruses and for shaking off general dis-ease. Forty years later, I still rely on this for my go to home remedy. That says something about its effectiveness!
Here it is:
Filtered or Spring Water
One large piece of Fresh Ginger Root
Slice up the Ginger Root and put it in a large pot of Filtered or Spring Water.
Bring it to a boil then reduce heat to low simmer.
Let the Ginger Root and Water simmer until the water is rich with ginger.
(I usually add a bit of water through the process because it evaporates some.)
Ladle out some of the ginger water into a mug.
Squeeze in Fresh Lemon.
Add a little Good Honey to taste.
Stir in a little bit of Cayenne Pepper. (You can always add more but you can't take it away!)
Sip it up.
Drink throughout the day and evening over a day or two.
See how you feel.
"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do."
I am not a doctor. However, I've enjoyed a lifetime of learning how to heal myself and keep myself relatively healthy. It's fun for me. Herein, I'm sharing the healing measures I've taken for my own foot and ankle fractures with hopes that some or all of this information may be of help to you.
I am somewhat of an expert on ankle sprains but, after a recent fall, not only did I suffer a massive ankle and foot sprain but also a fracture of my 5th metatarsal (a Jones Fracture), a cracked my medial tibia from mid-calf straight through the ankle bone, and cracked something on the outside ankle bone. I did not have any displaced bones and did not require any surgery.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you have my sympathy. My recommendations follow.
Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Stick to this tried and true formula for the first 48 - 72 hours to which I'll add...
Immediately apply Arnica Gel or T-Relief. or Traumeel. Begin taking Arnica Tablets internally. Take the recommended dosage of any pain medication. Apparently, Ibuprofen is "off the list for mending bones" (it interferes with process) but helps to reduce swelling in sprains.
Ask for help. Have x-rays taken so that you know what's injured. Ask for a ride to the E.R. Bring a good book. Ask for print copies of your x-rays. Why? A succession of doctors did not notice, for one month, that my medial tibia and ankle were fractured. I had to tell them that I thought I had additional breaks and ask them to re-check the x-rays.
Do not try to walk on your foot. I mean it!
Your Healing Regimen
Attitude is crucial. So, first off, count your blessings! Fractures and sprains are temporary. Become aware of any whining or complaining. Whining and complaining do you no good whatsoever. You will find that engaging in this crankiness will probably make you feel worse. People will expect you to complain. Surprise them. Be of good cheer. You won't always be able to feel chipper but make a go of it anyway. It'll make you feel better. All things considered, you're experiencing a rather minor issue. But if you do not properly care for yourself, you'll make matters worse and add to your recovery time.
Do not walk on your foot. I still mean it! I am off my foot for 12 - 14 weeks. When I first sprained my ankle at age 11, it was placed in a plaster cast. Within a week, I'd removed the cast with my father's hammer and chisel. I know you want to walk as soon as possible. Do not do so until your bones can support you. Deal with it.
Do not smoke. Trying to walk on your foot before the bones, ligaments and tendons are healed and smoking are the absolute worst things you could possible do. Frankly, I was a closet smoker. Just two or three cigarettes in the evening. When I broke these bones, and I smoked... I could feel myself compromised at the cellular level. I don't know how else to express it. I have not had a cigarette since, nor have I desired one.
Rest. And I don't mean for one or two days. You must plan on resting more than usual throughout your recovery. Your body needs to direct energy towards physical healing.
Do your research. Educate yourself. Ask your doctor as many questions as you can think of and then learn about your particular injury or set of injuries. Learning is interesting and empowering. Make it a creative project! Go crazy on Google. You're not going to be able to do much else for the first little while.
Expect a few pitfalls. Immobility, crutches, and slow going can be a pain. Like the learning curve, the healing curve is not straight up. You can pretty much plan on having a few sets of downer days. If you're mentally prepared, you can work your way through them more easily. Just relax and let it all wash over you. You are not always going to be lying around.
Accept your situation. What's done is done. Surrender. You are healing now. It's going to take some time. Be brave. You can do it! You are not actually healing your foot and ankle, you are creating the optimal conditions under which your bones and tendons and ligaments can heal at the cellular level.
Exercise. What? Yes. It's really important for your body but also for your mental state and general well being. You'll be much happier during and after recovery because of it. Swimming is your best bet and non-weight bearing yoga poses are wonderful.
Swimming: Find the schedule for your nearest pool and plan at least two lap swimming sessions per week. Ease into it. Don't force your injured foot to do anything it doesn't want to. Start with a kick board if you have to. Make it a game to increase your number of laps and time in pool per session. Be very careful with your crutches on the wet floors! Ask for whatever help you need to get in and out of the pool.
Yoga: Find non-weight bearing yoga poses or modify some positions to accommodate your injured foot and ankle. Don't try anything you are not already secure with. Challenge yourself to create a sequence that will give you a basic routine to use daily.
Soak in Epsom Salts.
(or Comfrey Leaf to make a poultice)
Grampa's Garden Therapeutic Massage Oil
Garlic and Ginger Capsules
A good multi-vitamin, Calcium supplement, Vitamin C and B-Complex.
Epsom Salts (but, of course).
Does this seem like a lot to buy? Most of these items should live in your medicine cabinet or kitchen at all times. They are fundamental ingredients of first aid and you should be taking the supplements anyway (imho). Think about doctor bills.
Regarding the matter at hand (or foot!):
Arnica acts as pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Application prevents or hastens healing of bruises and reduces swelling and works especially well if applied immediately after trauma (though is helpful to prevent pain and inflammation throughout healing period). Homeopathic Arnica pills and tablets taken internally have same effect.
The main active ingredient in Comfrey is Allantoin which generates cells and promotes cell replacement. Bones knit themselves back together on the cellular level. An old folk name for Comfrey is "knitbone".
Juniper (especially), Rosemary, Wintergreen and Peppermint help to promote circulation. Circulation helps to promote healing on a cellular level. So does massage. Healing on a cellular level helps to knit bones. Foot bones (especially the 5th metatarsal) have limited circulation (they're far from the heart), therefore, trouble healing.
By the way, I only recommend what I consider superior products at good prices that I, myself, use and love.
My triple threat treatment!
3x per day:
Slather a thin layer of Arnica Gel over your fracture and sprain areas
Drop Comfrey tincture on fracture and sprain areas and massage into skin
Gently massage adulterated* Grampa's Therapeutic Massage Oil into foot and ankle for 15 - 20 minutes (or as long as you can -- some time is better than no time!).
*Add additional Juniper Oil and Olbas (contains juniper, rosemary, peppermint oils) to Grampa's Garden Therapeutic Oil to help further promote circulation.
I slept with a comfrey poultice on my foot and ankle during the first ten days. I could actually feel it working but the whole thing was a bit time consuming and messy so I switched to the tincture which I think is less effective but still very helpful.
Steer clear of sugar and caffeine (especially coffee).
Do I have to tell you to not drink alcohol?
Eat well. Fresh vegetables and fruit. Real food. Drink pure water. You'll feel better.
(They couldn't hurt!)
Click here for a list of semi-precious stones thought to benefit broken bones and here for a general list of healing stones.
You can find these stones in new age shops, ask a massage therapist where to buy, or check eBay. You can sleep with these stones under your pillow and carry them around in a small pouch on your person as you go through your daily life.
And one more thing! Buy yourself a good pair of knee pads. Sometimes you might have to climb, foot and knee (careful!), and sometimes you might just want to crawl. I recommend Fiskars Contoured-Fit Knee Pads. I've been using them all along and they've really helped.
©2011 Suzanne McDermott / All Rights Reserved
“Half the population of the industrialized countries has a magnesium deficit, which increases with aging. If normal or even higher levels of magnesium can be maintained, we may be able to significantly slow age-related loss of cognitive function and perhaps prevent or treat diseases that affect cognitive function.” -Guosong Liu, director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Are you aging?
Do you drink alcohol?
Alcohol does so much damage to our systems. Isn't it enough that we're aging?
Let's start with two things. Drinking alcohol interferes with our sleep and depletes our magnesium levels. There are plenty of studies that support these two facts. If you are, or were, a drinker, you know about the sleep issues. You may or may not be aware that drinking alcohol flushes your magnesium right down the toilet. It does.
Other things that deplete magnesium in your system include aging (not much you can do about that), eating processed foods and drinking sodas, some prescription drugs and calcium supplements.
Here are just a few reasons you need magnesium:
There's more but isn't that enough?
"Magnesium is an essential element found in some fruits, spinach, and other dark leafy greens. It is known to be important for the immune system. Consume less than 400 milligrams a day and you may be at greater risk for allergies, asthma and heart disease." -Nutritional Magnesium
I learned about magnesium L-threonate a few months ago when I was reading about undiagnosed adult women on the autism scale. I was gabbing with an old friend who is a psychiatrist and he told me that he'd just been to a conference where a doctor from the Perelman School at the University of Pennsylvania had given a presentation on treatment options for adults with autism. Those treatment options included the supplements NAC and magnesium L-threonate.
There it is again, I thought. Magnesium.
Magnesium L-threonate is the new kid on the block. Developed by a scientist at UCLA, it is easily absorbed, readily crossing the blood-brain barrier, aids with memory and other brain functions and is currently being explored for Alzheimer's treatment.
Finally, there is nothing like a bath in Epsom Salts. More magnesium! Magnesium sulfate.
Of course, it's highly recommended to get your vitamins and minerals from real food. Unfortunately, because of our dramatically depleted soil, our plants are deficient in magnesium, too.
Some combination of all of the above should have you adequately magnesium sufficient in no time.
Read more about Magnesium and Women's Health.
I am not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist. I am, however, a life-long health nut trained as a child by two old school health nuts to follow a path of good nutrition, exercise and natural remedies. I research remedies for and experiment with my own health and these are the results I share. What works for me may not work for you. Always check with your doctor first, especially if you take pharmaceuticals.
You need more sleep.
That's the name of a book on the shelf in my bathroom. It's a bunch of good advice to humans from cats. Plus, it's well written and funny and who doesn't need a good laugh now and then.
A lot of people experience problems sleeping in early recover. I certainly did. It's a problem because we really, really need both sleep and rest in general while we're recovering.
Have you ever been so tired that you cannot sleep? That's how I felt at least through the first ten days without alcohol. Like the walking dead. Though some things would revive me like talking, walking, swimming, and other activities that forced my lungs into motion.
It did not help the quality or quantity of my sleep that I continued to drink coffee and that I binge watched just about anything on my laptop and iPhone when I climbed into bed. I kept telling myself, one thing at a time. However, my nervous system (amongst other things) needed healing from the coffee and screen time almost as much as the alcohol.
When you decide to start your healing journey, refer to this brief sleep check list to help you get the much needed sleep and rest that your body, mind and soul need to recover.
Things to help you sleep.
Prepare to be brainwashed!
Did you know that, with a good night's sleep, your brain is actually washed? I forget where I first heard that but don't take my word for it, read this NPR article.
I'll bet you've had that common experience of going to bed with a problem and waking up with the solution. Well, that's a perfect example of it all coming out in the wash. The brain wash! (Just writing about it makes me want to conk out right now.)
Allow yourself to fall into dream land. Look forward to it. Breathe deeply and release the weight of the world. It's not your's to carry.
Everything will look different in the morning.
“Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. There are a great many food-like items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food. Stay away from these.”– Michael Pollan
Eat. Real. Food.
Why? Because you are a real human being.
What do I mean by real food? Vegetables and fruit and nuts and, if you eat animals, ones that enjoyed a good life and a good death as far as you can tell. Animals that spent their days outside with plenty of fresh air and sunshine, eating real food like grass (for cows) and all of the other stuff (for chickens).
Shop around the perimeter of your grocery store. Eat loads of vegetables. It's true. They're good for you. If you've been eating plastic colored and flavored with chemicals and highly processed sugar, vegetables will be an acquired taste. But give them a go. You'll adjust.
Vary your protein and remember the nuts, the beans. If you're eating meat, eat small quantities and not at every meal.
Eat organic whenever possible.
Why? Two good reasons. You will feel better because you'll receive higher nutritional value and fewer toxic chemicals and you will be helping to support people who work hard to preserve the natural ecosystems of the earth that you (and your children and their children, etcetera) need to live and feel good.
Do drink water. I, personally, have been drinking filtered water for decades because I don't exactly know what is happening at the source or in the pipes. I do not drink bottled water because most of it is packaged in plastic which leaks into the water and because the source of the water could easily be (and often is) some city water supply. Also because packaged fluids need to be transported which costs large amounts of oil and gas and rubber and road. The closer to you that your food is grown and your water is sourced, the better.
I'm going into detail on the water thing because I want you to think about your food, the source and the quality of your food. It is a step on the road to regaining consciousness.
That being said, don't become neurotic. If you rummage through a bag of Cheetos once in a while, it is not the end of the world. Still... garbage in, garbage out.
You can worry about specific nutrition, calories and carbs later. Just start eating real food now.
You are healing. Your body is designed to integrate with our home, Mother Earth. Our Mother provides us here with all of the yummy nourishment and taste delights we need. Take advantage of it. Eat an organic apple and relish the experience.
Oh, and one more word on the subject: Chew. Masticate, munch, chomp, crunch, savor. Chewing thoroughly is what your teeth and jaws and saliva are designed to do. The rest of your digestive system will thank you.
"If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy. -Thich Nhat Hanh
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
If you want to change your life, chances are that you are not entirely happy with the way your life is going now. So let's take a minute to consider what we have to be grateful for.
I can only speak for myself so I'll begin by saying that I have a lot to be thankful for. There are so many good and wonderful things and people in my life. A lot, if not most (all?) of my problems can be traced to what's happening directly between my ears. I'll be addressing that in more depth at another time.
Also, of course, a lot of my problems stem from ingesting alcohol and how that affected my thinking and emotions, and how it helped to set up or reinforce habitual negative patterns of thinking.
One sure way to break out of habitual patterns of negative thinking is to stop for a minute and take stock of everything we have to be grateful for.
Here's a quick list of what I have to be grateful for today:
Okay. that's a quick list.
Now it's your turn.
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