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October 30, 2005

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Kirra

I am so thankful to you for sharing this insightful perspective. Our family went through a powerful time of six weeks of suffering and healing in 1996 when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant. Our son, 7, and daughter, 4, were coughing and heaving for 6 weeks, with intermittent fevers. We went ahead with our homebirth and were blessed with the support of our herbalist midwife, and a few close friends. Because of our trust in the body's abilities to heal we calmly rode the waves of the sickness and declined the suggestions from "authorities" to let someone take our new infant out of our house for quarantine. The school our kids attended had reported two whooping cough cases. Our kids were not taken to a doctor for diagnoses as we already knew what they had and what to do for them. No one "insisted" on this course so we maintained our peace and togetherness throughout the process. I had studied enough on my own to understand the strength and immune system building that would result from this health challenge. Our new daughter was surrounded by her family, (Mommy's fresh immunities) and, no doubt, only benefitted from the environment of caring, sacrificing, giving, nurturing and fearless trusting in God and the natural processes He created. In fact, the very same atmosphere that should prevail at birth time anyway!
I am certainly one of a dwindling population who accepts even death as a sacred part of life when it comes to the door. We were NOT afraid. Some would say it is merely irresponsible to behave this way. But the popular model of "health" can be viewed as one tainted with fears, misconceptions, and even monetary propaganda. (the disease "industry" is bohemoth.) The only ones to truly profit from HEALTHY HUMANS are the healthy humans!! My point is not to insinuate that the individuals in the health care profession are consciously profitting on peoples' illnesses; I would like to point to the massive amount of resistance, arrogance and ignorance when it comes to the specific issues of vaccinations, fasting/resting for healing, and the effects of fear/negativity on the body. The harmful, accumaltive affects of the radically chemicalized environment we have created in the last fifty years is slowly being recognized in health statistics. The cause-affect relationship between commonly accepted dietary practices like white sugar, white flour, dyes, preservatives, and pesticides continues to be ignored while research for "cures" goes into the neither regions of sophisticated sciences such as stem-cell, and genetical engineering.
Most of the "food" industry is profit engineered and has little if any concerns for anyone's health. They cannot be held responsible as long as I am free to not purchase and ingest their products. But the sheer mass of ignorance of the general public about the relationship between what they put onto and into their bodies and minds, is certainly being capitalized on by enormous (and growing) "food" megalopolies and drug companies. There is new legislation currently in the senate to remove liability from the drug industry.
The current popular model of health and disease treatment/prevention leaves the individual uninformed and disempowered concerning the health of their family. Unless the individual finds their own foothold and takes the responsibility upon themself to set aside assumptions and seek out the facts, they will continue to be a powerless piece in an often unrecognizable picture puzzle.
I am encouraged by the growth and assimalation of "alternative medicine" practices, but the freedom of individuals to accept or refuse the popular model is being slowly, and (by the current administration) seriously threatened.
I am thankful that we still have the right to refuse vaccination, and the right to read factual, historical information on these issues for ourselves. We are thankful that in 1996 we could legally choose to secure ourselves in our home environment and facilitate the healing of our children with our own resources, time, energy and love.
People need to be encouraged with honest information, that is presented freely with NO profit motives attached. People can be encouraged to accept and nurture their own RESPONSE-ABILITY. We are grateful for the freedom to choose this ABILITY-to-RESPOND to Life. It is extremely important to us to be free to respond to Life's challenges and to gather facts for ourselves, rather than to be couched (literally) in fear and ignorance of historically accurate data and the motives behind legislation and corporate policies.
It is unfortunate that part of the strategy for those who endeavor to raise a family outside the status quo is to "lie low" or to quietly go about their business and avoid any unnecessary conflicts. I myself had to "get on with it" and guard myself from spending all of my energy as a new mother on converting family and friends to the "great" ideas I had found. Often these ideas were (or would have been) hurtfully misunderstood and so I learned quickly to choose my battles carefully. With this self-imposed annonimity we who walk any alternate paths are cut off from a visible universality with each other a lot of the time, and when we are not united in force (visible to each other and to the world) we can find it an even greater challenge to be standing alone when facing opposition to our views. It's a doublebind in that respect to protect ourselves with a low-profile.
Now I have used my alloted time at the puter and it's time to begin our homeschool lessons.
Thank you, Donna for your entry on this issue, and for allowing me the space to share these thoughts of mine that you inspired.
with much respect and appreciation,
Kirra

Diane Baker

Dear Donna:

Thank you so much for printing the article on Whopping Cough. Absolutely perfect timing. Two of my daughters just went to their well vist with their doctor who knows that we do not vaccinate, but has to tell us to reconsider becuse the "germs" are still out there. This is where he clues us into the fact that there are actual cases right now of the Whopping Cough. He was definetly trying to create a "sense of urgency'. I just nodded my head, stared at him blankly and he ceased talking about it. Even though I was strong, I little reassurance from your article helped.

Peace,

Diane

Heather

Dear Donna,

Thanks for your article. You remind me so much of my brother- and sister-in-law, who share your views of the medical establishment.

I just feel compelled to write with one caution because of what happened to my dear brother-in-law, who passed away in January leaving behind a two-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son. We believe he had cancer, though he was never diagnosed. He didn't want to seek out medical care, though in the end he did go to a German doctor who practiced alternative medicine. But it was too little, too late.

Talking to my sister-in-law after he died, she wishes they had seen a doctor at the local hospital as soon as they had an inkling that his illness was something serious. Yes, she still practices homeopathy, traditional home remedies and fasting for her and her children's illnesses, which I agree is good. But I think she has a new acceptance for those times when hospitals and doctors might be necessary for things that are truly life-threatening like cancer. If caught early, many cancers are treatable and you can join support groups that will counter the fear that doctors can spread.

We all thought in the summer of 2004 that my brother-in-law would fast for a few weeks, get rest and he would be fine. His story did not have a happy ending and he suffered terribly for many months before he died, though I do believe he was at peace when he passed. I just don't want anyone else to suffer the way my brother-in-law did and I don't want to see any other children face growing up without a parent.

marie

I just happened to come across this post today, Dec. 26, 2008. So the author thinks whooping cough is an opportunity for growth? Obviously she has never had it nor has she personally observed anyone who had it.

My son (8 years old at the time) and I had it in 1997 and it was the worst experience of our lives - an absolute nightmare. To try to romanticize a horrible illness like this is sheer lunacy. I spent weeks watching my son choke and gasp for air, his face turning bright red and the veins bulging in his face. Then came the "whooping" sound as he was finally able to get air into his lungs again - sometimes this was followed by vomiting. This went on day and night for weeks and he was repeatedly diagnosed as having bronchitis. Then I started having choking episodes myself, during which I couldn't breathe for as long as a minute. I had one such episode while driving my car - it terrified me - so I drove myself to the ER where I was dismissed as having bronchitis. My episodes of choking were brushed off as panic attacks. That night my son and I sat in bed in the dark, clinging to each other, struggling to breathe, dreading the next wave of painful coughing (we started calling them our "panic attacks" in honor of the ER Dr.) It was horrible.

Eventually my son was tested for pertussis, the test came back positive and we were put on antibiotics but it was too late. No doctor knew how to help us. So we just held on to each other, encouraging each other to keep breathing, day after sleepless day. One night my son was having so much trouble breathing, I took him to the ER at 2 AM (in 10 degree weather.) He collapsed while walking across the hospital parking lot and I had to drag him into the ER while having a choking spell myself - both of us were barely breathing. The ER Dr. consulted his reference books (having never seen pertussis before) and announced there was nothing he could do and sent us home. Several days later, after my fifth night with no sleep, I collapsed at home and was hauled off to the ER and was hospitalized for a week, primarily due to exhaution.(I couldn't sleep because mucous would gather in my airways and choke me unless I kept coughing it up.) My husband was off work for two weeks while he cared for my son and disabled daughter - thankfully she got started on antibiotics soon enough to help, as did my parents in their late seventies who were exposed. My mother has COPD and the pertussis probably would have killed her. I returned home and spent another month recuperating. It was a full six months before I was feeling normal again. The medical bills wiped out my savings, which was particularly hard to deal with because I had to quit my job due to the lengthy absence. My son missed more than a month of school. I'll never forget him sitting at the kitchen table working on his schoolwork, trying not to fall behind, while coughing uncontrollably. He was a real trooper.

This was truly an eye-opening experience for me. I saw what life was like before modern medicine provided us with the antibiotics and vaccinations that prevent diseases that killed children in the past. Younger people (I'm 55) just don't realize that measles and diptheria and pertussis and polio did kill - even normal healthy children. I have been doing genealogy research for my family for the last few years and it breaks my heart to look at the county death records and see all those children who died of these diseases. I am not defending the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical companies. I am as skeptical as anyone else. I believe there are too many vaccines given too fast, with too many added ingredients like mercury that we can do without. But don't be blind to the realities infectious diseases. They have killed in the past and they can kill again. Yes, our children our better nourished and the standard of living is higher etc., but that hasn't made these diseases disappear. And I am asking you this... where is opportunity for growth when you are holding your son's terrified face in your hands, yelling breathe! breathe! at 2 AM on a cold winter night that never seems to end?

B

We also had pertussis in the house a couple years ago with my then fourth 2 1/2 year old. We homeschool and co-sleep but this illness was extremely taxing for me the parent. For WEEKS I slept sitting up in a chair holding my daughter so she could breathe when she had a spasm in her sleep. The start of the illness (a week or so?) was the most disturbing part as my little toddler became absolutely limp with fever, blue in the lips and just like nothing I'd ever seen - this phase was followed by the weeks of coughing spasms - and lastly by a good long convalescence that took an additional couple months before she stopped the cough all together. I am a huge proponent of convalesence and didn't at all feel put out about giving her time to recover. In the end she developed a grunt like tic that sounds similar to her whooping spasms that now manifests itself when she is tired or stressed. We treat that with homepathic Cina intermittently.

I had mixed feelings about the event but it is my belief that my lessened fear of whooping cough was a direct result of the knowledgeable medical care I received from an anthroposophic doctor. My anthro doctor is far away so we usually see him in person only once a year. He also wants all his young patients to have a pediatrician. It was my local pediatrician who ran the lab work under my suggestion - confirmed my instinctual diagnosis - prescribed prophylacitc antibiotics for those of us who needed it. I am asthmatic and can't imagine haven't had the case in myself. And BTW my little one got pertussis from her fully vaccinated older sisters whose vaccine immunity had worn down and who were misdiagnosed twice when I brought them to the doctor for their bizarre coughing. Their version of the illness however was NOTHING like my little one who had never had the vaccination at all. Anyway, the conventional doctors office seemed content at diagnosing, giving the antibiotics for my other kids and then telling me to call if certain complications were present which would indicate pneumonia I think it was. Otherwise they had no care to offer. Were they all I had I to count on I think I would have been terrified. But....

I immediately called my anthro doctor who happened to be on vacation. His nurse called him wherever he was because they did consider pertussis an emergency. He called me immediately and worked with me on managing the symptoms with herbal cough syrup that I made and other homeopathic remedies if I recall correctly. A lot of it is a blur but I will never forget that for almost 2 weeks he called me nearly every day. Then we spoke less and less frquently as things improved. He knew whooping cough and how to treat it. He did not sound afraid and he was full of care and love. I can't imagine what it would have been like to go through pertussis without his kindness, knowledge and support. I did feel scared of the illness not because it inconvienced me but because I knew no one who had ever had it, and the in the minds of many people/relatives I stood convicted of neglect (ie. not vaccinating) & the doctors around me seemed to really not have much experience with the disease either. We felt alone. And BTW I was charged for one doctors consultation only by my anthro doc - he acted out of care & love. His constant attention didn't come at a price and I would have been willing to give him one if he'd asked! I just can't say enough how wonderful it was to get such care. I know my good emotions and strength of spirit were healing to my daughter during this time.

To wrap up my long story when I had #5 I was very concerned about pertussis because experiencing the illness did make it clear to me why it is so dangerous for young babies. Pertussis outbreaks are not uncommon and we were afraid he might catch it as an infant. We did then vaccinate him for pertussis once at about 4 months and then waited a long time before getting another. We do vaccinate but on our own schedule - and even that angers many doctors. I don't believe in dogma on vaccination & I do believe in freedom to choose. Whether it was ultimately right to vaccinate him for this illness at four months I don't think anyone can really say but I will say we did it because we had some knowledge and experience that led us that way - it was an act of love. We weren't fearful in some anxiety ridden sense but we knew pretty well what we were dealing with and made the choice to give him a little protection. Having older siblings was a big factor in that decision since as the 5th child he is exposed to far more people at a younger age than my older children were. Really, I can't say I feel 100% right about have gotten him shots earlier than I wanted but that is life. We have to decide and act the best we can.

Papero de Sabana Sur

so that's the matter ...

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