I have a confession to make: This holistic Mama took antibiotics. This time, I wasn’t just tempted to take them. This time, I actually took them.
I had been coughing since the end of September, when I went to China to see my brother get married (and to get eaten alive by mosquitoes). By the first week of December, I had landed in Vegas for business and my cough had still not healed; it had only gotten wetter and wetter, and phlegmier and phlegmier. (Apologies for the gross-itude, but it’s the truth). This was despite my having thrown the kitchen sink of natural remedies at it: Thyme essential oil (one drop of Thyme on a spoonful of honey, in 8 ounces of water), postural drainage (feet up on a couch, arms planted forward, face hanging over a pan to collect all the mucus), and even a Neti pot. Nothing was helping, nothing was working.
I knew full well what was wrong with me, what had been wrong with me since my China trip: I had a sinus infection. Both of my cheeks were hurting, even my teeth were hurting. The post-nasal drip was what was causing me to cough endlessly, bringing up masses of icky, green-yellow phlegm. I was a fountain of phlegm. But, I figured, I had held out for two months, I could hold out longer. It would just go away eventually. And then I went to dinner with some colleagues, who made fun of me endlessly with comments like, “Mare, is that a piece of your lung on your plate?” and “Mare has apparently brought tuberculosis to dinner.” One of them said to me, “Why are you choosing deliberately to suffer like this? Why not just take antibiotics and get on with your life?”
Why indeed? I asked myself. My brain rattled off all philosophical reasons not to, reasons that seem hard-wired into those of us Moms who have chosen the natural path: not wanting to over-rely on antibiotics, not wanting to create strains of super-powerful, resistant bacteria in my body, not wanting to give myself a yeast infection, wanting to give my body the chance to heal itself, and basically, just wanting to be this – I don’t know, example – of how to be a holistic Mama. But later that night, as I lay on my couch in my suite at the Venetian, feeling utterly miserable and utterly spent, I thought, “I should know when to throw in the towel. It’s been a good fight, now I need to get help.”
So I trudged to the Walgreen’s on the corner to see the nurse practitioner. Who was not there, unfortunately, having closed her doors for the night. The nearest clinics had two to three-hour waits, and besides – have you been to a public clinic in Las Vegas in the middle of the night? It’s no place for the innocent, that’s for sure. So I called up my MD sister-in-law and begged her to prescribe me some antibiotics…I told her I was self-diagnosing with a sinus infection, gave her my symptoms, and asked for a Z-pack. She called it in, and by midnight that night, I had started my 5-day regime.
And you know what? Within 10 days, my cough was completely gone, and I felt markedly, HUGELY, better. I also felt pretty dumb for not taking them sooner, and have decided that in the future, I will strike a better balance between trying to be completely natural in my approach to healing myself and my family and using conventional means/methods where appropriate. I will still try the natural remedies first the next time around, but I’m not going to wait two months to fix the problem if the natural remedies don’t take effect!
If any of you have thoughts you want to share on how you strike the balance between modern medicine and natural remedies, please go ahead. I would love to learn from you, too.