I had big plans for homeschool this week. I am slowly switching over to more of a Charlotte Mason method, and this week was supposed to be our first week of introducing all the memory work (Scripture, poetry, and a hymn). My expectations we probably a bit too high, but something else completely shattered my goals….
The stomach flu.
We had a touch of something two weeks ago, but only Iris ended up ill. It was the strangest illness, too. She would be fine all day then vomit at night. That made for some VERY long nights! It lasted for two nights, and then she was back to normal. Everything was cleaned and disinfected, and I thought that was it.
Until this week…
We were at church Sunday and saw a ton of friends. I joked with Arthur that we were all finally healthy at the same time and able to be at church. I hadn’t seen some of those friends since the New Year.
Well, I think we visited a little too much on Sunday and one of us (or several of us) brought home some germs. :( Tuesday morning, while I was in the shower, the girls came running in to tell me Ethan was throwing up. I would have been a little more casual with my response, except that they informed it was A LOT and ALL ON THE CARPET. Yuck!! Barely covered, I ran into his room to watch him spew, like a hose, all over the carpet for a second time. And like any two-year old, he decided to put his hands up to his mouth in an effort to wipe away the vomit as it was coming out.
We managed to get him bathed and the floor mostly cleaned up. I brought him into my bathroom to sit, so I could finally put some clothes on. (On the plus side, I did find that I have the unique skill of bathing a child and cleaning up banana chunks in the carpet without my bath towel falling off! Who knew?!) When I sat down to use the bathroom, Ethan’s belly decided to unload again all over his freshly bathed body and clean clothes. I was a little happy he was at least on the vinyl floor this time.
After two baths in ten minutes, I thought he was ok. But he repeated the process two more times. Thankfully, he understood not touching his face and to aim for the large bowl I was holding in front of him. I must have done six loads of laundry that day…all vomit related!
He couldn’t keep anything down that day, except our homemade kefir. He normally does not like to drink it by itself, but after not having anything to drink for several hours he was a big fan of it!
The next day, I thought he was doing ok but after drinking a little plain water, he threw up again, Back to square one! After talking with a nurse at the pediatrician’s office and politely disagreeing with her Pedialyte recommendation (I explained my kids don’t drink sugary drinks normally when they are healthy, especially ones with artificial coloring, so I didn’t want to give him that while sick because he would not have kept it down. She advised me to water it down and try it. I told her he was keeping down the water kefir and we would continue that. She was nice, but I was disappointed. And she wasn’t our doctor’s nurse but just returning calls for them that day.) She did let me know that regular, plain water is no good for vomiting, as it doesn’t have the right pH for the body and it can cause more vomiting. I had not heard that but it makes perfect sense now seeing how Ethan’s belly couldn’t handle it!
I went online to look for a homemade electrolyte replacement drink because I knew the water kefir had good bacteria for his belly but not the salt and sugars he needed to stay hydrated.
What do you know, the World Health Organization had a recipe! :) I combined their recipe with another I found to help stop vomiting (which included my mom’s faithful apple cider vinegar concoction!). Here is what we used to help Ethan stop throwing up and to keep him hydrated:
8 ounces water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar organic, unfiltered, and with The Mother in it)
1 TBSP sugar (i used cane)
a pinch of salt
I warmed the water slightly to dissolve the sugar. Ethan loved it! The sugar helped hide the bitter ACV flavor, and the salt/sugar combo really helped him bounce back energy-wise. I gave him one ounce, waited fifteen minutes then gave another ounce. I continued until the 8 ounces was gone.
Wednesday night Lily came down with it. I started her right away on the electrolyte drink. She also had slight diarrhea, so I knew that drink would be best for the vomit-diarrhea combo. She followed the same pattern as Ethan, as far as throwing up.
Yesterday morning, Arthur and I were both scanning the internet for easy to help the rest of us avoid getting it, or at least shortening the duration and/or strength of the illness. We came across two things that I immediately went to the health food store to buy: activated charcoal and bentonite clay. I knew of both prior to this week, but I assumed my husband would never try either. :) I think he was just desperate enough to try them!
Both the charcoal and the clay work in similar ways. Activated charcoal adsorbs toxins and carries them out of the body. Clay does the same, but you can use clay in different ways to do this.
Arthur and I both took a charcoal capsule right away. Then we opened up a couple and dissolved half in each kid’s cup of the electrolyte drink. It might have actually taken away from the acv drink’s effectiveness, but we were trying to mask any nasty charcoal flavor. The kids seemed to like it, and happily drank it all. We did not give any to Ethan, as we couldn’t find any good info on giving it to two-year olds, except for in the event of an accidental poisoning (but then they advise like 30x an adult’s regular dosage).
I gave Lily a clay bath to help draw out whatever toxins she had going on. She said it was super relaxing, and she stayed in for about 15 minutes. (The key to clay baths is that is can dehydrate, so I made sure she keep drinking the electrolyte drink.) She seemed fine the rest of the day, but she slept for two and half hours mid-day. Then she played Yahtzee with Iris and me. She still has a crampy stomach today, but I think some of it because her stomach is so empty.
Ethan threw up again right before dinner yesterday, then started in with the diarrhea. He seemed fine after vomiting that one time, so I am not sure that it was anything more than running around too much while his stomach was upset. Unfortunately, it was on the carpet again in his room! I went through so much baking soda this week, cleaning carpets and deodorizing them! Thankfully, I don’t think it will stain and the smell is mostly gone now.
So I am liking what we have experienced with the activated charcoal – Lily did not throw up again after taking it, and (so far) no one else is feeling queasy. I ended up taking a second one last night because my stomach was upset, but I couldn’t tell it was menstrual cramps or that I was getting sick! haha! Played it safe and took the charcoal. Felt better shortly after, so it is possible I was fighting the sickness.
As far as the clay, I really liked it for other reasons than the charcoal – Lily felt so much better after taking the clay bath. I didn’t even tell her the benefits of it, just that she was taking a bath with clay. She thought it was fun, and she initiated all the comments about how good she felt. I made a clay mask for my face, to see how it worked on my acne. It felt really nice, and my skin was so soft after. I put some on Lily’s eczema patches too. It seemed to lessen the redness right away. I am curious on long-term results.
Overall, really impressed with both items! Very glad we bought and tried them. $8 for 100 charcoal capsules, and $9.50 for Redmond Clay. Not bad for such a variety of uses for both things!
(I plan to post about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, clay, and activated charcoal at some point. Just wanted to include here how we are using them for now!)
Today we are taking it easy. Ethan is acting fine, ate a bagel for breakfast (not sure that was the best choice but he is so over yogurt and broth and incredibly hungry….I caved). Lily is slowly eating a bagel and sipping the acv/electrolyte drink, as well as ice water (she was begging for ice water).
I have an amazing mentor from our Titus 2 group at church. She called yesterday to check in, and today she is bringing us soup and laundry detergent. :) I am so incredibly thankful for her. She has her own things going on, so I know doing this for us isn’t convenient for her. But she is such a giving person! I am sure, too, it will be helpful for Arthur to know she can help us out while he is at work and unable to get us detergent for the obnoxious number of laundry loads we are doing!
So, anyone else have as exciting a week as us?? :)