Sometimes when we get really sick we just have no idea what it is or how it happened. The same is true of our companion animals. It's truly an awful feeling to not know what's happening ...or what will help make the situation better and the best intentions can make things worse.
I wish this was another email about love and the changing of leaves, alas, it's not. Because not everything in our life rolls out that way. You can't always be glamorous right?! Sometimes we puke, poop and pee... and sometimes it's at the most inappropriate times. "Not now, Satan, NOT NOW!" The same is true of your furbabies.
So I've been excited for months to attend the Young Living Essential Oil Animal Conference, at their lavender farm in Mona Utah, where leading veterinarians and animal practitioners from around the nation to speak about one of my favorite topics -using essential oils with animals! But I was only able to attend half the conference because ended up so sick I thought I was gonna die in a truck stop motel.
I decided to write on this topic because I often say to my clients who have a furbaby who is really sick and they're trying everything possible "Don't turn your furry kidlet into a science project." I say this because I see it happen. Even with natural and holistic remedies.
How it all went down:
I met my travel companion at the airport for a really early flight to Salt Lake City, Utah. We were both sleep deprived and hungry so we stopped in SLC for lunch and a coffee, rented a car and took the scenic, winding road route to a natural hot spring before checking into the event and our hotel. That evening I felt a little off and thought I might be detoxing from the mineral water at the hot spring. I was looking forward to a good night's sleep but instead had another restless night that left me tossing and turning.
The next day, my head hurt a little… just a slight headache I couldn’t kick. We attended the conference and quickly found out that our bathrooms on the flower farm were outhouses. Oh no! I have an extreme fear of outhouse… not just because they’re gross but also because somewhere in my brain a little note has been stored that I’ll probably be murdered in one. I dunno, I guess it’s the same sorta fear that people have around clowns. There’s probably a name for it. Anyway, in my fear of having to use one, I decided to limit my water consumption… you know, so I wouldn’t have to go to the “IGotPoop.com" biffy all day long …also, who named that?!
The following morning I woke up feeling even sicker. What the hell?! I pulled out all the essential oils I thought could help and I doused myself in them. It wasn’t until a friend at the conference said “I think you’re experiencing altitude sickness” that I realized what was happening! I was! And I made it worse by not staying fully hydrated! Ohgawd! No! As I was listening to the presenter I realized I had to quickly get up and leave… my mouth began to water. I know this feeling and it means I’m about to be sick. There was no way I was going to puke in the “IGotPoop.com" biffy. As I started walking -trotting- back to the car, I began to heave and hurl all the water I had attempted to drink in an effort to hydrate the altitude sickness out of me .. and puked all the way to the car. My hotel roomie friend, knowing I was sick, went to the first aid tent to grab me anti-dizzy stuff. They insisted on seeing me and embarrassingly four people on a golf cart drove to my aid. When I saw them approaching, I threw my hand in the air, “STOP! DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!” I said. One of the men said “Why?” and I said, “Because I’ve puked over here and I’m humiliated.” He smiled and said, “Well if it makes you feel any better, there are horses on the property and there’s poop all over the place so no one is going to care about your puke.” Point taken. I was told to go to the emergency room, apparently, a little boy had died from altitude sickness the week previous. But, I was raised by WW2 era parents who used peroxide and Epsom salt to cure all ills so going to the ER seemed extreme. I went back to the hotel where I developed a fever and body aches which aren’t typical altitude symptoms. What was happening to me?! As I laid moaning and crying in bed, I mustered enough energy to get up and walk to the hotel lobby across the parking lot. I remembered seeing travel packs of meds there when I checked in the day before. I needed something. The lobby attendant was a little freaked out when she saw me so I can only imagine what she was thinking... t-shirt with no bra, pajama shorts, flip-flops, smeared mascara and lipstick and a psychotic mane of black hair... she probably thought I was a truckstop hooker. It was 2 in the afternoon and there was no reason I should be there looking like this. So I quickly filled her in "Help. I'm sick. I'm at attending a conference 10 miles from here but I have altitude sickness and I can't stop puking." her face quickly changed (everyone in Utah is Mormon so you KNOW I'm right that she thought I was hookin' at the Best Western). "OH HONEY!" Yup, it's a thing here. The only thing that helps me when I get it, is Dramamine, but we don't have any. If I were you, I would take this Pepto Bismol ... it's something." I took it and it didn't help so I continued to be sick at a lonely hotel off the main highway all by myself. My travel partner came back a few hours later and quickly got on her phone trying to figure out what was happening and offering to drive me out of the hills in the middle of the night, I started taking anything that could help. Stuff for my tummy? Yup give it to me! Stuff for my sinuses? Yeah, I’ll take it! Ginger Ale? Why not. And of course, I was rubbing Digize on my stomach to help with nausea. Thieves on my feet to pull out the fever, lemon on the roof of my mouth to open my sinuses. What else do you have? Give me all of it! Oh and all my yoga breathing. I was getting on a plane to Oklahoma the next day and couldn’t fly if I felt this sick.
Ok, so there are 2 things I want you to take from my pukey story.1) It’s super embarrassing to be sick. And our fur babies experience this too. Ever noticed the look of shame on their face when they have poopy pants or have puked? Yeah, I had the same face on the flower farm. Super embarrassing. Having one say “Hey, it’s no big deal.. .there’s horse poop everywhere anyway” made a ton of difference. Do this for your animals “I’m sorry you’re sick. It’s ok, I’ll clean it up and there’s no reason to be embarrassed. Sometimes I miss the toilet too.”
2) Even though I was asking my friends to give me drugs, I was definitely aware that I had turned myself into a science experiment. I see my clients do this with their animals who are really sick (like with cancer or thyroid issues), all the time. I also see the animals grow tired of it quickly and start to rebel against all drugs, herbs, tinctures, essences, and oils. Less is more.
Even though I was taking meds, I was timing them to see what worked and what didn’t so I could actually figure out what was going on with me. Was it the altitude with a combination of sinus issues or was there more to it like food poisoning? I needed to know so I could figure out what to do next and how to prepare for leaving town the next day. But I could voice and translate all of this to my volunteer caretaker. You most likely won’t be able to do that with your animals.If your animals are really sick, we tend to throw everything at them at once in a quick attempt to fix them quickly. So my advice is to add slowly by adding one thing into their regime daily and remove it in the same way so we know what is working, what’s not and what’s making the situation worse.
Since I've been home, I've discovered that I've been having pesky eustachian tube (it's in the ear) issues which would mess with my vestibular... which is why I was taken out so quickly by the altitude. Drat! Just another scratch that being proactive with self-care is so important.
Despite being sick in Utah, it's really a beautiful state. Can't wait to go back to the next conference and actually stay for the whole event. Check out my video at the top with photos of the hot spring, Utah and all the other delightful things... including the porta potty. :/
OOOh and because this post was largely about taking meds...here's some important info to leave you with. One of the veterinarians at the conference said the ASPCA released statistics for causes of yearly companions animals deaths in the USA.
Human Rx meds = 35,000
Over the Counter = 35,000
Xylotol = 23,000
Chocolate = 17,000Incecticides = 17,000
Signs of poison:
Loss of appetite
If you suspect your furbaby is sick, take them to the vet!!