On February 4th, I woke up so excited. I was going to a baby shower. I hadn’t been to one in a long time, and since this was for a dear friend and colleague, it was an extra special occasion. I had been working very hard since the HSF’s Gala in October; then came the holidays and the start of a new year, coupled with some family challenges…I was ready to party.
The shower was fantastic. After several hours of fun, food, sharing stories and opening presents for the new baby, I left to go home. While walking to my car, I accidentally fell. It happened so fast. I felt my right foot buckle and, before I knew it, I was on the sidewalk. I was more concerned about the left side of my body. Even though my left hand had softened the blow, I hit my elbow, hip and knee. Since I had two double knee replacements five years ago, the thought of damaging my knee was frightening!
I got up and managed to get to my car and drive home. Except for my right foot hurting when I walked, I thought I was okay. I took two Tylenol, put ice on my foot, elevated it and soon went to bed…it had been a long and exhausting day. By 5 a.m., I knew something was wrong. The pain was getting more intense. I woke my husband up and told him we needed to go the emergency room.
Once at the ER, I filled out the customary papers, waited just a short time and was then wheeled into a small cubicle. After taking vitals…blood pressure, temperature, etc…a medical technician came in and took x-rays of my right foot and ankle. About half an hour later, a doctor arrived… “I have good news and bad news. You don’t need surgery, but you fractured your right foot and need to be off of it for 6 to 8 weeks.” He gave me a prescription for pain, ordered crutches and left. Needless to say, I was in a daze, thinking… Crutches? How on earth am I going to be on crutches for 6 to 8 weeks! What about my work, my appointments? And it’s my right foot…I can’t even drive!
When we came home from the hospital, I took the pain medication just filled at the Target pharmacy and immediately went to bed. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. That didn’t last long…I started to feel terrible. My arms were getting warm, almost hot; my chest felt tight…I thought …Oh NO…I’m having an allergic reaction. But then a different fear crept in and I wondered…is it my heart? No, it couldn’t be. I just had tests, and my heart was in perfect condition. So, back again to the ER to find out what was going on. I stayed 48 hours in the hospital to be monitored. My heart was in perfect condition…so I assumed it was an allergic reaction to the pain medication prescribed. However, when the doctors did come to see me, they had an inquisitive look…like they couldn’t understand why this pain medication would have given me these symptoms…not ibuprofen 800 milligrams. They made it seem like it was such a safe drug…and perhaps it was my imagination. I got the same reaction from several doctors and nurses, but then a pharmacist came into the room to check my medications. It was then that I asked… “Have you seen anyone get a bad reaction to ibuprofen 800 milligrams?”
“Yes, it happens, especially to women…it can be very dangerous.” Wow, I wasn’t going crazy!!!
When I finally got home, I realized I needed some answers. That’s when I called my dear friend, Dr. Shirley Lorenzani, who has dedicated years to studying alternative treatments. I shared my story with her and then asked… “What do you take for pain? How can I avoid this the next time? And right now, while I am still recovering from my accident and my body is hurting…what can I do or take?”
Dr, Lorenzani was quick to answer. I was so impressed with what she had to say that I wanted to share it with you, my readers. The following was her response.
“Roberta’s Ibuprofen saga is almost identical to my daughter’s drama a couple of years ago when she was given the same drug following wisdom teeth extraction. After a few doses, she began shaking and crying and was unable to walk. I nervously phoned the emergency number and gave my report to the surgeon’s assistant. The nurse calmly replied, ‘Oh, that’s just ibuprofen. Tell her to stop taking it immediately.’ Incredulously, I asked, ‘Is this a common reaction?’ ‘Oh yes,’ she said, ‘very common. Your daughter’s reaction isn’t unusual at all.’ Well, thanks, I guess.
“So, since my daughter could not take ibuprofen, what replaces it on the shelf? My first choice is Bach Rescue Remedy. I fell in love with this mixture after reading the ingredients: flowers, pure water, sunshine, and alcohol preservative. Rescue Remedy is designed as trauma first aid; most of my friends carry a little bottle of this in their purse. With a few drops under her tongue after this fall, Roberta would’ve been able to release some of the tension in her body and experienced less pain on the spot. This product can be used creatively. My daughter sipped a few drops of this added to her water bottle during every college exam. Exams are potentially painful –this is preventive medicine at work!
“Another generally safe class of pain relief products is essential oils. These potent plant oils have been in use for thousands of years. Wise men bearing gifts to a manger might ring a bell here. Frankincense and myrrh, both essential oils, were considered extremely valuable health aids in biblical times.
“I have three favorite essential oils for pain relief: lavender, peppermint, and wintergreen. Read about them online or browse a book devoted to oils to see which ones match your situation. Be open to personal discoveries or homemade blends that work for you. I ‘accidentally’ put peppermint instead of wintergreen on my painful shoulder one night before bed. After the peppermint ‘error,’ I added the intended wintergreen. That night I slept like a log. The combination worked better than wintergreen alone! It’s your body. Experiment.
“These oils can be applied directly to the skin where the pain is focused, but be cautious. Test a little patch of skin first to make sure you don’t react unpleasantly. If you have sensitive skin, dilute the oil with olive or another vegetable oil before even testing. Peppermint is to be used with caution if you have high blood pressure. Wintergreen should be avoided by people who are prone to seizures. Lavender should be diluted and not applied to the face. Again, be informed and cautious.”
For the first few days after my accident and my ibuprofen reaction, I was desperate to try anything other than taking medications for my pain. So I was excited to try Dr. Lorenzani’s suggestions. I can say, without a doubt, that they worked! I put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small glass cup and added just a few drops of the peppermint and wintergreen. Slowly I added more, tested it on my skin, confirmed no reaction and then applied the mixture to my right hand, elbow, knee and hip. Every few hours I reapplied and was thrilled to get relief.
So why share this story? Simple. It’s another confirmation that when you are experiencing symptoms — whether from hypoglycemia, an accident or a reaction to certain medications – you need to listen to your body. Get medical attention immediately if it’s an emergency, and become an informed patient who is not afraid to ask questions when in doubt or concerned about your health. The life you save may be your own!
Here’s to your health,