Riley isn't sleeping well - then how are we going to get him to sleep better. Rex is coughing up a storm - how are we going to get his asthma under control. The list goes on and on.
Both of my boys have health issues. Rex seems to outgrown the worst of his asthma but he kept us on our toes for along time. Thankfully the days of driving to daycare with the portable nebulizer going in the back of the van are behind us. Riley has been so lucky not have to deal with the really big health issues that so many children with Down syndrome have. We don't have life or death issues going on so we get to work on fine tuning things for him. Down syndrome presents a unique issue in the fact that Riley's parts are small. The facial anatomy of Down syndrome predisposes him to ear infections. The middle ear is aerated by the eustachian tube, a small tube that goes from the middle ear space to the area behind the nose in the nasopharnex. Upper airway infections and allergies can cause the eustachian tube to become swollen, trapping battery and causing ear infections. Low muscle tone affects the opening and closing of the eustachian tube as well, which can cause negative pressure to build up in thimble ear space, leading to fluid retention and infections. He has tiny ears on the inside and the out. The short version is his snot just doesn't drain very well. A typical cold for him will usually end up with an ear and or sinus infection that requires a trip to the Dr and an antibiotic. He has had tubes in his ears since he was about 9 months old and thankfully we are still on that original pair.
I'm a big believer is modern medicine. I'm all for a well used antibiotic but I also am all for trying things to prevent things naturally. I decided to explore the world of Essential Oils this summer. I have a few friends that have gotten into them and had success helping their family deal with a variety of issues. I decided to go with a company called Young Living. This is just one of many companies that are available that has high quality essential oils. I don't want to debate the qualities of one company over others. Young Living works for me and I have found oils that work for my family. Young Livings website gives this short description:
The next time you drive by a field of fresh peppermint or hike through a pine forest, breathe deeply—you’re experiencing the soul-soothing power of essential oils. But essential oils are more than nice scents; these powerful plant extracts are your path to the lifelong wellness we are committed to helping you discover.
At the intersection of cutting-edge research and traditional wisdom, Young Living formulates targeted, essential oil-based wellness solutions that empower you to dodge harmful chemicals, energize your life, ditch stress and negativity, and reclaim your natural radiance.
My original focus was to help Riley in a few key areas including trying to boost his immune system, help him focus and also to help his sleep. Riley seems to really like them. He asks for his smoke every night. I diffuse a variety of oils directed at helping him relax and promoting sleep. Lavender is a common oil we use. When he had a cold we added immune boosting and purification oils. Most of the oils we choose to use with Riley can be added to coconut or other house hold oils and massaged into the bottom of his feet or on the back of his neck. This has become a nice few minutes that we spend most nights calming before bed. I figure even if the oil does nothing more than encourage a few quiet moments before bed it can be bad. We have started adding oils to his bath as well. I use epson salt as a quick and easy bath salt to add the oils too and now Riley asks for his sugar in his bath.
I've started getting braver in how I use them. Rex is a bruised mess after football. I've been using a few on him to help promote the healing and relaxation of bruised muscles. Basically a natural icey hot type product. Justin has been the biggest skeptic in the house. He makes fun of me and was pretty sure I was wasting money. He is becoming a big fan of an oil blend called Peace and Calming. He can actually feel a relaxing calming feeling when its applied to the back of his neck. I'm not the biggest fan of that one because I don't like the smell of patchouli oil but if it helps promote calmness around this house I'll take it. I used a lot of peppermint with a sinus thing I had to help me feel like I could breath and to ease headaches. There are so many simple things we have done to help make life just a little calmer and easier.
My mom may have accused me of being a desperate women when I started. I'm the first to admit that is a true story. You live with a tired Riley for a few days and then we'll talk. Riley's behavior is often our first indicator that he is getting sick. It is amazing how much more sassy and stubborn he gets when he is focusing all of his energy on fighting off a cold. There is a certain amount of sassy Riley that we expect on a day to day basis. It is a part of what makes him who he is but man there is a line he crosses that is simply exhausting to parent. So yes I'm a desperate mom trying most anything to keep my nice boy around and not his evil twin.