Twas’ the night before Thanksgiving when all through the house, Adeline was stirring from the back of the house. A last minute decision had me working from home that day and it was fateful that I was. Around 3pm, finishing up work and getting ready to go upstairs and shower, a craving for chocolate chips called me one last time to the fridge. At that moment, I heard Adeline, the kitten, crying out from the porch. In a weird wave of calm, I walked out to the porch slowly as to not add to the panic already ensuing, as I saw that her back paw was stuck on the bench. I picked her up to relieve the struggle as she freed her paw, ran upstairs and hid for a while. At the vet that night, the x-ray revealed that she was ok, only a little inflammation but nothing was broken. My hand, however, was not ok. As I held Adeline and she jumped from my hands, my pinky finger got nicked by her back claw. Combined with the force of the jump, the result was a very swollen finger. Even though I cleaned it immediately, an infection was already taking hold. By the next morning, my entire finger was swollen down through and past my knuckle. I couldn’t bend my finger and was feeling unwell overall.
The timing was imperfectly perfect in a few ways. Perfect in the sense that it was a holiday week so I’d be off from work the rest of the week and would have time to heal my finger, especially since I couldn’t type with my monster pinky. Since my day job requires functioning hands, the pinky is key. Imperfect in the sense that it was a holiday week so it would be a challenge to find an open doctor’s office with the only options being expensive urgent care or hospital. I chose to heal this naturally, without medical antibiotics as that’d be the doctor’s solution for the infection and unless dire, antibiotics destroy a lot more good than they do bad. The caveat to my natural remedy choice was if the situation escalated despite my home remedies, I would go to the doctor’s to avoid complications such as blood poisoning. I loaded up on raw garlic, turmeric, vitamin C and cut sugar completely to stop the infection from worsening and getting it before it got me. I cleaned the wound throughout the day using apple cider vinegar followed by a layer of colloidal silver gel or Manuka honey and rested all day, for several days, with my hand above my heart to reduce swelling. By the 2nd night I was not so sure the natural route was working as the swelling increased but I slept on it, waking in the morning to a slightly less swollen hand and less pain. So I continued with my remedies and by work Monday morning, I was in good shape.
A side realization that came from this experience besides being at the right place at the right time, keeping calm in the face of calamity and listening closely to my body was how my Grandma came into play in all this. My Grandma called on Thanksgiving to chat and I mentioned the cat scratch situation. She had dealt with an infection from a cat bite in the past so she was concerned, urging me to go to the doctor’s right away. I wasn’t about to go to the doctor’s on Thanksgiving plus I wanted to try to heal the infection naturally. I didn’t tell her that though because she would have been unsupportive and dismissive about it. Her approach to showing love can cause others, myself included, to go on the defensive due to tone and delivery. As an adult, I don’t care to have someone tell me what to do or not to do so I appeased her by saying I’d see someone the next day if it didn’t improve. She reluctantly accepted my decision to wait it out and demanded I call Friday to report the current status. After the phone call, I was annoyed as a defiant teenager would be at her parents telling her what to do. I realized it was a double edged sword- in one way, I told her of my illness because I was craving the concern and comfort from someone in a time of need. When I am unwell, I both long for and resist care and love from others. After having to be independent from a very early age and look out for myself, it has been difficult to trust and accept help from others. During the few times I have been really sick, there is nothing more I want than for my Mom to take care of me. She was the temperature taker, the tissue giver, and butterfly kisser in our family growing up. Even as an adult when she couldn’t physically take care of me, I secretly liked to tell her I was sick (usually after the fact) to act all independent like hey I took care of it myself, I don’t need you but I did need her- her love, attention, care and concern. Now that my Mom is no longer on Earth, that craving for care is even more intense.
I realized that my Grandma is the last living matriarch of the family as my Mom has crossed over and so has her own Mom leaving my dad’s Mom. It’s interesting how I couldn’t accept her concern and instead was annoyed by it. Why did I bother tell her I was sick, just to get annoyed by her love regardless of how she displays it? You might notice in your own life how we seek then resist other’s love (in the manner they are able to display it) just to write it off. I think it’s because we need to be our own advocates, caretakers, lovers, friends, and everything else we seek from others. This doesn’t mean we cannot or should not allow others to meet our needs, but we shouldn’t demand or expect it. In my case, I sought the concern of my Grandma, only to reject it, from a place of lack instead of a secure place of knowing I can take care of myself (even if that means seeking help) and relaying the information consciously. Another level of awareness thanks to a cat scratch!
Life lesson aside, I’m happy and relieved to report I was able to heal my wound naturally and didn’t die. If you’re interested in natural remedies for cuts/infections, here’s a breakdown of what I used, how, why and where to buy:
To fight the infection externally:
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)- cleaned the wound each time I rebandaged.
- ACV has anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-viral, and ant-fungal properties
- Buy at Walmart, Target, any grocery store and many drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid.
- Colloidal Silver Gel– applied on the clean wound before bandaid (day 1).
- Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial. Anti everything!
- Online at Amazon; or at health food/natural remedy stores
- Manuka Honey– applied on the clean wound before bandaid (day 2 onwards). I found that the honey healed the wound and infection faster than Colloidal Silver.
- The honey’s antibacterial property draws body fluids and nutrients to the wound for healing, and its anti-inflammatory action reduces pain and swelling. Speeds healing, reduces scarring.
- Health food stores, Whole Foods, Amazon
To fight the infection internally:
- Vitamin C– loaded up on vitamin C via supplements. Can also get a ton of vitamin C through foods such as oranges, strawberries, pineapples, mangos, brussels sprouts, kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli. Smoothie anyone?
- Vitamin C helps to boost your immune system and fight off toxins floating around. If you have an infection starting, this will give your body some tools to fight it off quicker.
- Supplements (and foods) can be found at grocery stores. I use this supplement: Vitamin C.
- Raw Garlic– 2 to 4 crushed raw garlic cloves per day. Crush the clove, wait 15 minutes, put in a shot glass with favorite drink (I used hemp milk). Bottoms up!
- Drinking the garlic drink without chewing prevents stinky garlic breath. Crushing it and exposing it to air for 15 minutes or more is key because it give the garlic time to form Allicin, a powerful antioxidant that surpasses modern day antibiotics because it can kill not only bacteria infections, but also fungus and viruses.
- Garlic can be used topically as well to heal infections. A clove a day keeps the doctor away! Garlic can be consumed daily as a preventative as well. There are a million other uses for garlic too.
- The fresher, the more potent. If the garlic has been sitting around for a long time, it won’t be as effective. It’s pretty cheap, so just go out and buy a fresh head.
- Oregano Oil– Potent like garlic and a natural antibiotic, I took 1 capsule/day of oregano oil for a week. This stuff is quite powerful, so only take as needed and whether taking internally or applying topically, it should be in a diluted form such as with coconut oil.
- The ultimate antibiotic, oil of oregano contains 2 superpowers:
- Thymol — a natural fungicide with antiseptic properties. It helps boost the immune system, protect against toxins, and aids healing.
- Carvacrol — effective against various bacterial infections, such as Candida albicans, staphylococcus, E. coli, campylobacter, salmonella, listeria, and so on.
- Capsules from Amazon; the oil can be found at natural health stores, Whole Foods, Earth Fare.
- The ultimate antibiotic, oil of oregano contains 2 superpowers:
- Colloidal Silver (liquid)– Another natural antibiotic, took 2 teaspoons/day. Can be used to prevent illness and infection as well.
- Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, immune boosting.
- You guessed it, bought on Amazon. Can also be found at Whole Foods and other natural health/health food stores.
- Turmeric- Made turmeric tea, added to smoothies, sprinkled on everything I ate.
- Curcumin, the main component of turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Can be used as a paste on wounds to help prevent infection and accelerate healing. A million other uses as well.
- Turmeric powder can be found in the spices aisle of any grocery store/store that sells food such as Target, Walmart. Aim for organic, to get the purest possible. I found the big organic bag in the picture below at TJ Maxx in the food aisle.
- Supplements from Amazon. These also have been amazing for curing the migraines I get every month. Less frequent migraines since adding turmeric into my diet.