Sick Kid

Joe Pye and Willow in the Catskills

Yesterday I had planned to go to work early and meet volunteers who wanted to help plant a meadow.

At around 10:30 p.m. the night before Beren awoke, crying. He woke every fifteen minutes until about 3:15 a.m. We tried asking, "What hurts?" but he was not able to answer. We tried a couple herbal teas, thinking perhaps his stomach was upset.

We suspected something about his legs bothered him. He had awoken the two mornings previous with a slight limp that went away by breakfast. Still, nothing seemed to explain his crying.

I gave him Aconitum 30c three times, which eased his pitiful cries. After the second dose, I rubbed his feet and legs, "Not that one," he was able to say.

At 3:15, I lay down on the hard floor in the office and covered myself with my bathrobe. I listened to Jared take a turn with Beren, telling him a story that made him laugh. After a half hour, his laughter turned to agitation, and I tried to nurse him back to sleep, again.

At around dawn, Beren feel asleep. Jared and I talked quietly, worried. "When Beren wakes, let him walk to you. Let's see if he has the limp still," Jared said. An hour later, my mother knocked on the door, ready to watch Beren as we went to work. "Beren's not well," I told her.

When he did wake, he was not able to walk. Jared supported him, and his right leg dangled beneath him. I scheduled an afternoon appointment with our care provider, who is a nurse practitioner, herbalist, and homeopath. I asked my mom to stay. Jared worked from home. I called out of work.

Beren was surprisingly cheerful. We played. He often said, "I'm moving," and looked the direction he wanted to go. My mom or I placed him wherever he wanted to be. One of our laps was the most comfortable place for him to be, allowing his leg to hang freely.

At the appointment, we described the symptoms - Fever, swollen knee and thigh, heat in the leg. Our care providers first line of inquiry was if we had been around anyone recently who was ill. No. Any injuries? No. Her first suggestion was that this was a virus that settled in a joint. Beren's growth had been rapid lately, so his joints were vulnerable. She had seen this before, this odd settling, much more uncommon than a settling in the ear, throat, or other common spot. "And because of where we are, we have to think of Lyme..."

We tried a homeopathic remedy, Aconitum 200, in her office. We noticed improvement and left with our notes that described the treatments - homeopathy (Belladona 200), Epsom bath, castor oil pack, willow tea, no foods from the Solanaceae family, and watch closely. We left feeling optimistic, though we had discussed Lyme.

Slowly, Beren improved, but did not walk. Mostly, he sat or laid down. Still, he hardly complained, except some small things threw him off. Just before bed, we went outside and Beren played "steamroller" - he rolled into me and Jared. Jared and I looked at each - I think he's getting better.

Today, he woke and could sit up. I called our care provider, who had called an area physician. "They should go to St. Peter's and have it aspirated to see what is in the fluid in the knee," he had told her. My chest tightened. "You can do that, or you can watch and wait. Discuss it with Jared. Call me with any questions," she said. "No, going to St. Peter's doesn't feel right. I'll talk to Jared, but I think we'll watch."

Later in the afternoon, he began to crawl. Then, he began to hobble a few feet like an old man. By bedtime, he could limp through our small house and move around on the floor. Through the day he sipped on bitter willow tea. He actually requested it, despite its not so toddler-friendly flavor. I gave him his homeopathic remedy one more time. We applied tincture of boneset to his knee, Jared's idea.

I was exhausted from carrying Beren around and watching my active son, sitting or reclining for much of the past two days. I couldn't leave his side, because when I did, he would hobble to find me. His big, knobby swollen knee crooked beneath him. It's hard to complain - he was so cheerful and playful. His good cheer also let me know we were on the mend.

I think tomorrow will be even better. I'm thankful to Pat Chichon, APN of the Chrysalis Center. To Colleen of North Slope Farm for the willow. To my Mom, who made the hours pass more quickly with  her good company. To my husband, who is deeply involved with his son. To my son, who I thought I might name Asa, which means "Healer." He trusts the plants as we do.

We are thankful to the plants, always, always. They are always ready to help, to heal. We just need to listen to them, use them, and care for them as they care for us.