24 Carrot Rabbitry

City-fied Self-Sufficiency

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Archive for December, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas Tree... so beautiful!

I pray your Christmas was as blessed as ours!

I am so exhausted… and it was totally worth it.  ;)

Staving off an Ear Infection

Every year, I make a family calendar from scratch, print some 25 or so of them, get them bound, and ship them off as gifts to members of the family.  I am in the middle of doing this now, which is why I haven’t posted in a month.  It does take a while.

I use a program called “The Print Shop” by Broderbund.  It’s version 15, and I bought it for $10 at Wal-Mart years ago.  They’re up to version 23 now, but I don’t care.  Mine still works even on Windows 7, and I’ve found that newer versions of many things will sometimes remove features that they don’t think are popular, while boxing you in to templates and other things that make it hard for you to do exactly what you want to.

You see, I grew up programming an Apple IIe in Basic.  I learned several other computer languages, and I learned early publishing software as well as word-processing software.  The early software, once really in full swing, didn’t try to do things for you; therefore, you could make it do what you wanted it to.  As more and more people acquired computers, software became more and more user-friendly so that it could be used by people who didn’t know as much about computers.  The more user-friendly it became, the more the software did things for the user.  Fine for people who otherwise couldn’t really have used a computer, but not so good for those who don’t like being boxed in.

So that’s why I’ve never bothered to get an updated version.  Besides, it costs three times as much now… if you get it on sale (the one I have, though, can still be bought on Amazon).  And I love the little program.  The only issue I have with it is the fact that I cannot open up a calendar from last year, change the year, and have all the birthdays magically rearrange themselves.  It’s supposed to do it, but it will do it with some, not do it with others, and with a couple, I’ll end up with a picture at the intersection of four days, and I can’t get rid of it or move it.

So I have to make new calendars each year, some with just us, some with other members of the family, depending on who they are being sent to.  The picture pages are the same for all, and obviously I make those new every year.  I find interesting background textures, lighten them, and then make a different picture collage with captions for each month.

I print the calendars myself, on 110-pound heavy card stock, so the edges won’t curl.  I tried twice getting them printed at places like Office Depot, but I was very disappointed in the quality.  They had white lines, streaks, etc.  So I just do it myself.  I refill my ink cartridges to save money, otherwise I’d never be able to afford it.  I calculated that we spend about $12 to make each calendar, which is less than an office place will do it for, and I like mine better.  It actually probably costs less now, because I bought a new printer in September of 2010, and (after replacing the initial cartridges with refillable ones) I only recently had to replace the black cartridge, and no others.  Also, the ink goes further.

Anyway, so here I am, working on the picture pages, when I realize at bedtime one night that my left ear is sore.  I didn’t think too hard about it at the time.  I was ready to climb into bed, and really didn’t want to think about the possibility of an ear infection.  So I took some Ibuprofen, ignored it, and went to bed.

The next morning, it was more sore.  So now I knew I had a problem.  Act fast, or I have to go to the doctor.  And I may have to go to the doctor anyway.  I don’t have a doctor, so I’d be paying new patient fees, and I don’t have insurance.  Or I could use myself as a guinea pig and self-medicate with fish antibiotics.  No, I’m serious.  Read this article:  Fish Antibiotics in a Collapse.   I plan to start collecting these meds in the near future.  But I don’t want to take antibiotics if I don’t absolutely have to.  I’m already allergic to amoxicillin.  My mom has developed allergies to some 5 major antibiotics, so I avoid antibiotics at every opportunity.  When I need one, I don’t want to be allergic to it already.

So, what to do?  I was obviously very close to needing an antibiotic, if not already over that threshold.  My ear was hurting and making crackling noises inside.

Well, most ear infections occur when fluid in the ear becomes trapped one way or another, and begins to multiply bacteria.  The fluid always needs a way to drain.  This is one purpose of the Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the top of the pharynx.   The Eustachian tubes can swell from irritation due to allergies, colds, and other similar maladies.  If one of the tubes swells enough, it cuts off escape for the fluid, and the fluid builds up and becomes a bacteria breeding ground.

What I needed to do was get the inflammation down, and get the fluid to drain and/or dry up.  I began a regimen of Ibuprofen for pain and inflammation, old formulation Sudafed (pseudoephedrine hydrochloride) for breaking up the congestion in the tube and helping it drain, and an antihistamine (chlorpheniramine maleate or Chlor-Trimeton) to help dry things up.

But, just in case my ear pain was in the outer ear or in the ear canal (like swimmer’s ear), I had Shay pour alcohol into my ear, and I sat with my ear up for five minutes before draining the alcohol out.

The day after starting the medicines, my ear felt much better already!  It has been several days since, and I didn’t even take the doses as regularly as I meant to, but the pain is gone completely, and hasn’t come back.  Whew!