From Desperation To Hope: A Mother’s Journey Between Modern Medicine And Traditional Healing

From Desperation To Hope: A Mother’s Journey Between Modern Medicine And Traditional Healing mi maiv

In the tender cradle of my arms, I held him close. His once vibrant body was as still as the calm after a storm, and the healthy rose flush of his lips had faded to a haunting shade of blue. His gaze was far away. The terrifying prospect of losing my baby loomed over my head, my mind paralyzed by an unspeakable fear. A primal cry erupted from within me, urging my husband to dial 911. Within a matter of mere minutes, the flashing lights of the ambulance painted our quiet house with streaks of urgency.

We’d just gotten back from a family trip from Texas, and he’d developed a fever the night before. Like many moms, I gave him some fever reducing medications, but I also believed in letting a fever run its course to some degree. But he wasn’t eating or drinking, just nursing, so I held him close, giving him the comfort of his mama’s touch. Then, without warning, he unlatched and began to convulse. My heart pounded like a drum as I pulled him back to see him better. His eyes had a far-off look, and he started to choke, his tiny body struggling for breath. Suddenly, he went limp, his breathing stopped, and his lips turned a dreadful blue. My instinct was to cool him down in the shower, but nothing seemed to help. I wrapped him in a towel, held him tight, and just let the tears flow.

As a healthcare worker, I’d been trained on what to do if a febrile seizure happened. But when it’s your own child, all the training in the world can’t prepare you for that moment. Everything was a blur of panic and heartache. Those two minutes of seizure felt like a lifetime. The firefighters were first on the scene, laying him on the couch to monitor his vital signs before giving him oxygen. Then the paramedics took over, rushing him to the hospital. I was right there with him, but he was so exhausted he didn’t even have the strength to cry.

As we sped towards the hospital, the ‘what ifs’ started circling like vultures in my mind. If only I’d done this differently, or done that sooner. If only we’d stayed home and not gone to Texas. The self-blame was relentless, and even the paramedic’s reassurances that febrile seizures are quite common didn’t help. To me, there was nothing ‘common’ about it. It was anything but normal for my baby.

We reached the hospital and was immediately admitted to one of the rooms in the ER. He was given dose of Motrin, a bag of IV fluids, and a dose of steroid (the doctor suspected croup or some kind of infection). His lab panels came back negative and they could not figure out what was causing his fever. We were discharged after five hours.

Despite adhering diligently to the medical instructions for managing my son’s fever, we found no respite. We alternated between two types of fever-reducing medications every three hours and applied cool towels in an attempt to alleviate his discomfort. In this trying moment, I was reminded of a gift from my mother-in-law, a silver bar, known in our Hmong culture as ‘nyiaj choj’.

Acting swiftly, I steamed some eggs and nestled the silver bar between them. I wrapped the silver bar and the egg in a piece of cloth and I gently rubbed this all over his body, repeating the process 3-5 times, each time with a fresh egg. I am usually skeptical, but this time, I was hopeful. I prayed and I knew in my heart that this was going to help him. 

After each passing, I would open up the cloth to look at the silver bar. To my amazement, the silver bar turns a deep dark color. I would clean the silver bar by rubbing ashes on it and then I repeated this process a few more times. To my relief, his fever subsided. That night, for the first time in a while, he was not reliant on continuous medication.

Emboldened by the change, I repeated the process the following morning, continuing the treatment over his entire body. With every passing session, as his health visibly improved, the silver bar oxidized less and less.

The Hmong people believes that pure silver cures illness by extracting the impurities and toxins from the body. Some even believes that wearing a piece of silver jewelry deters evil spirits. If you are ever in need of a safety pin, try asking an older grandma, they usually wear a few on their shirts for this particular reason. 

I find myself positioned at the intersection of modern science and traditional wisdom. As a person grounded in evidence and facts, I acknowledge that scientific validation for this method is lacking. Yet, when it comes to my child’s well-being, I find myself willing to explore every avenue that promises relief.

There’s a legacy of healing entwined in the traditional techniques handed down through generations. This experience reinforced my belief in their potential efficacy, as I observed my son’s recovery firsthand. I urge everyone to keep an open mind – don’t dismiss something until you’ve walked a mile in the shoes of a desperate parent, seeking all possible means to alleviate their child’s suffering.

To all mothers listening to this story, please know that febrile seizures can happen. They occur when a rapid rise in body temperature causes a child to have a seizure. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I encourage you to prepare yourself because knowledge can be your shield when the unthinkable occurs.

To learn more about febrile seizures, read it here.

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