Thursday, November 07, 2013

Washer Update…Fixed!

Well, in spite of my high hopes for the agitator dogs fixing everything, the washer was still behaving insanely. The bottom agitator was only spinning in one direction which is why the clothes had gotten so tangled.

So I posted to my favorite appliance DIY forum and in an hour and a half, had a diagnosis that I needed a new transmission. Ugh.

If I chose to DIY it this time, I’d be on my own, DH wouldn’t be available to help me, but on the other hand, we’d done this once before so I figured with my awesome SIL’s help (and a video of the steps), we ought to be able to avoid the trip charge and hourly fee of a pro.

I decided I could do it, so we ordered the part day before yesterday, it was in yesterday and I think I had the part installed in less than an hour from the time I started. It was a nerve-racking few minutes waiting for the washer to fill up to see if I’d done everything correctly, but it came on and did what it was supposed to do… whew!

It’s kind of good that I had to do this because in the process of everything I discovered the agitator dogs needed replacing and when I got the motor off the transmission, I saw that the rubber drive coupler gasket was just about to self-destruct. One hole had already broken through. Thankfully we had an extra from another repair so I was good to go in that department.

So… here’s hoping we can go for a few more years without any major repairs.

Next on my list… putting up a clothesline to keep up with all the clothes I’ll be washing.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Whooping Cough makes a visit

I’ve always thought that whooping cough was something that people used to get and was something from my grandparents’ and maybe my parents’ generation. You don’t hear much about it in this day and age tho. We had never given it a passing thought … until …

At the beginning of September, our kids had a mild cough that was annoying, but finally went away. Then later in September, we were over at a fellow homeschooler’s home and their daughter had a nasty sounding cough. She had gone to the doctor and was just starting antibiotic treatment that day. We warned the kids not to get too close to her and that was that (or so we thought).

No one knows for sure who gave it to whom as whooping cough starts with seemingly innocent cold symptoms and progresses into mighty scary from there. I do know that according to recent reports, whooping cough cases are on the rise, and not necessarily (as some argue) a result of under-vaccinated populations.

We’re racking out brains to try to remember when symptoms actually started, but as far as we can remember, Eli started coughing around the first of October with a cough that started sounding (as my SIL puts it) like someone with COPD. Next to fall was Geo (who actually has had it the worst), then Ana & finally Nina. I think Eli is in the convalescent stage (never had the whoop), Geo is almost to the end of the paroxysmal stage, Nina is at a lower level of the paroxysmal stage (no whoop), and Ana is in the paroxysmal stage, but only coughs (with whoop) 2 or 3 times a night, then goes right back to sleep. My sleep-deprived brain can’t remember if she woke up at all last night to cough. I almost don’t think she did, but if she did it was mild and only once.

Geo has the terrible coughing, followed by an inability to breath for a few seconds before he starts making a whooping sound as air starts making its way back into his lungs. Poor guy, he looks so scared when he can’t get air. We rush to him, speaking calmly and slowly, trying to help calm him down. We thump him on his back, give him a bucket to spit the phlegm into (sorry, but it happens) and after a minute or two, he is calmed down enough to where he is mostly breathing normally. After one of these attacks, he looks totally exhausted. He had been having 6-8 attacks a night (it’s worse at night which is totally exhausting to the parents who are up with sick kiddos all night), but is now down to 2-3. He says he feels that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, he’s finally able to cough gunk up from his lungs (at first nothing would come up) and he can breath easier in general… so yay for that!

As soon as we started suspecting WC, we started researching the daylights out of it. Turns out that OTC meds and antibiotics don’t do anything to help the symptoms. We had been trying OTC cough meds and homeopathic cough remedies, but when we found that out, we kinda quit using them. The only thing antibiotics do is to make you not contagious to others (after 5 days of taking it). So we started looking for natural ways to treat this nasty, pesky cough.

Thanks to helpful posts like this one and this we developed a quick plan of action. Here is what we finally did/are doing:

N – Nutrition

    We have increased fresh fruit and veggies, and whole grains (minus wheat which can cause increased mucus buildup)

E – Exercise

     This one you have to be careful with WC as too much can trigger an attack, but some exercise is good. Walking, lightly playing outside, we’ve allowed and encouraged (while the weather is so nice).

W – Water

     Ever hour I have the kids drink water to loosen up the phlegm in their lungs.


S – Sunshine

     We are getting them out in the sun every day for as long as possible. They don’t go out and sunbathe, but whatever sun they get while playing outside should help.

T – Temperance

     We’ve cut out gluten, flour, sugar, dairy, soy, potatoes, anything from peanuts, most oils…

A – Air

     They get plenty of fresh air when they play outside each day.

R – Rest

     We get them to bed at a decent hour and let them sleep as much as they want in the morning (since they are up multiple times during the night). We also encourage and sometimes require naps during the day (depending on how they did the night before).

T – Trust in God

     Last, but most importantly, we are trusting in God to bring healing to our dear children. He loves them more than we ever could and we call upon his powerful hand to heal these dear ones as no earthly physician can. Many prayers have gone up at all hours for these kiddos.


Additionally, here are some things we’ve done:

     We have been trying to get 1000 mg. of vitamin C into the children every 30 minutes. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but they are getting much more vitamin C than usual, that’s for sure. We will keep this up for several weeks after their symptoms are gone as any colds they contract in the convalescent stage could lead right back to the whooping till the cilia in their lungs grow back.

  • Vitamin D3 – Helps keep you healthy, fights disease 
  • Vitamin E
  • Colloidal silver – We did research on colloidal silver and bought the kind that will not turn our children blue. We have them breath in while we spray a little into the back of their throats (and hopefully a little gets down into their trachea and makes its way to the lungs) and we give them 1 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. of colloidal silver, usually before meals. My nephew has also tried it in his sister's nebulizer, but only once. If we had a nebulizer, I’d be trying it more often.

     Daniel and I have felt like we were getting something a couple times over the last week or two and have gargled with colloidal silver and that knocked it out each time. It works better than gargling with H2O2, IMO, and doesn’t taste as bad either.

  • Turmeric – The kids aren’t fans of the taste so I give it to them in capsules that they can swallow.
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) – I put 6 drops in a little grape juice to mask the taste. I give this with the silver and anything else that would kill the probiotics which I give at a later time. Eli was just singing, “Just a spoonful of grape juice makes the GSE go down, the GSE go down, the GSE go down…” :D
  • Oil of Oregano (OoO)– I have rubbed this on my little ones’ feet as well as giving it orally, either straight (for Geo who can tolerate it), or with honey for those who can’t. I’ve backed off this one a little because of the taste and because I’m about out of capsules which I could put it in for easier application.
  • Olive Leaf Extract – I had some of these left over from something else I was fighting so I add them in sometimes.
  • Bio Solutions Frequency Generator a.k.a. “The Zapper Machine” – There is not a setting specifically for Pertussis or Whooping Cough so I have kids run the Bronchitis and Bronchial Pneumonia routines as I don’t want their WC to develop into either. They do this once a day.
  • Son Ancon Chi Machine a.k.a. “The Fishy Machine”  - When they or I remember, they lie down on the Chi machine 1-3 times a day for 10 minutes each. This helps oxygenate their blood and increase circulation.
  • Probiotics – This is to counteract the bactericide (good ones not excluded) happening in their systems due to the silver/OoO/GSE. We give these after meals.
  • Ginger Tea – We give this when they are having a hard time in the night, after a cough attack, to help settle them back down.
  • Thyme Tea – I made this for the last 2 nights with great success! I boiled several branches of thyme in water till the water was yellow. I let the water boil off a little so that I could add ice cubes to cool it off and not effect the concentration much. Oh, while still hot, I added enough honey to make it palatable. I can’t tell if the coughs are just naturally starting to get better or if the thyme tea made that much of a difference, but it did seem that Nina’s coughing lessened drastically and quickly after giving her thyme tea after an attack. Also Geo went from 3 a night to 2 last night (only 1 after I went to bed).
  • Onion Poultice on Feet – Several people from church mentioned this as a remedy for cough. For the last 3 nights we have put slices of onion inside their socks and put plastic bags over the socks before tucking them in bed. I’m not sure if this has helped or not, but our nephew (who is visiting and hasn’t developed full-blown WC, yet) has been coughing for the last few days, but the last 3 nights that we put onion on his feet, we noticed a decline in the amount of coughing.
  • Vicks Vap-o-Rub – We rub this on their chests, necks and backs (also feet if not using onion) each night before they go to bed, also in the middle of the night after an attack.
  • Fomentations – I did these a couple of times but didn’t notice much of a change and since it is so laborious and because I didn’t find much on the internet about fomentations used for WC, I have put that one on the back burner.
  • Hot/Cold Showers – I suppose this would be pretty similar to fomentations, now that I think about it. I don’t think it hurts to increase blood flow and circulation which H/C showers do.
  • Russian Penicillin/Rocket Fuel… – The version I made called for:

1 onion

5 radishes (sub horseradish or cayenne)

5 garlic cloves

juice of 10 lemons (I think I only had 5 or 6)

honey to taste

This one is a very pretty pink and not too strong for kiddy palates.

I’ve also made a version calling for garlic, onions, cayenne, ginger, lemons, honey & water. Potent stuff!

  • Quarantine – As soon as my kids started coughing, I told them to cough down into their shirts or into their elbows away from people. My older 2 haven’t been to their piano lesson in 2 weeks, church in 2 weeks or the evangelistic meetings that are going on at our church (which they would dearly love to go to) because things were starting to get a bit worse and we didn’t want to share any germs. When Geo and Nina did go to their piano lesson (about 3 weeks ago), I told them to wash their hands with soap before playing piano and cough into their shirts if needed. After Ana started coughing, for the 2 weeks that we did take them to church, I had her sit in the back of her class, well separate from the other children, “just in case.” Eli (7) has been great about coughing into his shirts, to the point that some of his t-shirts are sadly stretched out in the neck area. That’s fine with me, tho, I’d rather that than someone get sick from their germs. Since we suspected WC, they haven’t been out anywhere. I bet they are getting a little stir-crazy, but it’s what I feel we must do for now, at least for another 2 weeks and until everyone is not coughing in the daytime anymore (at least that would be my preference).


These I haven’t actually tried but are on my list:

  • Garlic Juice – Press a bunch of cloves and press them through a sieve to extract the juice, give by the 1/2 teaspoonful several times a day.
  • Mullein Tea
  • Slippery Elm
  • Sage Tea, Garlic Tea, Turmeric Tea, Fenugreek tea…
  • Hot food baths (followed by cold before drying)
  • Tepid bath, cool cloth on head for 10-15 minutes (supposed to bring some of the blood from core [lungs] to skin to warm it up easing congestion)
  • Steam treatment in shower and thumping on chest (well, we do run the humidifiers in their rooms at night and thump Geo on the back when he has a coughing fit, but I read about one lady who took her kids into a steamy shower and thumped their backs to get them to cough stuff out of their lungs).


I use the School Assistant and the Carbodroid Android apps to remind me what the kids are supposed to be doing next (i.e. taking their vitamin Cs, or drinking water or going outside to get sun…). This helps to keep me on schedule and make sure nothing gets missed.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Replacing Agitator Dogs

Our Kenmore Elite 90 series washer has served us well for the last 14+ years. We have replaced (diy style) the clutch (iirc), the lid switch and the drive couplers.

Yesterday night while a load was washing I noticed a noise from the washer that was getting louder and (I think) slower too for some reason. I turned off the washer and found the clothes all tangled around the center agitator. I thought maybe something had gotten stuck underneath the agitator so I took the clothes out and drained the water (in hindsight I would have reversed that order, lol), but there was nothing there.

I went online to try to diagnose the loud grinding noise I heard and what might be the cause. I couldn’t find much consensus, but did see agitator dogs come up more than once and I kept reading that it was a cheap, easy fix. I figured it couldn’t hurt to rule that one out so I took the top cap off the agitator, unscrewed the plastic thingy in the center with the square end of a long ratchet wrench piece (don’t you just love my oh-so-technical vocabulary? lol) and was able to easily pull out the agitator dog assembly.

Sure enough, the teeth were looking quite worn. They were still able to engage the agitator under low pressure but when DH gave a mighty turn, they slipped and gave the nasty loud noise I had been hearing. So God be praised, we will once again avoid an appliance man’s trip charge and fix this old beauty for near nothin’.