Sims receives major health scare

Published 2:48 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2011

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Though we awake as a new creature each morning, sometimes the changes are so minute they go easily unobserved.

A major health scare is an attention-getter for anyone at any age. It can be a new plateau from which can be gained a broader perspective.

Eraka Sims, ReMax Real Estate broker and consultant, began to experience a painful rash on the left side of her face in mid-February that spread into her eyes.

“It was shingles, and the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life,” she said. “I felt like my head was on fire.”

And, Sims had no health insurance, which sent her in search of medical help not easily found. She called Shelby and Jefferson health departments and was told they couldn’t help.

“I was suddenly one of those members of society who has fallen through the health care system crack,” she said.

Her eyes were closing and her vision was distorting by the time someone suggested going to Callahan Eye Clinic. Sims said she was received with kindness.

“This is the clinic area sponsored by the Lion’s Club, and we see everyone,” she was told.

The doctor told Sims that she had probably saved her eyesight by using a natural product called Silver Shield with Aqua Sol, a non-toxic antiseptic and surface disinfectant. Sims also applied St. John’s Wart oil to relax underlying nerves.

Eraka Sims harvesting her organic vegetables last summer. (Contributed)

She learned much of the pain could have been prevented if she had been prescribed steroids earlier.

Sims is working on her herbalist license with Thomas Easley in classes held at Go Natural in Alabaster. The class has learned to make salve for chicken pox, measles and psoriasis, as well as tinctures for other applications. Oak leaves can be chewed up and applied to ant bites and bee stings.

“I believe we all need to become more self sufficient,” Sims said.

With this in mind, Sims said she has been given a vision of how she can do that by building a lake on her property where she can grow the plants that are used in herbal preparations. She is selling part of her acreage lying in the higher hills — ample for an estate that will have a view of the stocked lake.

Sims, who has since obtained an individual Blue Cross policy, believes through this experience she has learned to look at people and situations in a more loving way.

“I feel I have been given the opportunity to reinvent myself. I am pursuing my work as a realtor with a new passion, with a desire to be really caring about helping families make good decisions about buying a home.”

Laura Brookhart can be reached by email at