I have been unwell for the past two days. It started with the chills and went on to a fever, pain behind the eyes and a general ache all over. Uh oh, a flu is approaching.
No one likes being sick.
But being sick is probably a signal that I have not been treating my body too well. A bit too many late dinners, work, late nights and such – these take a toll sometime.
When I get sick, the first thing I do is to go to bed, wrapping up tightly in my blanket. Sweating does a world of good but this time I just couldn’t sweat out my toxins. On top of that, I had a massive headache and started feeling really nauseated. In the middle of the night, I heaved and hurled out the contents of my stomach which was actually a big relief.
My fever came and went, and as of this blog post, I am feeling a lot better than two days ago.
My neighbor asked if I had seen a doctor and I replied that seeing a doctor would be a last option. I am not fearful of doctors. I am rather skeptical of the drugs they dish out.
I’d rather see a Chinese sinseh and take the slower road to recovery than take a bunch of pills. The Chinese sinseh may give me some ground up powder which tastes bitter as bile and sometimes take 5 days of such medications to lessen the symptoms.
I believe that our human bodies are amazing yet complex systems.
Our bodies can heal themselves if given enough time and space, barring any serious illnesses. For flus and fevers, I normally give myself lots of bed rest and drink lots of ginger tea. It helps that I know a little reflexology and massaging certain acupressure points helps alleviate the pain.
I read that a fever is not a disease; it is a symptom. This means when we get a fever, our bodies are actually fighting some invading pathogens. The body’s internal thermostat is raised (hence your temperature goes up) so that it can kill the bacteria while white blood cells, activated by a higher temperature, work better in killing off the bacteria.
Being sick also reminded me of my maternal grandmother. I used to have heat issues when I was a teenager. That meant I would be sick and vomit and at times, be so lethargic that sleep was the only respite. She would take a Chinese porcelain soup spoon and start scraping the “heat” from the neck downwards. According to Chinese beliefs, this gua sha method eliminates toxins and invigorates qi.
Nic who often doubles up as my personal sinseh tells me that the best is to use a gua sha implement made from the horns of a water buffalo. Another method to relieve heat symptoms is to use a peeled hard boiled egg. Just rub the egg along the back of the neck downwards toward the shoulder blades. (If Nic weren’t in business I think he’d do quite well as a healer because he does have a natural ability to heal, just by massage and intuition. I always say he’s healthy like a horse. If he gets sick – which is rarely – all he needs is Coca cola with a pinch of salt plus a long nap. He never needs the kind of bed rest and care that I do. I think all those cod liver oil capsules he took as a kid must have built a solid foundation for his robustness!)
I haven’t quite figured out why this works but it does.
I try to make the best of things even when sick like a dog. In times like these, I understand more of “dukkha” as espoused by the Buddha. As my meditation training during university days have taught me, it is better to stare and feel the pain and aches that come. We used to battle lots of pain while meditating in the lotus position. The knees would cramp, the toes would get numb.
Accept the pain and tell yourself, this too will soon pass.
And so I take it that I need a break from work, from business, from every day life.
The headaches, body aches, fever all remind me that I am mortal. And at this moment, this mortal needs a rest.