Out of Commission

by Bridget — November 13, 2011

Two weeks ago I started getting sick – thanks to my lovely husband for bringing the illness home. I’ve been coughing for over a week and it’s one of those hideous dry hacking coughs that never stops. It’s an annoying tickle in my throat that doesn’t go away and nothing I’ve tried soothes it. Last weekend it was at it’s peak, I had cramps in my abs from constant coughing which only got worse at bedtime. It’s amazing what happens to your sleep deprived brain in the middle of the night. Endless coughing kept waking me from any possibility of sleep, my throat was screaming with pain, & my tongue was raw from continually sucking lozenges. In the wee hours of the morning, I nearly marched myself to the hospital (on both nights) but somehow the rational side of my brain managed to talk me through it.

Here I need to interject and let you know that I live in Hong Kong, a land of humongous towering modern skyscrapers, a clean and efficient subway system, and a rich cultural history including the wonders of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I decided to try Chinese Medicine about a year and a half ago. Ever since, I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in my general health, my ability to ward off colds and flus, and much more that I won’t go into here. Basically, if I were to describe Chinese Medicine to someone who had never heard about it before, I would say that its main purpose is to regulate the body so it can function to the best of its ability, ie. your optimal health. When I go to see my doctor she prescribes me a special herb concoction (I drink it with warm water) specifically tailored to my needs that week.

I was sick, and I’d been holing myself up at home, only leaving to walk the dog or to visit my Chinese doctor. My husband was working crazy hours so I was left to my own devices. While walking the dog in the evening, I bumped into a friend who asked me why I didn’t just go to a Western doctor. People in HK seem to think that if you’re sick and you go to a Western doctor, they can cure you quickly in three days. Strangely, that had rarely been the case for me when I lived in Canada and only ever saw a Western doctor. So I guess it’s a bit of a game of opposites: natural vs. synthetic, slow vs. fast, good vs. evil. But these days I tend to think for the long term. If I take antibiotics now, it will kill everything including the germs, but do I want to get sick with something else again soon after now that my body’s defenses have been impaired? Or, would I rather build up the defenses in my body to fight it on my own? So, to suffer or not to suffer is not even the question… you suffer either way.

This week I’ve made a quick collage about the depths of my illness, the awful virus/infection, some of the remedies I tried, the sleeplessness and the mild insanity I experienced because of it. I’m sure there’s so much more I could have added. Even looking at it now it’s far too calm. Dry coughs are wicked unrelenting things. Anyway, keep well and try not to catch this evil illness that has inflicted me; I’m still trying to shake it. Wish me luck!


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