Friday, July 12, 2013

Trust the body, it never lies

When people say they never get sick, I wonder what that means. I think it might mean that when they're sick, they ignore or suppress the symptoms and go on about their business. Is that what it means? Because everyone gets sick, everyone - some more than others, of course.

I've written before about the "common cold" and "the flu." Though a virus is sometimes involved, these conditions are the body's way of responding to a whole host of conditions. You wouldn't believe how many diseases and conditions begin with flu-like symptoms. Google "flu-like symptoms but not flu" if you don't believe me.

No matter the cause, when the symptoms arise, if we pay attention, we're forced to rest and be quiet for awhile, to back a new notches down the food chain, ("starve a cold"), and clean out a whole slew of accumulated toxins by blowing them into kleenex after kleenex. Sometimes we also throw up or have diarrhea.

These symptoms are not caused by the virus at hand, but by the immune system responding to a perceived threat. The virus or whatever it is doesn't cause the fever, the immune system does that, to cook and destroy the invading enemy.

Here's what I said in the post I wrote last December:

Catching a cold or what we call "the flu," once or twice a year, and therefore developing a fever as a result, is a sign of a vigorous immune system. It's a natural, healthy process. When this happens, the smartest, most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is to call in sick, get in bed, eat chicken soup, drink tea, watch stupid movies or read magazines and sleep. Monitor your fever of course. For adults, it shouldn't go above 101 F. Wrap yourself up, let the fever do its job. If it climbs too high, take one aspirin to bring it down to 101 or below. If the fever lasts for more than 24 hours, call your doctor. After a few hours, the fever will "break" with a big sweat and a feeling of relief.

This is on my mind today because I'm recovering from a pretty nasty something or another. At first when the sore throat came on, I thought, "Oh. Maybe it's just allergies." Ah but it was far more than that. As usual, walking my talk was challenging. I can go on and on about allowing the symptoms to express themselves, respecting the integrity of the healing powers of the body, blah blah blah, but when it comes down to actually doing it, well, it isn't pleasant to allow the healing to take its course.

As my fever spiked yesterday I had chills, then I felt terribly hot. I was weak and shaky, my head ached and my joints ached and I felt queasy. The aspirin bottle was right there, beckoning. I resisted. I coughed and blew my nose and rolled around in bed until my blankets and sheets were tied in knots. I lay on the couch all day and watched movies. I drank water and tea and avoided all cold foods and liquids. Kleenex boxes were everywhere, also used tea cups. My hair was a scary looking tangle. I didn't leave the house or get dressed all day. I decided to be with the symptoms, as I always encourage others to do.

It was not fun.

Sometime during the night I achieved the fever breaking sweat and sense of relief. I knew then that my immune system had prevailed, also that in triumphing, my first line of defense became stronger and better organized than before the battle with the flu (or whatever it was). At that point I took one aspirin and slept like a log.

Today I'm blowing out the detritus, continuing to take warm liquids mostly. No, I am not working, and when this happens to you, you shouldn't either.

When you get sick, please be kind to yourself, be compassionate. OK? Every now and then the body needs to detox. It's not pleasant, but it's a part of good health. Now that I'm on the mend, I can say this whole heartedly.

May we be healthy, may our immune systems be powerful and organized. May we have the presence of mind to allow the symptoms to express themselves, knowing it's for the best. May it be so.

Gesundheit and shalom.


tut-tut said...

My saintly family practitioner always said, "illness is the work of childhood." Constant buildup of the immune system to withstand future onslaughts. He was not a believer in handing out anti-biotics . . .

Reya Mellicker said...

Very wise!

The rest of modern medicine is slowly catching up with him.

I love that - illness is the work of childhood. It surely is!

The Bug said...

I think this is where the traditional corporate culture is so extremely off base. I don't have problems calling off sick because I have a tolerant boss, but most of the employees in my company can only have a certain number of unplanned absences before they're fired. So they come to work sick. I don't blame the employees - it's the company policy that's dumb.

Reya Mellicker said...

It surely is!

Kerry said...

That sounds like a nasty cold. I'm glad you're feeling better today and hope you get another night of excellent rest. Sleep never fails to help me when I'm sick. And water, with lemon. May you feel even better tomorrow!

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks. I'm sure I will.