It’s Friday afternoon and it’s raining. Sort of how I feel.
For the last two weeks I’ve been sicker than ever in my life as part of my healing. The persistent hacking cough and flu weren’t unusual for this time of year, but then an ear infection crept in. Whoa Nelly! More pain than labour. Finally my eardrum broke, bringing some relief and a lot of pus. And then the pain started all over again. My mind went somewhere else, underground I think. No vestige of faith, positive thinking or larger perspective to be found—I was crabby, whiny and negative with no energy for anything. This is the mental and emotional detox part.
Finally last weekend, our massage therapist Jennifer offered me two Advil pills during the shamanic training we were both doing. The teacher had told me I was purifying as part of the course and wanted me to stay in the class even though I looked and sounded like death warmed over. Twenty minutes later, I was a different person, all pain gone, mind clear, VERY HAPPY. I don’t do pain well, having the pain threshold of a mouse—a baby mouse! It was like a religious experience—I had no idea drugs would work that quickly and that well. I’m a convert, grin. It’s the first time needing/taking pain killers in my adult life (except for medical procedures); even at the dentist I don’t take freezing (for some reason dental work relaxes me—go figure). I have to admit feeling a little foolish that it was so easy and that I had caused myself (and the poor people around me) so much extra suffering for nothing, but there’s a reason I hung on for so long that I’ll get to in a minute.
The ear infection raged for five days and I finally went to my MD for some antibiotics. After one week in bed or on the ground wrapped in blankets during the course, taking all kinds of natural remedies and yellow pus still pouring out of my ear, I was up for some modern medicine. My big incentive was that I have a plane ticket for Germany this coming Thursday to honour the third generation naturopathic practitioner before me who recently passed away, my aunt Annina.
Now I am on two kinds of antibiotics, internal and external, since Tuesday evening, along with probiotics and immune boosters. Another first in my adult life. Pus is still draining, pain is still there and I was anxious enough to go in again this morning and get re-checked. No worries, all is healing well, which is what I needed to hear to be able to relax into this process. Now I can see myself getting on that plane, reuniting with cousins I haven’t seen in decades and paying tribute to my elder. She took me into her practice for a few weeks when I was in my twenties. I got to watch her apply leaches from the local pharmacy to break up blood clots (works in 3 days versus 6 weeks with the blood-thinning medication). She had a machine that ozonated people’s blood. And every patient would receive a back massage with essential oil before leaving the office…
It’s now evening. On a whim I prepared a Thai meal with leftover fish, another first and SO delicious. Appetite is back and creative energy is flowing through me. I think the turning point has been reached. My ear has stopped draining, there is no pain and I’m ready to whomp this cough with some high-powered suppressant as soon as I lie down, which is when it usually acts up (I didn’t need it and slept through for the first time in over two weeks). The cough is a hanging healing symptom of fear: fear of not being able to take care of Felix; fear of not being able to see my patients; fear of dying. And all healing symptoms act up at night when the relaxed nervous system (parasympathetic) is predominant.
From a German New Medicine perspective, the issue that led to this left-sided ear infection was a shock of “I can’t believe I heard that” with my daughter. And this whole process has been a spectacular detoxification: last week I ate the equivalent of one meal over seven days! Now my body feels light, with appetite and energy coming back. And all that back and joint pain I’ve been complaining about this past year? Gone. Although it remains to be seen if it is still gone after the antibiotics are done, as they actively suppress the healing phase, which is what those pains were. This is where it’s important to understand the whole process as a healing of much more than an ear infection and why it was worth hanging in without drugs until the midpoint had been reached so I (hopefully) don’t slide back down after all that work.
I hear Felix calling from the bathtub. Time for his massage and story. And then blissfully to bed!
Let’s see if the healing sticks. This is a vulnerable phase and it’s easy to relapse.
I’ll keep you posted in March and let you know how I weathered this trip.
Apologies to my dear patients for all the cancelled appointments.
And happy spring transitions, may they be easier than mine!