Deep Rest is the Cure

October 17, 2013  
The full moon rises–no matter what, she stays on track. She’s my lifeline as my own boat drifts at a low ebb, lost at sea here in the Valley of the Moon . . .
Full Moon, October 18, 2013
I’m not out of the woods yet, but already the memories of those first days of chills, fever, coughing, hacking, shivering delirium, and endless nose blowing are fading away. I think it will help me heal if I share the rest of my sick saga. (If you missed yesterday’s prelude, see Into the Underworld of Chills and Fever)

I’m such a compulsive Gemini communicator that I’ll probably sit upright at my own funeral and argue with the minister about the hereafter!
Just to illustrate the seriousness of my descent into the underworld, during those first five days, before completely losing my voice, I found myself singing this little ditty (sung to the tune of that ’60s jingle, “Soup and Sandwich”) like a madwoman, over and over again, just to keep my spirits up:
Chills and fever, chills and fever, 
Everybody’s got chills and fever. 
Any time of weather, chills and fever go together.

Repeat five times every hour until symptoms subside. I figured so long as I was singing, I wasn’t dead. And the singing and laughing felt like a sort of exorcism.
Already people were advising me to go to the doctor, but I argued, “I don’t need a doctor–I need a nurse! I need someone to come over and take care of me so I can stay in bed and get well! I need to get off this cold, hard drafty floor. I’m too old to be sleeping on the ground. I have to face it! I need someone to walk the dogs, wash the dishes, feed the animals, clean the kitty litter . . .
“And,” I added, “I need someone to go to Farmer and the Cook and get me some birdseed cookies and carrot cake!”I wanted a treat. Like a child in her sick bed, I began obsessing about carrot cake. I almost cried when my helper friend only delivered soup, grapes, lemons, and oranges. He explained something about the carrot cake arriving on Thursday. At that moment I wished I were rich and could command someone to chase down an organic carrot cake. Moving on from the carrot cake, I began dreaming about Earth Cafe Vegan Cheesecake. Finally, last night, someone brought me a Rockin’ Raspberry!
When you’re sick in bed, staring out the window at the purple-orange fall leaves fluttering in the wind, you have ample opportunity to observe the workings of your own mind. And when all is said and done, the only thing that matters is survival–getting your health back.
Every ounce of energy I had went into making potions. I brewed super-strong fresh ginger tea–drank it hot, drank it cold, reheated the leftover batches and squeezed fresh lemons into it, sweetened all my ginger and various herbal brews with raw organic honey. It felt like the sweetener allowed me to stand upright to wash a few essential dishes before collapsing back into bed.My daughter made me a huge pot of zucchini-based vegetable soup that she put into the blender. She delivered it with a baggie of peeled garlic cloves and a garlic press, with instructions to press the raw garlic straight into the hot soup every time I ate a bowl. I kept up the garlic and soup formula for a few days, until I got the strong feeling “No more garlic–enough already!” And, of course, I included the usual cures–peeled organic oranges, eaten straight, and juiced oranges, as well as water, lots of water. And pineapple juice. I haven’t found anything that beats pineapple juice for soothing a sore throat.

On the third day, just before completely losing my voice, I woke up with the scary feeling that my throat was closing. I could breathe okay, but my throat was feeling increasingly sore and constricted. I sipped more batches of sweet, tree-ripened orange juice and, at one point, coughing and hacking over the sink, the body in its infinte wisdom expelled the most disgusting glob. I’ll spare you further details, but am mentioning this in case anyone else is in the midst of the same malady.
There were a few days when salads lost all appeal. I felt that if I ate that pile of baby greens I would throw it up. I asked my friend to bring me organic crackers–Mary’s and Suzy’s. I think the crackers added to the phlegm I kept coughing up, but they settled my stomach and I never vomited.Another friend reminded me about Vicks VapoRub. It felt good to rub that camphor eucalyptus ointment on my chest, which brought back childhood memories of missing Halloween when I had a cold.
On Wednesday–five days after this saga began–I completely lost my voice for two days. When I managed to take Honey out back on a mini-walk, I couldn’t call her. But the weird thing was that I could whistle loud and clear. All together, it took about six days to get my voice back to where I could speak normally without coughing or straining. At one point the coughing got so bad that it strained my back and my heart hurt. That was the lowest point. I stayed in bed, realizing that my body needed every ounce of energy to heal.
And about eight days into this, with the cough hanging on, I decided I’d better get with a vitamin C program, hoping it would act like an antibiotic. A friend brought me a bottle of “Buffered Time Release Vitamin C,” 500 Mg. I’ve been taking two tablets with fresh juice or tea every four hours, but am tapering off starting today.While buried under the covers, I reread two old classics in the field of health and healing: Food Is Your Best Medicine by Henry G. Bieler, MD, and Medical Nemesis by Ivan Illich. If you’re still wondering whether to get that flu shot, read these books–or at least read up on the pros and cons. I think the day will come when the medical establishment will have to disclose that these shots do far more harm than good.I believe there are layers of causes, warning signs, before things manifest on the physical plane. I recognize that there are times when Mother Nature needs medical help. If I had been dehydrated, throwing up, having problems with elimination and that sort of thing, I might have considered checking in with a doctor. But in my case I felt if I could just rest–lie on the ground in the warm sun–I would gradually get well.Deep rest was indeed the cure–but this was difficult for me to get. My dog Honey gets all pent up, and I can’t fully rest surrounded by her restless energy.
On the day that I lost my voice, my daughter Monica Ellen Marshall put Honey, Chico, and her own dog, Buddy, in my car and drove to Cozy Dell Trail so Honey could get some real exercise. But, as usual, a few feet away from the car Honey put on the brakes. She absolutely refuses to hike with anyone else–no exceptions! She was willing to walk in the parking lot in the direction of my house or back in the direction of the car, but the trail pointing away from my house was out of the question!So every evening–maybe I missed once or twice—through sheer force of will, I walked in an altered state, like in a dream, to the river bed, where Honey could run back and forth on her own. During those times the thought hit me that this might be what my body will feel like when I’m a hundred years old . . .
Note: This story is dedicated to my friend Sholom Joshua. I will never forget the sight of him wearing a surgical mask–so he wouldn’t get my cooties–when dropping off daily “care packages.” The animals and I are grateful. Thank you!
Photo Credit: Olivia Klein

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