February 26, 2011 – Further Blessings and Lessons from Being Ill – Panchakarma Days 24-26
Rainy Day Rooftop
Waking up to a dreary, grey, rainy morning, with no electricity. Today I should have been celebrating having finishedpanchakarma, but following the events of the last few days, I won’t be finished until tomorrow. So, let’s go back and fill in the blanks as quickly as possible.
The last time I posted, it was about surrendering to my illness and accepting it joyfully and thankfully, relaxing into it…which I proceeded to do! First thing I did was call Dr. Arora and tell him I would not be coming down to the clinic, and after a few questions, he realized I was truly sick – definitely not something to do with the panchakarma and its effects – and immediately agreed that I stay in bed, and he would send someone up with appropriate medicines for me!
I was really miserable by then, and the pain in my head and eyes was so intense I could hardly keep my eyes open…I don’t believe I have ever experienced this type of pain in this intense way, and there was nothing I could do to relieve it! I felt like I had hot pokers rotating in various spots of my head, forehead and right eye area. Really excruciating. So I pretty much tried to sleep some more, but this was impossible, couldn’t read, but was able to play a few computer games, which I did. The sun was out so after that I made myself a kind of lounge chair using two chairs and went outside to let the warmth of the sun help in some way. It was nice sitting out there after being inside for a few days, but after a short time I felt overwhelmed by weakness and got back into bed. I was feeling soooooooooo sorry for myself at this point!
And just then, my neighbor in the next room, knocked on my door and said Dr. Arora sent medicine with her. Seems she had gone down for a consultation and he asked her to bring the meds up to me, instead of my waiting another couple of hours until his girls finished work. (I felt better also knowing that neither of them would have to make a special trip up here…they work so hard as it is!). So, this was also part of the “plan”, and I called him, thanked him, and got directions for using them.
There were some little round brown pills and some other stuff which looked like brown sludge…(turns out the taste was so vile, it could literally have BEEN sludge!!). He didn’t tell me what each was for, just told me how to take them, one with warm water, the other with warm milk, and I immediately did that. Well, less than half an hour later, my pain had receded to almost nothing!! That was the first sign that something was working. I was then able to relax into reading, which made the time go by much faster (especially with the weird but very well written book I was reading – “Kafka on the Shore”). Shortly after that, I had to blow my nose (not because it was dripping clear fluid like a faucet as it had been for the past days, but because it really needed to be blown…and you cannot imagine what began to come out! The less I describe it the better, but needless to say, my sinuses began clearing themselves out…and to my surprised, and grateful relief, I was able to breath through my nose again for the first time in 3 days!!
I was still very weak, but had soup to eat which I had prepared the evening before, which lasted until supper as well, and not having much of an appetite, it was enough.
I went to sleep that night, slept soundly, with no pain, no stuffiness, etc, and woke up feeling much better. At least my eyes were fully open, and I could breathe, and was almost completely painfree.
I was still weak, but DID go down for a treatment. The doctor agreed that just a massage would be enough, anything else would be too much, and to go back and rest for the remainder of the day, which I happily did. The sun was still out so enjoyed sitting outdoors, after a nap for a couple of hours. By this time, I had no more pain, my sinuses were almost completely cleared and the weakness was residing. I even changed my sheets, brought in laundry and took a shower, feeling even better after everything was clean and fresh!
Yesterday, I woke up feeling like a new person completely, no longer really weak and no signs of sinus problems at all. My nose, even today, is still running a little, but nothing to really be concerned about.
I had my regular massage and navi basti (hot oil on the navel area) and went happily home for a pleasant day. Thinking that today I would be down for my final massage and shirodhara and tomorrow massage and steam and cleaning of ear, eyes and nose, and finished.
But woke up to a raining dreary day as mentioned, and now, several hours later, it is still raining, and there is no way I am taking of chance and going out walking in the rain and chill.
I haven’t called the doc yet to tell him, but there is some mysterious plan in work here which seems to be making it ever more difficult to complete this panchakarma. (I just now called the clinic and before I even asked, the Doctor said:” God has other plans for you…today, just stay home and rest – don’t come out in rain – for some reason He doesn’t want you to finish panchakarma as planned” – sit here now laughing since just ½ hour ago I had come to the same conclusion myself).
Anyway, today will be an interesting day, even if dreary and nasty. Several of the people I have been helping over the internet, who found me via my blog, are all arriving today! The guy whose wife mentioned my on a TV interview in the states, and some yoga teachers from Israel…all also planning to begin panchakarma with dr. arora, and all staying, at my recommendation, at Seema’s guesthouse.
So after a couple of months of emailing, I will finally meet them. Also, a friend, actually owner of Kailwood Guesthouse in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala where I stay when in Mcleodganj over the years, is also in Rishikesh and planning to come visit today. So should be a fun day anyway.
For me, the whole thing was a blessing…because if I had not gotten sick now, I would never have discovered these wonderful herbal remedies and understood the rational of ayurveda towards this type of illness and the treatment of it.(see below) So I am not complaining and once again, grateful for this as well.
Below, some further information about the herbal medicines I received and the treating of colds according to Ayurvedic medicine for those who are interested. Also, the doctor’s understanding as to why I became this ill while doing panchakarma. For those of you who are not, I will say “namaste” and look forward to posting next time with photos of beautiful weather and new scenes from Rishikesh!!
HERBAL MEDICINES FOR TREATMENT OF COLDS, FEVER, FLU, PAIN AND SINUS INFECTIONS AS WELL AS AYURVEDIC APPROACH TO THESE ILLNESSES:
Sangeevani Vati: these are little round brown pills which are used to treat pain, cold, fever and flu – much like cold formula tablets and antihistamines would be used – and like cold formula tablets, it treats the cold, pain and fever all in one pill. It can be taken every 4 hours, with warm water, , but not to exceed the recommended dosage and not to be used for more than 3 days in a row.
Chitrak Haritaki: This is the brown sludge I mentioned (the doc calls it a paste), with the most vile taste you can imagine (you could never get a child to take this –only an adult with lots of will power), This is the anti-mucous medicine – it is meant to coagulate (for lack of a better word) all the mucous in the upper respiratory area (not lungs) into a form which can be easily expectorated or blown out. And believe me, it works like magic! I’ve never seen anything like this and will be taking some home just in case.
The Doctor claims that if you take this for week as preventative medicine, you will not suffer from cold symptoms for up to 2 years. Problem is, very few people are willing to take this voluntarily if they don’t absolutely have to! Well, I have decided to continue it for a full week now, just once a day, not twice, since I am already doing it, and see what the results are over the next couple of years!!
AYURVDIC APPROACH TO COLDS
According to ayurveda, a cold should not last longer than 3 days (as opposed to the western view that a cold will cure itself in a week, or at most 7 days!). This is assuming you are treating it properly. If not, it should not last longer than 5 days. Treating it properly means understanding the characteristics of the different doshas, which I won’t go into here. However, mucous is a sign of Kapha imbalance, kapha being the water or fluid dosha. And since this is the cause of the cold, (and assuming it is properly treated should not reach the point of sinus involvement), the things to avoid are sweets (and I had been eating a lot of dates the first few days because I had nothing else to snack on and basically they are good for you, but a definite NO-NO in this case), no yogurt, no banana, and very little fluids! (quite different than the western view of taking lots of fluids). Your body is already having trouble with too much “water” so why overload it further. As far as sweets – honey and jaggery (organic cane sugar but not like in the west) are OK however, since they are warming and this is important for Kapha. Assuming you follow these simple restrictions, and then take the sajeevani and chitrak (in case the sinuses have gotten involved), you should be fine in 3 days. I can see that if I had begun this treatment from the beginning, it definitely would have taken only 3 days and would never have reached my sinuses in the way it did!
If you have a fever in addition, then you are also having Pitta, the fire dosha, involved, and in THAT case, you SHOULD drink lots of fluids to help “put out” the fire. It is all so simple and makes so much sense once you understand it.
REASON FOR MY ILLNESS
Doctor Arora explained that during the last week of panchakarma, the body is very sensitive to everything, having gone through an extremely intensive cleansing period and needing lots of rest and taking care of yourself. And that a very small thing (holding thumb and index finger very close together), becomes very BIG thing (moving arms apart as far as possible with palms facing each other to indicate VERY BIG). Meaning, if this had happened at any other time, I probably would have had the sniffles for a few days and that’s it. During that last week, if you remember I wrote about doing Reiki for one of the guys here who was sick, and also helping someone with their computer problems, spending hours on this. And right after that, I became sick. You could say I caught the illness from these people (the lady with computer issue got sick 2 days before I did), but the Doctor simply states that it is a lesson for me from the gods to always remember that during panchakarma, I should concentrate all my energies just on myself!! Something which I did not really do this time for many other reasons as well.