20 June 2006

A Muddy Bill of Health Part 2

(This was supposed to be posted on the 17th, but due to heartbreaking events it has been delayed)

I still remember that it started over a holiday weekend. It was a little itch in the beginning, but by Saturday it was a full-blown sorethroat. I thought it was just a normal sorethroat so I didn't feel like pestering Dad to take me to the clinic. Unfortunately, by Monday it was bad enough that I was unable to lift my feverish head off the bed. As it was a long weeked, clinics only opened the next day. After a week long antibiotic therapy I got better. But that horrible case of tonsilitis would leave many painful memories for years to come.

The tonsils are located at the back of your mouth and it is tasked with catching bacteria and viruses before it goes into your body. It is the body's first defense, and as such, it comes under quite a lot of abuse. It can sometimes get sick too, which was what happened to me. However, I didn't get treatment early enough and my tonsils were left permanently weak.

As a result, I was down with tonsilitis pretty chronically. The worst period was around 2002, where I would have to see the doctor twice a month. Basically I couldn't survive without antibiotics. The family doctor suggested to have my tonsils removed so I wouldn't get tonsilits again. It is a pretty common procedure, but Dad (and others) were against the idea. But when you can only eat soft food for month and your throat is constantly burning, tonsillectomy doesn't sound so bad at all.

At one time around 2004, I practically demanded to have my tonsils removed. I was afraid of building a resistance to antibiotics, because I was already taking pretty high-end stuff (Augmentin, for those of you in the know). Not to mention the guilt of spending RM20 for every infection. Dad relented and took me to an ENT specialist. He did lots of fancy stuff and charged us lots of fancy money, but at the end he advised me not to go for it because it's not really that serious. I felt like pulling out his tonsils there and then, because I have been denied once more. And I have no argument to go against a specialist, so that was the end of it.

Of course, being Asian, alternative treatments came into play. During the worst period I would be taking Echinacea tablets daily. Echinacea is a type of flower, and is reputed to help cure flu and colds. It had little effect on my tonsils, but any small effect is better than none. About 2.5 years back I changed to spirulina because it has more nutrients, and I've been taking it ever since.

I also implemented many lifestyle changes to curb my problem, chief among them the Three 3 C's rule. I avoided high risk items such as Coffee, Curry/Chiili, and Chocolate. I was never much of a curry and chilli fan back then but coffee was quite hard to give up. I was used to ordering iced coffee at coffeeshops, but I had to switch to barley. That habit has stuck with me, and my instinct when I sit down for a meal is to automatically order barley, even if I initially wanted something else.

As I got my condition under more control, I allowed myself to have any of the Three C's a maximum of 3 times a week. I would mark my diary to ensure I kept within my quota. By that time I had completely forgotten the wonderful taste of coffee, so it was more of a matter of avoiding curry and chilli, which I have gotten to like over the years.

I also began exercising more from last year, and it might have built up my resistance. But if you are a fan of mystical stuff, you'll love what comes next. About last April, Dad and I went on a China tour. Around the end of the trip, we went to this Feng Shui shop. The shop was commissioned by the government so the prices are pretty fair. The salesgirl marketed pixius to us. You know those pair of heavenly lions/dragons guarding some buildings? A pixiu is a similar mystical animal, and they were selling it in a small form to be worn as a necklace.

There were different colours to bring luck to different areas. I asked the salesgirl what colour is good for health. She recommended the green one. I doubt it is jade because it was only RM90. Nevertheless I have been wearing it almost everyday, and since that time I have not gotten a serious sorethroat case at all. There were times when I felt like I should go see the doctor, but it would go away by itself. So I'm proud that I have not taken antibiotics for my tonsils for over a year. Compared to the time when I would take it every fortnight, that's quite an achievement.

Next: BrokeBack Pain


William said...

Glad to hear that you have weaned yourself off antibiotics, whether it's due to the exercise, or magic jade, or lucky colour, or controlled food intake.

William said...

Your pixiu rings a bell now. It normally comes in pairs and looks like a dragon. Supposed to be the Hell King's children. Something about not having an anus. Brings luck and wealth, etc...

ZemieN said...

Yup it's the one with no anus! Poor fella, but the point is for him to bring in the luck and not let any go out of the other orifice.