Feb 20 (Day 18):
WORDS OF WISDOM:
“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’.” — Eckhart Tolle
I am so grateful that patients are allowed to have conversations in the reception salon of the resort. I have met the coolest people in the last few days. I met yet another one just last night. Her name is Indu, and she is so lovely and easy to talk to. When she found out that Leon and I were going to visit Dubai next month for a long weekend, the first thing she said was that we had to call her so she could show us around. (Turns out, she actually lives there!) Later in the evening she sent me an email that she’d worked on, filled with cool places in Dubai to go out to eat or go shopping. What a fun woman — can’t wait to get to know her better.
10 am – It has taken me 18 days to get semi-comfortable with being naked in front of the women on staff. But this morning, I hardly even noticed! I also had another treatment of “Nasyam” again. That’s when the doctor comes into the room after your first morning treatment, and puts the medicated ghee drops up your nose. We did four drops in each nostril today, instead of the two we did yesterday. Afterwards, I had to inhale medicated smoke to dry out the oil so that it wouldn’t leak out of my nose when I started moving around. (The medicated smoke you inhale smells and burns a bit — kind of like you got too close to a barbecue and got a snootful of charcoal).
What’s fascinating about this treatment is that you have four women all standing around you, each with a different job, helping you get through this process as lovingly and easily as possible. The first woman is of course, the doctor, who administers the drops and supervises everything. Then, Greeshma is the number two. She holds a piece of muslin around me so that I don’t get cold. She also watches my facial expression to see if I am uncomfortable in any way. The third person holds a glass of hot water so that each time I gargle, I can take sips of it. (I must gargle over and over again for about 20 minutes or so until the burning in my sinuses and throat is tolerable.) The fourth person, who I can only assume is the newest apprentice, holds the brass spit bucket (which looks like a beautiful, brass vase). She also hands me tissues to wipe my mouth with each time I spit. It is humbling to sit there with so many people watching your facial expressions, your posture, and your movements, trying to anticipate every little need. Seriously…only in India.
4pm – This afternoon’s treatment was difficult. Let’s just say, it brought the lack of privacy here into sharp focus. It is called “Mathravasthi” and it is an enema of medicated ghee. (Just as I become comfortable with the nudity, they “up” the embarrassment factor ten-fold.)
I won’t lie…The weight is a thing. I’m eating so little and doing all these treatments and still I’m virtually the same weight I was when I got here. It’s frustrating for me because people that I know personally, have lost 20-25 pounds during their three-week stays here and I’m still almost exactly the same weight I was when I arrived. To be honest, I was really hoping to get back down to my fighting weight (which I haven’t seen in about 20 pounds), but so far, I’ve lost almost nothing. By contrast, in just 8 days, Jan has already lost about 12 pounds. (Grrr…)
Dr. Sankar attributes this to several factors. 1) My ulcers are my main issue and all the medications he would normally give to reduce weight would inflame them even further, so I am out of luck on that front. 2) I am in the normal range of weight for my height (although just barely) which makes it more difficult to lose weight. 3) Evidently, from 50-55 years of age, it is very difficult for a woman to lose weight due to those falling hormone levels that I wrote about yesterday. (The body wants to hold onto the fat because it is worried that you may need it later for energy.) Fortunately, at about 55 years old, my weight should be a bit easier to manage because by then my body will have adjusted to the new hormone levels and not be reacting to them as much.
I have surrendered all hope of losing weight while I’m here. It was the only way to stay sane. Besides, that wasn’t why I came originally. I came because I was sick…really sick…hospital sick. I needed to find a way to survive in India until Leon and I could leave here together — as a family. Dr. Sankar knows this, and he very candidly said, “We will build up your digestive system; we will strengthen your constitution. We will alleviate the pain from the ulcers, and make you feel much better overall. We will do all these things to get you through the rest of your time here in India. But I will be honest, you are under too much stress in this country, and your body attacking itself as a result. Once you get back to Europe, you will remember how to breathe again…how to relax. When that happens, your health will improve.” Just hearing that I wasn’t under any pressure to relax, helped me to relax…I think Dr. Sankar is a very smart man.