Friday, October 03, 2008

Under the Weather

A couple days ago, M and I sat through an 8 hour performance by the couple that runs the studio she's interning at. They and a friend of theirs spent 8 hours exploring their memories through their individual expressions: dance, writing, and film. About halfway through, I started to feel kind of gross. By the end of the performance, I was crashing. It was mostly stomach pains and these weird flu-like chills. By the time I got home, I was a mess. I bundled up with a couple sweatshirts and blankets, and passed out.

When I awoke the next day, I had a number of choices. Should I feed it, starve it, sweat it, run it, drink it, sleep it out? All the superstitions and old wives' tales swirled in my brain. Since I knew M would be angry if I didn't, I decided to eat. I went to boil some water, but the stove wasn't working. So, I reached for my phone to order some food, but my phone wasn't working either. I briefly considered switching to the starve it method, but quickly decided against it. Thankfully, our Skype out account (speaking of Skype, check out this little gem) had a few cents left, so I ordered food by yelling at my computer. I love technology.

I ordered myself a big bowl of spare rib soup. M and I used to make that for ourselves in Berkeley and Michigan when we felt sick. Later, Marilyn asked me how I knew the delivery place had spare rib soup. Actually, I didn't. These days, when I have to order food without Marilyn, I just call out a random dish. Usually, they have it, sometimes they don't. Sometimes I get awesome looks, such as when I ask a Sichuan restaurant if they have Cantonese bbq pork buns, or some random boba shack if they have soy milk/you tiao.

My spare rib soup was quite delicious. As I drank it, I could feel it spreading through my body killing the little virus/bacteria. Maybe. One of the things I used to like when I was young and got sick was that I didn't have to take my daily bath or shower. My mom said that cold period when drying off supposedly wasn't good. I've changed quite a bit since those early days; here in China, I shower twice a day, voluntarily at that! But I decided to kick it old school and forgo the shower.

I spent the rest of the day napping and resting. Then later was feeling well enough to meet M for the evening's film screening. On my way out the door, I decided to put on my snowcoat. I have this theory that if my body has to fight to keep itself warm, it will lose the war against the sickness. But if I overheat myself like crazy, my body can focus on winning the war. I got no few amount of strange looks as I strolled around Beijing in a down jacket in what was barely sweater weather.

Somehow, this strange superstitious cocktail, plus a bit o' prayer, seems to have worked! I feel much better today.

On our way home last night, we were talking to one of the dancers from the festival about the different theories on how to handle sickness. She says her boyfriend doesn't eat or drink anything for 2 days, then on the third day starts to drink a little. Some of my friends swear by going to the sauna and sweating it out.

So let's hear it, what are your superstitions? What's your technique for getting over a cold or random sickness?

P.S.: I know for a fact that some of our readers are in medical school...feel free to debunk our junk science cures.


Lora said...

My advice: never sit through an 8 hour performance of ANYTHING! That's what made you sick. Duh.

Amy said...

flood it out. and as a preventative measure: get those vitamins and lay low on the sugar -- it depresses your immune system. =)

(josh, you never cease to amuse me.)

Florence said...

hilarious description of your encounter Josh.

One myth that I grew up believing that I'd like to debunk: Up until a few weeks ago, I was taught and I believed that when you have a sore throat.. you have to drink hot liquids (soups, warm tea, etc). It'll help the throat to heal right??.. WRONG. I learned that when you have a sore throat.. you hafta drink only COLD liquids.. to help kill the bacteria. Warm temps allow the bacteria to thrive and grow! Got this during at emergency dept elective i did. Interesting huh? :o)

J.Dou said...

woah, thanks for the tip, Florence! hmmm...that'll take some adjusting to.

J.Dou said...

Oh, and thanks for the advice Lora, :p. You're probably right too.

Amy, remind me to tell you my theory of sugar as medicine sometime. It's quite amazing, really.

tamela said...

i'm stumped when it comes to fixing colds. i usually gargle with warm salt water if i start to feel symptoms of a sore throat and then just wait for my cold to go away. i heard that tom yum soup helps to clean out any bugs in your system, and i'm sure up for some tasty remedy like that, but don't know how that works with the cold liquid theory... hmm

Vicky said...

well, from what i've learned so far in med school...the symptoms of a cold/flu are from your immune system, not the actual bugs. so you should be glad that your body is going crazy. =) other than that...i don't know if there's much you can do besides vitamins (like Amy said) and sleep/rest/let your immune system do its job.

Di said...

i didn't know about the cold liquid theory either. i've been drowning myself in hot tea and water this past week. but maybe also because it's freakin' cold here =P

cc said...

don't know about cures, but D and i were just discussing the other day how yummy cold medicines were when we were little, esp the purple kind. we've started buying propel waters from costco and they have this grape flavor that tastes like medicine....but we LIKE it. i miss you guys