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Oct 31, 2021 - General

Healing from Respiratory Problems (Apparently Covid-19 Induced)

Introduction

At its core, this post is about two things:

  1. My road to recovery from getting, apparently, Covid-19.
  2. My spiritual attitude towards it all.

For both cases, I hope to share tips and ideas and observations.

Much as I tried, I could not write about point (1) without talking about point (2). They are inseparable to me.

I write this:

  1. To remind myself of the love provided to me by my parents, my teachers, my family, direct and extended.
  2. So that it might prove useful to some. Perhaps even kindle a stronger spirit in this pandemic.

I hesitated writing this for some weeks now, but it feels like I must, albeit with a few very strong disclaimers, not because I don’t believe in what I have to say, but because I have a life with more important things to do.

I also have to fully accept that some of those who I know well, on seeing this side of me, may distance themselves from me (“Geez, who knew he was such a spiritual nut!“, “Oh.. I suspected it, but whoa…”). This would be the saddest impact of this post, however, during these times, we need clarity on who we really are at our core, that is our source of strength. We must connect strongly with our values, and the Source of those values.

Some might want to argue with me about my beliefs, their veracity, and validity. I have neither the taste, nor the intellect for such arguments. Accept or reject my ideas, it does not matter to me.

Disclaimers

  1. I am not a doctor, or a medical practitioner of any sort. Take all this at your own peril, and read this section well.
  2. I am not providing medical advice, merely sharing experiences.
  3. If any mention of God, of spirituality makes you sick, I’d rather you not get sick further, so stop reading now. It is better we just go grab coffee, far more productive (you are paying, though)!
  4. Three disclaimer points feel too short. Here’s a fourth filler point, taking up space with no substance, the very definition of a filler. Thanks for reading.

Deep Acknowledgements

Primarily, my Dad took the most care of me during this time, acting much more diligently than even professional nurses might. I owe my speedy recovery to him, to his love and care.

My Mom, while also being sick, thankfully with less severity, took care of me plenty.

The Founder of the Bandung Karate Club (BKC), Ytc Kang Iwa Rahadian Arsanata, acted as my Spiritual Cornerstone, reminding me of who I am, to understand the nature of dis-ease, of having one’s comprehension and resolve tested by God.

I deliberately kept quiet about my sickness among most of my teachers and friends, but when they eventually heard of it, all energised me with their words, while providing useful suggestions. Ytk Kang Ray, my second main instructor after Ytk Kang Endar took the time to come to visit me and share his findings about this disease, and inducing sneezing.

The Role Of Intermediaries

A central spiritual teaching is God, while Almighty, nevertheless works through intermediaries or mediums, including humans, for example, our parents and our teachers and our friends. But, only if there is a certain willingness and tendency of the human being worked through. That is to say, while God Wills, this in no way whatsoever diminishes the medium’s role — rather it enhances it.

This seems like such a slippery teaching that many do not get. I obtained this through BKC’s Founder Kang Iwa.

Why use mediums? Well, why bother with the creations at all if they are not to be made use of!

As to why bother creating at all? That’s a question to ask God directly. But one might ask oneself the same thing. Why write? Why paint and draw? Why read literature and poetry? Why work? Why create anything at all?

Getting Sick

Some time around late June to July 2021, I got sick:

  1. It started with a bad cold. My mistake was not sleeping enough when the cold happened, and that further pushed down my immunity.
  2. It evolved into breathing difficulties, and general fatigue (I wasn’t able to stand for very long before needing a break to rest). Interestingly, there were no further colds or sneezing during this stage.
  3. Eventually got a positive PCR test for Covid-19 at a private hospital. This was before any vaccination.

Overall, I felt pretty bad for a couple of weeks, but thankfully began to recover in the third week. Felt better than before (I kid you not) in week 6 or 7.

One teaching I adhere to is that at times, falling ill is simply God’s Will, it forces us to slow down, to evaluate behaviour, to rest up.

However, regardless of God’s Will, it is prudent to always also evaluate one’s behaviour. Far more difficulties in life are linked to human behaviour than anything God Wills.

The Effect of Psychology On Immunity

When I got my test results, I was already having trouble breathing, things were in full effect really, and at the hospital, my Dad asked the doctor if I could be given oxygen. Doctor says, based on my oxymeter reading of 90%, they had to prioritise the oxygen for other patients, that I was not sick enough to receive oxygen. Awesome. I think.

However, I have a pretty strong rebellious nature when it comes to most medical practitioners (I can count good doctors I have met with fingers in one hand), and generally anyone who tries to push my spirits down, so this statement rather ignited a stronger fire to get well soon.

I attribute this fire to my Karate training at the BKC. While I am certain there are innate factors that make me this way, these have been kindled and trained at the BKC.

Our mental state is important, because let’s consider basic Human Psychology and Immune Systems 101:

Any decent medical practitioner knows that patients need to be kept in good spirits, as that helps with the immune system. They are aware that medicines work with the body to heal.

With Covid, it has been the complete opposite. It’s as if the entire system has been set-up to fearmonger. The impact of such deliberate fearmongering on the psyche is hard to measure, but extremely real.

It’s utterly crazy that all mention of a good rest, a healthy diet, exercise, anything to naturally boost the immune system has been deemphasised to being practically non-existent in discussions.

First we had masks, then the vaccines came, and masks became a non-alternative. Nothing is clear or consistent in the communications about this disease.

Medication Approach: Diagnosis, Medicines, Diet

After getting my positive test (how twisted the word ‘positive’ is here), the doctor in charge simply gave us a Covid Pack of standard medication. There was no personalised treatment. It included around 5 or 6 tablets. Most were vitamins, but two in particular bugged me:

  1. An anti-viral drug. Interesting, so if this drug existed, why not make people aware of it? And if it does not work all that well, then why bother with the risk of side effects?
  2. Antibiotics. With no personalised treatment, there were no guidelines on how long the antibiotics should be taken for, should they be replenished, etc. No thanks, stupid as I am, I have still heard of the superbugs! (And if you don’t believe that theory, then you can also disbelieve the evolutionary ability of creatures to adapt.)

So, I really could not get myself to take either, for better or for worse.

I believe rather strongly, having experienced this many times in prior circumstances, that you are your own best diagnostic tool, that you can learn to read your body and mind better than any doctor in a vast majority of cases. Some things may be beyond you, or they may just require you to get help, because getting help will widen your perspective, your friends, etc. Even if you do rely on doctors, it’s still important to understand exactly what is on offer.

But this Covid situation is messy, so this self-awareness skill is what I went back to. I looked into my state symptom by symptom:

  1. Coughs: Figure out cough medicine. Dry or phlegmy? Okay, somewhat dry, need to get the phlegm out, a proxy to get junk out of your body. Asked Dad to describe these symptoms at the pharmacy, they suggested a medicine branded Lasal, with Salbutamol, which from reading also helps with asthma, ya know, a very common disease associated with breathing difficulty. Next, the medical pack also had antibiotics — went with honey. It may not be the strongest antibiotic agent, but it’s the safest I can think of and has a bunch of other health benefits.
  2. Constipation: Yoghurt, plenty of it. But I didn’t have enough I think, should have been more aggressive with this.
  3. Immunity Boosting: Vitamin C, Lemon Juice (with honey, yum!). Fruits and vegetables in general.

I had a total loss of appetite, my Dad forced me on a diet of:

  • Lightly boiled eggs.
  • Apples, oranges, and pears.

Repeated a few times a day, often annoying me by waking me up in the middle of the night to eat too. It was not fun during those 2-3 intensive days.

I did not think of, say, oats with honey at the time, but it would have been a great addition that is easy to digest, healthy, and helpful with bowels, too.

We also got dextrose powder (a product called Gluco-VD, that has been around for ages, sourced from grapes), to mix with water, as a convenient way of boosting my strength while taking in liquids, a way to fight the fatigue.

Finally, I also had more regular food as my appetite returned.

My recovery accelerated once I managed to get better bowel movement. This, interestingly, happened after having some spicy seafood tom yum, the famous Thai dish rich in proteins, herbs, and spices, many of which have medicinal benefits.

Tom yum’s ingredients are also very much invigorating, forcing you to break sweat. This was another interesting thing I noticed, I did not sweat much at all, despite the hot Jakarta weather, so the sweat glands may also be affected by this disease. Bowel movement, sweating, these are all exit points for impurities in the body.

When I started to recover, I was itching all over, it turns out, I began to sweat slowly, and the skin pores had been blocked for some time, causing the itching sensation.

I also began to sneeze, yet another way to expel impurities from the lungs.

It’s as if the disease blocked viral exit points from the body.

Another thing that a friend suggested was black cumin seed oil. These come in capsule form, for general immunity and helping with the cough. They are better known by their Arabic name Habbatus Sauda. For me, there was benefit, but nothing dramatic, on the other hand, with a friend’s wife, her cough went away quite quickly. So it would depend on the cough type, likely.

Steam Therapy

A most useful therapy to help with clearing the respiratory system, suggested by Ytc Kang Iwa is as follows:

  • Boil some water and pour it into a bucket.
  • Put some Cajeput Oil (or a similar oil that is safe to inhale) drops in the steaming water.
  • Breathe in the steam through both your nose and mouth, covering your face and head enough over the bucket so the steam is focused to your face.
  • Keep doing this until your face is sweating. Wipe your face when done.
  • Add some cool water to the bucket so the temperature of the water is not too hot, then immerse your hands in this tolerably hot water for a few minutes.
  • Next, immerse your feet for a few minutes.

It’s certainly quite difficult to breathe in while you are having asthma-like symptoms. And I was having to go to the washbasin to cough out phlegm every few seconds, as the steam induced expulsion.

But this becomes a gauge, to see how far you have recovered, how clear your lungs are. When healthy, you hardly cough at all when inhaling this minty steam.

I did this therapy every 2 to 3 days, but doing it more frequently, say twice a day, would have been more beneficial.

Divine Guidance

Where did all this self-awareness come from? There are a couple of ways of looking at intuition, and both ways are equally true:

  1. That intuition is a unconscious or subconscious culmination of all experience and knowledge coming together in complete harmony.
  2. That it is of Divine origin.

For those with a spiritual bent, ALL is of Divine origin, so to me, it does not really matter.

Humans, in our arrogance and ignorance, think we are on our own, that God does not speak to us, and therefore God does not exist.

Perhaps, we are not yet evolved enough to be able to hear God speak, but let’s consider this:

If you heard a voice talk to you, would you not be afraid? Would you not question your sanity? And then there are mental diseases where people hear voices. So perhaps this is not the best medium of communication that God has for the vast majority of people?

Is it not better that Divine Guidance come through signs, through blessings in daily life: finding the right medicine in the case of the tom yum, having the will to remain strong, of having good friends and family, and eventually, hearing and feeling said Guidance through your heart.

Perhaps, later we can hear things more clearly. But primarily, God is a BEING.

Ending Thoughts

Were I to exclude my spiritual views from this post, then I would be an ingrate. By including them, I have exposed myself to ridicule and perhaps, loss of friends, and the risk that the more directly logical parts of the post are ignored.

Sadly, these are the times we live in, where if you believe in Divinity, then you are essentially unenlightened. Irony majeure.

I would hope most of my thought processes are logical. Common knowledge applicable to most diseases.

Yet, the fear of the virus is so extreme. Our responses have been draconian, locking down entire countries, segregating people into classes: the illuminated vaxxed vs. the stupid, dirty unvaxxed. We have also overloaded the healthcare system such that people with existing, non-Covid diseases have had trouble getting care. In many countries, public hospitals have been incentivised to deny non-Covid care, because the government pays them to handle Covid patients.

The other alternative I had was to simply not share this. But, this is one small measure that I can take during these crazy times, with the intent that it might help someone.

May God bless us all. Sallam as we in the BKC say.