Mugged, drugged, bound and gagged..

OK, so it’s not quite what you might think.  But the net result has been the same:

Pain, shock, anger, despair.. and, finally, acceptance.  Of a sort.

Not a chirpy upbeat start to the 2012 blogging calendar admittedly, but I feel the need to explain my lapse and to cathartically rid myself of year-end woes before I can move on to far more interesting and happier adventures with some fruity characters in former drug-torn territories, and other such profound reflections.

It all started after I jumped over some police cones in a pair of white pyjamas back in October.  A ‘warm up’ exercise in karate.  I say warm up, but when you’re wearing thick cotton pyjamas in 28 degrees of heat, frankly there really isn’t much more warming up one can do..

Killer Kones

Stupid bloody police cones.  It is because of them that I have spent the better part of the last 3 months crying and lying horizontal with searing lower back pain, slowly going mad. Mugged by my own body, drugged with the best that Costa Rican pharmacopeia can offer. But this was just the first ‘smash and grab’. Then came what I now refer to almost affectionately as the ‘tropical gangrene’ phase of the mugging – large volcanic welts that erupted and spread evil offspring over my body. A rare disease, ably assisted by a passing opportunistic parasite that likes to kick an immune system when it’s down, sending me into a further frenzy of hive-like itching and wailing…

Says it all...

This melt-down coincided just perfectly with my having to organize and deliver a monster project involving 12 countries, 60 top executives, 2 reports and a 3 day global summit on sustainable agriculture for the worlds largest food retailer. No finer, or crueller, example of sod’s law could possibly have been found.

I became a junky. My bag of drugs went wherever I did. I couldn’t count on my  behaviour if it went astray.. shakes, anxiety, irritation.. ‘ don’t you dare get between me and my opiates!‘ Remembering which to take when became an obsession. Each had their delightful side effects too – bleeding stomach, nausea, constipation, hallucinations…but all of these were mere distractions from the main event.

A small selection of treats

3 physios, 2 chiropractors, 2 GPs, 1 immunologist, 2 neurologists, 1 dermatologist, 2 X rays, 1 MRI scan, 32 injections, 3 stitches and 965 varieties of drugs, magnetic/laser/ultrasound/homeopathic therapies later…  I am well(er), wiser, richer in mind and poorer in pocket…

As ever, key reflections and adjustments to life have emerged from this dark painful place:

1. The Law of Entropy may well be an incontrovertible fact of life: we are all in a constant state of decay. But there is an important exception to this: the human spirit. It can fight on and become stronger through adversity.

2. Daily genuflecting in front of the basin to clean ones teeth for 3 months has been (still is!) a good workout for the thighs and would impress Catholic friends

3.  Costa Rica’s dirty little secret: this is not just a beach and jungle paradise.. it’s a prescription-free pills paradise.  For the heavier stuff, a mere email printed out from your ‘doctor’ (doctored as you wish), will, as I discovered, suffice.   Is it any wonder, then, with that sort of access to happy pills, that the country is still top of the charts as the most contented place in the world?

4. Lying on the floor looking at the ceiling is definitely more interesting in a tropical country. There is always plenty of action going on: spider versus gecko, gecko versus large flying bug, large flying bug versus smaller crawling bug…etc. Beats staring at a small house spider and a crack in the ceiling of a Victorian house in London.

5. As with life, so with pain and suffering. Throw everything at it – all the psychological, chemical, emotional, spiritual stuff you have in your toolbox. Get friends to indulge you by dropping food into your mouth as you lie horizontal on restaurant benches. Only choose restaurants with benches.

And at the end of the day, with the help of your friends (you know who you are), you will emerge from the dark place, cautiously, blinking into the sunlight again..

And if you don’t, this short video from a sanctuary down the road will at least remind you that if you’ve ever had difficulty in moving around, just thank your lucky stars you were not born a sloth!


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nick on January 9, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Oh my God – I had no idea. What a nightmare for you. I’m glad you seem recovered, though. 🙂 N xx


  2. Posted by annafaherty on January 9, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Awful. But the sloths are cute. And you’re right about the ceiling life…

    So are you ‘better’??


  3. ‘Better’ but not yet there..drugs and therapy still dominate my week, but its all heading the right direction… Happy New year by the way!! L x


  4. Posted by Lillian on January 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Happy new year Liza. I don’t know whether to laugh at your wonderful narration or to cry with you in what you’re going through… doesn’t sound good. Those blasted police cones!!!! Hope you’re well and getting better…

    Best wishes,
    Lillian 🙂


  5. Posted by Enrique on January 11, 2012 at 4:23 am

    So which one is the sloth and which one is the Liza?


    Hope your back is recovered. I’m sure plenty of mojitos helped you on your recovery too…or is that just part of your daily “exercise” regime?

    Feliz año nuevo mi querida amiga! Hope you had fun over the festive break in paradise!



  6. Posted by Jessica on January 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Dear Liza, are you feeling better? I really hope so!


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