Olympic Torture

Yes, while you lot have been basking in Olympiad Fever, I have been going through my very own very special Olympic exertions…of the worst, vilest, cruelest kind imaginable. And while it pains me to have to share yet another trauma, it needs outing, like a damn spot!

A Heptathlon of Hell. A Marathon of Madness.

Life was tripping along just fine until six weeks ago.  Minor local difficulty in the garden when my neighbour found a 6 foot boa constrictor strangling his daughters cat, but nothing out of the ordinary.

whoa, boa…

And then I fell into a deep place where the sun is silent.

I lost my body to a wild devouring monster from within. Red, raging, burning flames consumed me. Pale, freckly face turned red balloon, slim ankles tree trunks,  body leprous, swollen and enraged by an army of fire ants coursing across my skin day and night. For 6 weeks  I felt only 6 things: pain, itch, fright, frustration, horror and despair.    My spirits dimmed to their lowest wattage in living memory.

And then I knew what madness felt like.  I joined Dante. Maggots, wasps, lost souls, roaring beasts, fire and brimstone…  Nine levels of hell seemed about right.

Devil from the Deep

The road to recovery has been no different to the average road experience in Costa Rica. Full of pot-holes, complete absence of clear sign-posts, and with a warped logic known only to itself.

My first road sign pointed towards homeopathy. Convinced that 8 months of reliance on Big Pharma for slipped disc was to blame, I sought refuge in a diet of bee venom, strychnine and nettle juice. The doctor told me that my liver was ‘enraged,’ my lymph system and kidneys on strike and that nothing else would suffice.  When 2 weeks later I looked more lizard than Liza, I turned to God.

God and the Ozone Tent:   Maria Teresa came to me in the ozone room. Saintly and kind, she was in charge of zipping me into my blue ozone tent and switching on smooth jazz to soothe my soul. One look at my ravaged body and her eyes filled with sympathy. She took my hand in hers and said: ‘daughter of Jesus, you need a miracle, and I am going to ask God to send you one right now’. ‘Do you believe?’ she asked. Yes, yes, yes I said. In God, in ozone, in everything! So it was there that Maria Teresa blessed me as I sat shivering in a blue canvass bag pumped full of trioxygen. As it turned out, God and ozone work in mysterious, and painfully slow ways, so it was time to return to a more earthly plane…

Canvassing with God and Ozone

Plane C: Detox sanctuary and the healing hands of herbalist Jill Ruttenberg in a mountain retreat.  One week of vile Chinese concoctions, pins, holy basil, blue rays, tears, toucans, chanting and bells, and I felt a feeble stirring of the spirit once more.

Deviant Pot hole:  in the belief that time, tears and nature heals all, I hobbled home. But when three days later I still couldn’t see my face or put my shoes on, it was time to give into the….

Big Cuddly Pharma Hug: Blood tests revealed some alarming things (auto-immune disease in which the body decides to attack itself). Time to switch the GPS back on and take the shortest cut back to life and sanity.

Pillage and Purgery: And so here I am, back on 8 pills a day.  3 white ones for the itch, 2 pink ones to re-boot the immune system, 1 orange one to offset the damage of the pink ones, 1 green one to coax the liver back to life, and 1 to put me to sleep. Sleeping with the enemy once more, but it’s an enemy with fringe benefits.

So, in the Olympics of Suffering and Torment, I won my very own Gold medal! And I won it with no training, little preparation, and no performance enhancing drugs  – extraordinary really! I mean, how many athletes can say that?

But after the Sisyphean effort to overcome 10 months of back injury, to have the boulder roll back down and crush me once more was nothing short of cruel. The word ‘sabbatical’ has taken on a very different meaning this year. But I guess things could have been worse. The boa could have strangled me not the cat.

New Olympic sport

And as always, something to reflect on:

1. Accept new limits of self-reliance. Best friends come in packages of love, support and vats of E45 body cream.  Seek them out. Actively.

2. Beware (and avoid if possible) the utterly dispiriting diet of aloe vera fillets and raw veg smoothies. It might be good for you but it is for none but the bravest and/or most desperate. A lovely man I know got through hepatitis with a bag of jelly babies by his side. Secure your jelly babies.

3. Embrace both enemy and tree frog.  The former restores order, the latter, health. Wash every pill down with holy basil tea and a handful of flaxseed and fennel wedges.

With (I hope) the worst of the ravages behind me, I remain somewhat disconcerted that my freckles have taken fright and vanished. Scared away by the whole experience.

Life without freckles takes on a different complexion.

Time to find the sun again and coax them back out.

And to get back to writing blogs about quainter, curiouser and far more interesting things.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Liza!!

    That sounds absolutely horrendous. No freckles!!!

    Kidding. I am really sorry to hear of the huge trauma you have been going through. It really comes to life with the highly descriptive summary above.

    I want to wish you mountains of jelly babies and a speedy recovery.


  2. Posted by Jacob von Brucowicz on August 17, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Jelly babies are the only solution at times like this. Leave some red ones for me. Great that you have recovered and back on wondeful correspondence form! JvB


  3. Liza, I am glad you are slowly recovering from this god-awful experience. The sun and the freckles will come out again. Get well soon


  4. Posted by Theresa Booth on August 22, 2012 at 1:19 am

    I’m so sorry, it sounds appauling. Glad that you were able to find sone one with the right pills to relieve the misery. Probably time to come back to exciting London. No boa constrictors (unless were talking economic restrictions) or sunshine to bring out the freckles, but everything else.
    See you soon. Love Tx


  5. Posted by Lillian on August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Oh no! Liza, it’s time you come back to England, dear. Terrible experience, but glad you’re recovering…:-/


  6. Posted by Al Brunker on September 2, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Were those nasties the ones that started at our place just after the sandpaper skin therapy you had on your lower legs?

    Glad you are navigating the road to recovery. The most beautiful description of Hell I have read for a long time.



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