On progression and traditional chinese medicine.

I guess after being sick for so long, the fact that I can finally eat everything I want again proves that limitations do engender progress. The doctor has been encouraging me to eat proper seafood but frankly I am scared that I will die. For now I am content with nutty sauces and crackers and white bread, things which would have caused instant hives two years ago.

Previously, I was limited by my health, so I had to find other things to amuse myself. Like studies, reading, I became a more intense person about the things I committed myself to. I learned responsibility because I didn’t want to face the issue of food and ill health. I had to find ways to improve and enjoy my own company because I was stuck in that hole of not being able to participate in many things, and find ways to regulate my moods after sleepless nights of itchy rashes, while maintaining a stoic front for others.

I am glad that I didn’t take the easier way out, which is to take allergy pills every day so that I can function. Instead I stuck to TCM and electrified needles and bloodied chicken essence bottles from the cupping process, which by the way, are heated up so that it creates a vacuum to suck up the blood. And almost 1.5 years later I am 80% recovered. Or thereabouts. My scars have lightened.

Being sick taught me, and is continuing to teach me, many things. Which is that I will feel a kinship for those uncles and aunties in the clinic every two weeks, people whom I might not have gotten to know if I was not sick. There was an aunty who kept asking me which green tea had less sugar (there’s a supermarket near the clinic) and she told me that it was for her daughter who is very particular about the type of green tea. So we deliberated over it for a while and I didn’t see the brand that she wanted, so she went away. I wonder what her daughter said when her mom came back without green tea. Whenever my dad buys the wrong sort of chocolate, even if I whatsapp him the correct sort, he just says that he didn’t know, and I get quite annoyed at him. The truth is that my dad is just not very good at buying groceries (he is a strong contender for early-onset dementia) and that I should really spend some time each week shopping instead of asking him to get stuff for me.

Being sick also taught me empathy. I notice people with skin issues now, and I don’t judge them- in JC I was probably a lot less empathetic. It teaches patience, that good things can be achieved after a long time. And it teaches persistence, that feeling of isolation, and learning to be alone. I say learning because if not for my ill health, I wouldn’t have learned many things. I am someone who only changes when I am desperate. I might have seen being alone as being flawed, and that blending into the crowd is the only way to live a social life.

Now that I am about to graduate and finally, finally free of boiled medicines (I have progressed to bottled medicine with a serving of pills on the side), I think the past two years have been an interesting experience. All the stupid things that I did and the things my mom said to me, I will remember them. It is a reminder of my stupidity and rash youth, and I will use my experiences to treat other people in a kinder fashion.