Tai Chi Y2D311: managing illness

On Saturday night, when I was at the worst point in the cycle of this cold, I actually went to the pharmacy in search of cold medicine. My choices amounted to various over the counter syrups and tablets, Airborne effervescent tablets, or what I really wanted — Advil cold and sinus. Thanks to the Crystal Meth outbreak in this country, though, it turns out that Advil c&s is not available after the pharmacy closes. You can get a little card so you can ask the pharmacist for what you want, but the pharmacist is not on duty after 6pm. I went with Airborne, which I generally find works pretty well for me.

My girlfriend also made chicken soup. Not chicken soup from a can, but chicken soup with rice and dumplings, lots of garlic and onion and cayenne powder. Warming foods designed and desired to make a body an inhospitable place for infectious bacteria. Delicious, warming, comforting, filling.

This morning, when I went to do tai chi, though, I had to be conscious of the internal state of my guts. It was do five golden coins, and visit the bathroom. Then it was, do Eight Pieces of Silk, then visit the bathroom. Do the tai chi form, and visit the bathroom. Do the Druidic work, and visit the bathroom. Finish the tai chi and head back to bed, turn and go to the bathroom. Grab the computer to write today’s entry, and go to the bathroom.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m blaming my girlfriend’s cooking. This morning was the first day in four days I didn’t wake up feeling terrible; whatever this cold was and whenever it came from, it didn’t really go away until after last night’s soup, and that soup emphasized to me how important it is to eat foods that match your medicinal needs — that soup flushed whatever remaining sickness there was right out of my system. With Avicenna, I can say, “food should be your medicine and medicine should be food.”

Today’s tai chi was unusually broken up, though, as a result of the frequent bathroom breaks. If there is time, I may try for a more continuous performance later today. For the most part, thought I’m grateful that the worst of this sickness has passed. We now return you to our regularly scheduled tai chi.

Oh, one more thing.

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the US, and last night I read this pretty amazing diary entry on DailyKos, about Dr. King’s legacy. I’ve written a poem about him before, but this essay about King is one of the most moving and powerful representations of what he actually did. You owe it to yourself to read it, and think deeply about what it means:

So anyway, I was having this argument with my father about Martin Luther King and how his message was too conservative compared to Malcolm X’s message. My father got really angry at me. It wasn’t that he disliked Malcolm X, but his point was that Malcolm X hadn’t accomplished anything as Dr. King had.

I was kind of sarcastic and asked something like, so what did Martin Luther King accomplish other than giving his “I have a dream speech.”

Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress. Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished. He gave this great speech. Or some people say, “he marched.” I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn’t that he “marched” or gave a great speech.

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.

Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this. If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don’t know what my father was talking about.

And the author is right. First, that Malcolm X never accomplished what Dr. King did; second, that there was terror living in the south; third, that Dr. King found the way to end that terror. And it is a gift for which we in this country should give thanks and pray and be humbled.

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