I’ve been absolutely floored since last Thursday with a terrible outbreak of coughing, post-nasal drip, and similar reactions. No fever, no other symptoms, just a head full of snot and a throat full of coughing and a great deal of difficulty breathing. The pollen counts have been high, nearly off the charts, and I chalked it up to a bad case of the allergies. Now, I don’t have allergies, usually. So this was new to me; but someone had laid out a theory that, given that spring started so late, there was more pollen in the air these days than usual, and people who didn’t normally have allergies were having them. Seemed plausible enough; I accepted it and tried to work around the symptomatic experiences.
Last night, after a particularly painful evening of … you know, not being able to breathe! … I had a moment of clarity. Thursday I’d eaten a lot of dairy, hadn’t I? Yogurt for breakfast, and cheese for lunch, and cheese at dinner. What about Friday? Didn’t I have a cheese sandwich at lunch? Friday night was better. No dairy. What about Saturday morning? A cheese omelet. Saturday lunch, on that long drive southwest-ward? Was I done in by Saturday dinner? No, but we had frozen custard afterward, and that nearly wrecked me until I gave in and took medicine. Sunday, cheese in the omelet. A cheeseburger on the road, followed by a rough and fitful coughing following me all the way across New York state into Connecticut. Easy time from dinner onward. Cheese in my lunch on Monday, and a bad coughing afternoon.
Correlation is not causality. But I think I’ve been having an allergic reaction to milk and milk by-products over the last few days, and it may be the result of my delicious but experimental attempt at making cheese. If the cheese was not heated to a full 135°F, then it’s possible that the rennet bacteria or enzymes were not completely shut down in the melt-stretch-and-mold stage of the cheese-making process; and some of that would have wound up in my guts; and that would react poorly when I started eating more dairy over the last few weeks.
It’s a theory.
I didn’t have my usual breakfast of yogurt and cut-up fruit while writing this entry. No dairy today, and maybe for the next few days. Let’s see how this shakes out.
As for the practice itself, I have to say that not really being able to breathe properly has really cut down on the effectiveness of my practice. But having to gasp for breath through a tight throat also had some interesting effects. Both sweat and chi-sensations were in high visibility during the practice today, as my body adjusted to the challenges of trying to move slowly on no air. It may not be possible to do at all, but the challenges thus imposed were instructive.
All that said, this morning’s practice was better and easier than any of the last three days. I may be breaking this thing, finally.