Thursday, December 23, 2004

Anatomy of a cold


(C) Lrong Lim

Whenever I see this picture, I want to return to Mabul Island.

That tiny island in the Celebes Sea is a jewel, a paradise, at least for divers.

My missus and I stayed at the Sipadan Water Resort at Mabul Island last September.

We had the time of our lives, diving the pelagic waters of Sipadan as well as the macro world of Mabul and Kapalai islands.

This picture was taken on the night of the full moon of the eighth Chinese Lunar month.

Quite amazingly, we did not make any conscious plans to spend that particular night there at the resort.

It just happened. And what a beautiful night it turned out to be...

Tried extremely hard to fall asleep last night. I started to meditate at about 11.15 pm.

I usually end up dozing off in about 5 or 10 minutes, leaving the transistor radio with no listener for the rest of the sleep-mode hour.

Not this time.

The throat was itching constantly and each time I thought I could sleep it off, I would spring up like jack-in-the-box to deliver a couple of powerful coughs.

The body ricochets. Now, I am wide-awake.

I repeated the process. Spasms of coughing, body ricocheting.

It must have been an ungodly 3.00 am when I finally get to knocked off in my futon.

This cold of mine is getting on my nerves. It is screwing up my activities.

I just had to cancel again, a session of orange picking with some students.

I did not get to attend five yearend parties because of the unrelenting cough.

I did not get to go to Osaka to attend a conference.

Nor to Matsuyama to deepen our relationships with the Korean students.

On 13th December, Monday, I was just finishing off a 90 minute Japanese class that I am teaching to three foreign students.

At that moment, bang!

I knew I had it when my throat felt a sudden sharp pain.

The next day, my body laid horizontally on the office sofa from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, struck motionless.

My missus was prodding me to see the doctor the next day, but I procrastinated.

That night, my body oscillated from cold to hot to cold to hot and back again.

I sweated endlessly. The coughing intensified. The pain in the throat, worsened.

On Thursday, 16th December, I finally went to see the doctor.

I felt better on Friday, Saturday, and even on Sunday.

The cough has almost stopped. Or so I thought.

But I was to return to the jack-in-the-box, spasm-and-ricochet routine again two nights ago.

I saw the doctor for a second time. He said, you catch cold frequently, don't you?

Is this what they call, rubbing salt into the wound?

I put my thoughts to Mabul.

And to the majestic bumphead wrasses. My favorite fish, not for eating, mind you, but for company underwater.

The bumphead is also aptly called the buffalo fish, the 'karibaus' of the oceans...

...so named for their distinctive yet graceful, grazing habits for food at the coral heads...

I long to be there... underwater... gazing at the graceful, gentle, grazing karibaus....

They don't catch cold, do they?