Day 15 of Panchakarma – the harem + *shock, horror* more (hilarious) surrender

Sticking with the theme of enemas, because, well why not? I am undergoing an Ayurvedic treatment programme after all (but if you don’t have the stomach for it – look away now).

So, those buckets of medicine are being inserted into a part of the body that can absorb liquid and medication – hence the use of suppositories. Apparently, administering medication up the bum, in liquid form via an enema in this case, allows the body to soak up the medicine effectively. When the body has absorbed as much as it can what’s left is expelled. However, the take up on the inside needs some encouragement in the form of practice (the path to improvement always includes practice of some sort, right). And so the body needs some time to understand what’s happening and get involved in the game – my body is still in the early stages of practicing the enema game.

Yesterday morning, when I was given one of the buckets of medicine I hadn’t computed all that. I didn’t understand that my body was not yet in the habit of  absorbing liquid through the lower end of my colon. That said, yesterday I was keen to keep the liquid inside for as long as possible. When the first hint of a downward movement came I figured I could wait a moment. I was wrong.

The second hint came less than a minute later at which point I ran towards the loo – the way a lame goose might run – navigating the treatment room massage bench en route with a hand up against my backside and buttocks clenched.

But by the time I stepped into the loo I was already too late. I’d pooped my pants – literally. In truth mostly what got expelled was just runny medicine. My clothing was soiled.

As I washed up and rinsed out my knickers and trousers I felt embarrassed. I wondered what I could do about a change of clothes. Oh for the shame of it! The arrogance of it!! I thought I knew the signals from my backside. Clearly not. I thought I could make it from porch to perch on the loo with enough time. I was mistaken. Shamefully mistaken. But also, really bloody hilarious.

Having managed to rinse out my pants successfully I figured I could get home on my cycle without any further embarrassment because fortunately, despite the obvious wet crotch of my pants, I was wearing a thigh-length tunic.

And so the Ayurveda adventure continues in ways I’d not foreseen. With plenty of entertainment, at my expense, for both Dr A and my Panchakarma Comrade. I don’t mind playing my mishaps for laughs, but a bottom mishap was not the game I intended to get a laugh out of!! Hence more surrendering to the process.

As for that harem
When I started with Dr A she was working solo. She’s only recently set up her business here in Tiru and had been treating her patients on her own up until about a week ago when four lovely young Tamil women joined her team. Just in time for my Panchakarma Comrade and I to enjoy the luxury of many hands tapping, rubbing and generally pummelling our bodies. So despite the bottom mishaps, the addition of the harem is very welcome, even if it does mean the witnesses to my folly are now six women instead of just two!

Wishing you a mishap-free day.

Day 8 of Panchakarma – the stream of goo, a change in diet, and more improvements (followed by rest)

Remember that caveat from my previous post? The one about the glee bridge and stream of goo? Weellll – I never thought my fall from the bridge would be the next day, nor so sudden a drop. Day 8 of Panchakarma saw me face down in the goo.

Monday was Day 8 of Panchakarma. Full of gratitude for feeling better, I cycled over to the clinic for 7:30am where Dr A handed me a glass of water and four pills. “Four!” was my immediate response to the dark-brown pills. I grimaced then, being the good patient, took ‘em.

I’m sure many people have, at least once in their life, taken shit pills (or some other form of laxative), me too. But I ain’t never taken four of these type of pills before. A couple of weeks back, before I found and signed up with Dr A, I’d taken one of the Ayurvedic shit pills I have on standby – they look similar to the ones Dr A gave me. The one pill I took then got things moving over the course of a morning. Admittedly, the effects were unremarkable and temporary. So when I saw four pills, I figured I was in for a rough loo ride.

Following those four pills, Dr A doled out glass after glass of water to me as if I were a camel caravan she was readying for a long desert trek. Not sure how much water I drank, but litres of the stuff passed through my gullet that day. Along with everything else in there. At least I’m hoping everything else because that’s what it felt like.

The first part of the morning was peaceful until a tsunami of nausea attacked me around 9am, at which point I paced across Dr A’s front yard taking short, sharp breaths trying to not throw up. She told me it was my internal acid reacting with the pills. As I paced I cursed myself. I’d been awake since 4am. Around 5am I’d indulged in what I thought might be my last coffee for a while. Probably a big, fat mistake. Coffee apparently has a high acid level (different from flavour acidity).

While I was still pacing, Dr A sat me down and massaged my head. The nausea passed and I was able to relax a bit. Not long after, in her less-than-lovely bathroom, I made a pooh patty a bullock would have been proud of. I shan’t go into much detail except to say that I remained close to the loo and at one point, with my backside perched on the not-so-clean loo seat and more crap leaving my body, I thought to myself – this, this is what surrender looks like.

That said, up until around lunchtime the day was relatively benign: sitting on the porch with the sunlight and a breeze, jabbering with Dr A about various topics – including questions from her (in an effort to distract me) such as “What do you like?” My response – “Huh?! In what way what do I like?” Around 2pm I felt done and my pulses were good. The experience of four shit pills had been OK. I could go home.

I rang Mr D to come collect me. For whatever reason, he took longer than normal to reach the clinic. By the time he arrived, some 40 minutes later, I’d had a glass of buttermilk by way of lunch. Not long after I was back in the loo getting rid of it.

And that’s when, on only Day 8 of Panchakarma, I came face to face with the stream of goo.

Lots of cramping and, something I find really challenging to cope with, huge dizziness and basically feeling like shit. When Mr D arrived and saw the state I was in, as well as the setting, he was less than impressed. He also knew the effects of just one shit pill. I’d messaged him in the morning to let him know I’d taken four and would be at the doctor’s all day. I knew he’d understand. Due to his anxiety and concern for me he challenged the doctor; a minor squall of confrontation had me step in as the pacifier priestess. I did that automatically even when, after non-stop dizziness and faintness, all I wanted to do was leave the bog, lie on the cool tiles of the treatment room and rest. Rest. I craved rest.

Nevertheless because I knew feeling crap was part of the process I was able to do that reassuring thing with Mr D and thus Dr A was reassured about him – although I suspect his reaction was not new to her. When Dr A told me that the tumblers full of regular-temperature water I’d been drinking all day were part of the medicine, had worked with the pills to clear me out, and that a change in temperature would stop the process quickly I accepted Dr A’s offer of hot water. I was done with the dizziness. I was done with hanging out in the loo. After persevering through the nausea and mostly liquid loss for a couple of hours I grabbed the chance for relief. Two cups of the hot stuff worked within about 10 minutes.

When the dizziness subsided to something more manageable I clambered onto the massage bench Dr A had prepared for me. I was able to lie down, in more comfort than the floor, and rest. Bliss. I curled up on my side and slept for a while.

Due to Mr D’s concern, and my suggestion I get an auto-rickshaw home (the thought of my bum on top of his bike made me wince) he’d left me to rest and when I was ready he returned in his brother’s car – woohoo. Not only was Dr A impressed (only a few people own cars here), me and my bum were dee-lighted and relieved.

Dr A sent me home with a jar of buttermilk rice for my supper, if I wanted some. Honestly, the thought of buttermilk anything was gag-producing, but later when I was hungry, I ate more than the two spoonfuls she suggested I start with. I was grateful the flavour was bland, and I figured the food would help me have a restful, rather than hungry, sleep.

That was all on Monday. Yesterday was Day 9 of Panchakarma and I was free to rest. Thankfully. Rest. Such a beautiful thing and something else I surrendered into. Since Day 8 of Panchakarma I’ve made sure to eat according to Dr A’s instructions. My diet these next three to four weeks will be based on rice and vegetables.

Dietary Info

For anyone interested, here’s an overview of the restricted diet terms:
* No white flour
* No fruit
* No ready-mixed spices or sauces
* No paneer
* No oils or fats – other than ghee and not raw
* No deadly-nightshade veg (potatoes, aubergine in particular)
* No re-heating food – cook from scratch for each meal
* No egg yolks – only egg whites
* No raw food

Essentially my food intake is rice (brown or white), whole grains and veg. I’m to make the food taste good but only using simple, unprocessed herbs and spices. Fortunately I mostly cook that way anyway. I’m going to miss paneer. I usually have that once a week. I’m going to miss pasta for variety. However, since the weekend I’ve made chapatis. Not great ones, but edible and they liven up the meals of white rice and veg. That said, last night I made a delicious mushroom risotto. I’ve given myself the mission to find out how to correctly make simple wholewheat and rice-flour roti/chapati, paratha and dosa.

Also on Day 8 of Panchakarma a new improvement showed up. My eyes. They look brighter. As if a film of vaseline I hadn’t noticed has been removed from them. I may not be bushy-tailed yet, but I’m rocking the bright-eyed look. Day 9 of Panchakarma and the bright eyes persist.

Another improvement is my body. Whereas before I resembled a square blob (even Spongebob Squarepants has more shape than me) my body is beginning to look more human-like.

Day 9 of Panchakarma was mostly restful. Around lunchtime I cycled to the clinic and checked in with Dr A. She was just finishing up with my Panchakarma comrade who was on the first day of her 30-day treatment – she too has surrendered to her unfamiliar treatment processes.

So despite having dropped into the goo stream, I’m still feeling “Hooray for Ayurvedic medicine” (and possibly even, gulp, the shit pills).

For now, whatever you’re doing, and however you’re doing it, remember – sometimes powerful, forced, encouraged movement has benefits, if you get my drift…

P.S. The featured imaged is one I took when I joined some Indian friends on a day’s pilgrimage to a temple at the top of a steep hill (Tirupati). At various places the number of steps taken was chiselled into the stone steps.