I woke up one day to bullfrog eyes and hives all over my body. Every crease in my eye was exaggerated as though there was a magnifying glass to it. That, and little red splotches all over. Like a polka-dot bullfrog. Only, it wasn’t Halloween yet. I was having an adverse reaction to a powerful dose of antibiotics I took the day before. Thank goodness I skipped the last dose. That would have turned me into a spotted English bulldog that cannot breath.
(Diagnosis: I should have listened to my hunch and avoided a tough dose of Clindamycin.)
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not against antibiotics. They can save lives, especially fatal infections. But as with most magic medicine, we often take it to excess, pop it at the sign of a lingering cough, or some fever. Antibiotics are now the most frequently prescribed medication! And suppressants and painkillers, the pill-popper’s favorite. I have had too many arguments with mother and MIL. They cannot understand why I wouldn’t give my children cure-all antibiotics when they are seemingly dog-tired and coughing their heads off. In the same way, I cannot comprehend why they insist on antibiotics for a virus or a sore throat.
(Sickness 101: Antibiotics do not work against virus, only against bacteria.)
I am cautious about antibiotics for a cold, cough, flu, even a fever. Honestly, why use the magic pill when there’s a strong immune system that might even do better. You call them antibodies and they can actually annihilate harmful bacteria or attack infection. I would only take antibiotics if (1) the infection were serious; and (2) my doctor strongly insists despite my insolence that I have to take it.
Why am I so dubious about antibiotics? Well, for one thing, they are not so smart. Antibiotics cannot distinguish between good and bad bacteria, so they end up eliminating both. Trigger-happy medicine. Antibiotics will get rid of ALL the bacteria in your body. And so they destroy the beneficial bacteria we need- little helpers that actually aid digestion, boost our immunity and rid us of toxins. Like fighting a war with no sides, taking children and women too. So just in case you really have to take antibiotics, take Probiotics after, drink Kefir, or eat yoghurt to restore your body’s beneficial bacteria.
Secondly, antibiotics are quite flimsy. The more you use them, the more useless they become. Bad bacteria will begin to resist antibiotics with too much use. They’re also fussy. You have to take all doses at about the same time and complete them for days and weeks. And worst, while at it, you can’t even take a glass of wine. Now, who wants that?
Lastly, there are a whole bunch of alternative remedies you can try to attack bad bacteria or ward off an infection: warming teas, cold compresses, massages, simple water and plain old rest. Then there are homeopathic remedies. Voodoo medicine. That’s how my best bud calls it. (And yet, when he’s sick, he asks me if he could have some of it anyway!) I have nursed my children (and myself) through high fever, terrible sore throats and debilitating flu, with nothing but voodoo medicine, unending compresses and a dose of faith. Of course there’s always the temptation to reach for the fever suppressant when the thermometer hits 39. I even wonder whether I’ve turned witch-mama as my child looks at me with glassy eyes, a red nose, and talking through coughing fits.
But there is a certain knowing, instinct, and intuition that tells you to trust the magic of your own beautifully designed body. Your body will always endeavor to bring back the balance in the imbalance. Disease is exactly that: DIS-EASE, a lack of ease. Healing is exactly that: from the Germanic root “HALE” meaning “making whole.” And often, pain and sickness have been my informant friend, telling me what I am doing wrong. Why suppress that?
And again, please don’t get me wrong. I am all for conventional, allopathic medicine. What I want is informed medical intervention, not chronic over-medication or a quickie relief. It is more sensible to take responsibility for your own health, rather than rely with reckless abandon on others, expert or not. I have suffered more pain by needless testing and more weakness taking medication I didn’t need anyway. Sometimes the panic and anxiety (and perpetual waiting at the emergency room) makes me sicker. I was intimated by the doctor I never saw in the delivery room. She told the resident I needed extra-strong antibiotics on the expert opinion that I MIGHT develop an infection. Even my alternative doctor thought that maybe I needed it. And so, going against my own reason, I took the pill that gave me bugged-out eyes and polka dots. Which gives me an idea, I should take Clindamycin for Halloween.
Just in case you want to learn more, a good friend Jake Tan wrote a book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Healing-Ourselves-from-Medicine/194827963898595 and there’s also an upcoming workshop on healing.
(Disclaimer: this article was not written for marketing purposes. I just thought this Workshop and Jake’s book are a great complement to my article.)