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STORIES -The Battle is On
By Lara Cookey

A mighty storm swelled up in Accra in mid February 2011 and drenched the city like there was no tomorrow. It was very welcome since we were all challenged with the amount of dust that came with the harmattan this year. It is unprecedented in the 15 years we have lived here. Maybe this quantum of dust can be attributed partly to the road construction as well.

It seems eeeeverywhere we look, the road or gutter or both are being dug up, and there are mounds of soil all over the place. Some as high as hills, many stories high! The upshot of this, is that the dust pollution is just too much for my sinuses to cope with and my nasal membranes have been irritated very badly. All my usual strategies, did not prevent massive fluid build up and all concentrated on my right side, and targeted specially for my right inner ear.

All the meds and the physical interventions have still not cleared it up completely after nearly three weeks. I have endured excruciating pain in my lower and upper jaws on that side and I even thought I had a cracked filling. Between the ear pain and the teeth and jaw pain, no one had to tell me to take panadol plus every four hours on cue to avert the torture. It was all like one big blur, existing between cycles of pain meds, painful torture, vertigo issues, nausea, forcing myself to eat, lying down for hours, trying to walk about a bit , and it seemed endless.

The silly thing even made my face swell and I looked lop sided for a bit, like I had food stuffed in one cheek, rather like one sees grass cutters and other rodent-like animals do. Now if I were a borough animal, who needed to do this to transport food to the food stores of my warren, this would be fine. But I am not feeding any chicks high up in a nest in a tree either, so???

All this long story is the background to how my inflamed mucus membranes got me so sick that the MG flared up big time.

Hey! I am not used to this anymore o! I found myself again in that place where my physical body denied me an accurate reflection of the fullness and capacity of my mind and spirit. So, it was back to needing help with so many things, baths, teeth and difficulty chewing and swallowing. Back to soft foods, soups and slops etc.

I had to skip physio for a bit though I tried to get some exercise in by walking round and round our front terrace in the evenings. I kept severely within our compound, mostly because I did not want to be seen with my drunken gait, and all the stares that would elicit.

I returned to physio when the worst of all this calmed down and tried to explain to my trainer where I had been without also seeming like I was whinging and slacking off. He wasn't fooled and he put me on a very mild routine, like back in the day. Although I could now not reach my usual levels, I must say that there is a vast difference between my over all muscle tone. I am so much stronger than two years ago, I take it for granted even.

Of all the choices I have made in my life, regular physio is probably one of the most intelligent ones and absolutely key to my continued optimal performance. At the peak of my athletic prowess, I was able to jog on the treadmill at number 8, which some of the wounded professional footballers visiting the clinic could not do. Now, I am re starting at 4.5 for thirty seconds at a time while resting for one minute. There is no flab hanging from my upper arms either as I have been doing quite a bit of weight resistance training.

Apparently, I am no longer a patient but an athlete in training. Or so says my physiotherapist. The battle is still on and I am building up gradually, so watch this space! And don't be fooled by this flare up, you don't want to offend me and get slapped, my physio arms will tell you a few stories...

Where was I?
Erm, yes:
I am what God says in Romans 8:37

Accra, Ghana
02March 2011

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