Friday, April 2, 2010

Simple medicines

My zany Chinese herbalist often says that "Food is medicine," and recently ordered me to eat more meat. "Pork?" I asked (I like things with a little sweeter preparation, which pork usually gets.)

"No," he said quickly. "Beef, or lamb."

The last time I saw him, a week or so ago, the very first thing he asked me was how much meat I was eating.

The reason I mention this was that I went out to lunch with my wife this afternoon. I was feeling very severely spent, my "spoon" drawer had been sucked so dry that whatever had sucked out the spoons had also sucked away the shelf paper and the first few layers of the wood that makes up the drawer. I was enjoying being with her, but I was not in the least enjoying being out in the world, or even sitting up.

Remembering Dr. Xi's advice to eat more meat, that's what I ordered. That, and an American ginseng/longan/goji tea.

Well, the tea was absolutely wonderful. Very, very soothing; longan, among its other properties, is said to calm the spirit, and I've always loved American ginseng. The beef wasn't as magical, but it was well prepared, and just the right amount (I wasn't particularly hungry).

So we did a few post-lunch errands and we went home, and I lay down on the bed and slept for an hour or so.

And when I got up... I felt better than I have in weeks. Months, maybe.

I drove to the store. No problem. For the last few weeks, the "bad data" in my legs has made me wonder whether my driving days were coming to an end. Today, bad data as always, but somehow, I was able to work around it. My legs hurt as much as ever, but somehow, I didn't care. I enjoyed shopping; I indulged myself, getting fancy ingredients just for the fun of it (including splurging on some truffles for the quiche I was planning on making for my wife). Picked up some lamb, of course--doctor's orders.

I drove home without any problem, without the "Am I going to make it?" almost-panic that I've been living with for weeks. Yeah, my legs are pretty frakking weird, but somehow, I was able to make them work anyway.

I made two quiches--which took way more than the usual "dump and stir" method that I have usually been making them with, I did a lot of ingredient preparation prior to pouring everything into the pastry shells. And while that was underway, I did two loads of laundry. And then did the dishes, including the ones that had been piled up on the sinkboard, waiting for just this occasion.

For weeks, I've been living on the edge of collapse. This afternoon, after one pot of herbal tea, one dish of Chinese beef stew, and a good nap, I have the love of life, and the love of living, and the enjoyment of the simple tasks of shopping, cooking, and cleaning, that I haven't had since ... I can't remember when.

Well... you can bet, I'm going to be eating beef and lamb much more frequently, and taking naps in the afternoon, if that's all it takes to make me enjoy being alive.

Sometimes, the best medicines are the simplest.

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