This blog is highly personal, makes no attempt at being politically correct, will occasionaly offend your sensibility, and certainly does not represent the opinions of the people I work with or for.
Books, Alcohol, Drugs, Paracetamol and the pursue of Health
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Childhood and Teen Years

When I was a kid I read a lot of books. You think that you know a kid who reads a lot ? Well, I was reading more than that. I could make a list of what I was reading, but that's an entry for another time. Here, I will just focus on one type of documents I was reading: medical encyclopaedias.

By the age of 8 or 10, I had already absorbed quite a lot and, in particular, the following logic was quite clear in my mind: the people with destroyed livers, unclean lungs and rather indescribable life choices, all well documented, all had something in common: that of having consumed any, or a mix of, the following: alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. On the other hand the books had endless praise about the lack of consumption of those products. In my mind you didn't need to be a genius to know what to do, and anybody not doing the right thing was retarded.

As I discovered many years later, in high school, retardation wasn't the reason why anybody would decided to consume those products. Where was that thing called "social pressure" that everybody seemed to suffer from, but that, thanks Einstein, I seemed to be immune from.

Childhood and Early Adulthood

When I was a young kid and I got sick (as it happened to me few times), my mother would give me some medicine. I would take them. They seemed to work.

But as I reached adolescence, I discovered a pattern. Every time I would be feeling becoming sick, I just needed to sleep the entire night and have a proper breakfast the following morning and whatever was brewing would be gone. This discipline prevented me sickness from middle school onwards, and had it not been for the occasional visit to the dentist, I would have completely avoided the medical profession up to adulthood.

The University Years

By my university years I was living by myself, away from my family (by choice). One day, something happened to me. Something which after all that time seemed coming from a different era. I got a cold. For context I was in Paris at the time, away from the tropical island I was born and raised on. First cold of my life, at least first one that sounded it was about to be... painful.

My girl-friend of the time, proposed to give me some medicine, but I had extended my original childhood ban on drugs to anything pharmaceutical. "If it wasn't already on Earth 10,000 years ago, if it's the product of human pharmaceutical engineering" would I have said, "then, I don't want it". It wasn't a personal manifesto anti science or anti technology (I was a science student and have been a scientist all my life). It was a childhood personal promise pushed to its extreme (the kind of stuff the nerdy person I was back then would come up with). And no amount of persuasion from my girl-friend would make me change my mind. I was the most stubborn and dedicated to the idea that the body knows how to handle itself.

The result was a recovery cycle taking longer it should otherwise have taken. Not to mention that I endured the soreness, the pain, the devastating headaches, and the physical cold and the heat. At night, my body temperature would raise up to absurd levels and fall back in the morning.

The explosion of body heat, as I discovered winter after winter, had a purpose: my body was attempting very very very hard to get rid of toxins. (We will come back to this...)

Anyway, I eventually left Paris to go to the UK. My body having known sickness and pain. And, every time, what had not killed it had made it stronger.

I spend the first 3 years in Birmingham, as a PhD student but then came to London, and encountered the most stupid weather patterns known to Man, and also a demanding job.

The Aubrey Years

By the time I moved from Birmingham to London (2006) I was also married (Chinese sweetheart from Birmingham university). And few sicknesses in, the following happened

(Pascal has been in bed for two days, with probably a 40+ degrees body temperature.)

Aubrey: Seriously darling, let me give you something.
Pascal: Medicine ?
Aubrey: Yes.
Pascal: No.
Aubrey: Ok, ok. What about Chinese soup ?
Pascal: Ok.

Then, the day after, still feeling like shit and not getting any better...

Aubrey: I will give you something now, it will make you feel better.
Pascal: What's that ?
Aubrey: Something like a tea.
Pascal: Ok!

Pascal drinks the tea and falls asleep for the night. Morning after he is feeling much better.

Pascal: Darling, I am feeling much better ! What's that thing you gave to me ?
Aubrey: Don't worry about it.
Pascal: Ok!

And that was it. A mix between a man absolutely trusting his wive, and the fact that I had known for a while that Chinese women are magical entities anyway.

The post Aubrey Years

After we separated. I was living by myself and one day, despite my attention in trying to prevent it. I got sick. The following phone call followed:

Pascal: Hey Darling! What is that thing you used to give to me when we lived together and I was sick ?
Aubrey: Oh, the hot thing you just could not get enough of ?
Pascal: Yeah.
Aubrey: It's called Lemsip, you can find it at Waitrose.

I went to Waitrose and finding Lemsip and reading the package my heart missed a heartbeat. This thing is about the most potent mix of cold related medicine this freaking island offers outside prescription!

Pascal: Darling, that thing is.... medicine, like a *lot* of it!
Aubrey: Are you mad ?
Pascal: Nah, don't worry. You did exactly the right thing. That's exactly what a wife is supposed to do: know better than her stupid husband. Thank you.

And started my relationship with customer grade boost packages.

Living happily ever after are you wondering ? Yeah. No, There is something I didn't mention.

A Strange Body

After the first couples of Lemsips, back in the Aubrey Years, something strange, unusual, that I don't have a name for, started to happen. After having taken anything, Lemsip, paracetamol, Ibuprofen, aspirin, anything, the next time I would go to bed, from the moment I would fall asleep, literally few seconds after MRI would show my brain sleeping, the temperature of my body would jump up to worryingly high levels and suddenly my body would cover itself with a strange fluild, mostly water, but _slightly_ more viscose. And my body would generate so much of it (the equivalent of a small glass of water in 30 minutes) that the bed sheets would need to be changed several times a night.

Not only it would start right the moment of sleep, but would stop right the moment I would wake up. The first times Aubrey would look after me and see it happening exactly like that. I fall asleep, my body starts secreting huge amount of it, every centimetre square of skin everywhere would be into it, she would wake me up to see it I am ok, it would stop (I would still need to change my clothes and the sheets) and we would talk, nothing, and the moment I fall asleep again. Boom! More of that stuff.

Even without knowing what it is, I thing doctors would have wanted to see it, just to record, for science, how much fluids a body can lose in the span of a night and the owner still be alive the following day.

Last week

I got sick last week. Reason: over tiredness from looking after my son during the night, above all right before going back to work.

I started to medicate myself. During the night my body would sweat as much of the stuff it could.

In particular, on Tuesday I woke up at 4am, the bed so wet I had to change everything (feeling pain everywhere and the mother of all headaches), and I went back to sleep, knowing more would come.

But then, when I woke up hours later I was dry.

Then it hit me. Because of a misleading GP appointment on Monday morning, which lead me to believe I was fine, even though I wasn't (the infection was just taking a break before the next charge), I had not taken anything all of Monday, neither Sunday evening, and neither Sunday all day (I was visiting a friend). In fact my last medicine intake was Saturday.

It had taken three days, well three sleeps, for my body to get rid of that stuff and it had ran out of it.

So when while still being sick like shit Tracy looked at me on Tuesday evening and said "You look very sick Pascal, you can't take care of Luc like this, I am going to give you some paracetamol", my answer was "You know what? I think I'll pass. I will never take those stupid medicines again. They help, but my body then spends so much energy trying to get rid of them, that all things considered, it's not worth it."

Today

The recovery was slow, I mean took a couple of days. But today I am feeling as if my body is back, and not only back from sickness, but back from my own stupidity (yeah, that's how I will refer to, from now, having taken the potent, military grade, medicine you find in stores in the UK when I was sick). In fact you can imagine the following having happened inside me today:

Body: How do you feel ?
Pascal: Why are you asking me ? You're the one feeling... Ha! Ok, I see your point. I am feeling great. Thanks.
Body: Thanks for trusting me again, that shit was killing me.
Pascal: You're welcome. So... if I get sick again on this stupid island, it is going to hurt ?
Body: Well, depends what you get: cold, flu, tonsillitis, or anything your son will bring back from nursery or school playground (aka your local bio-weapon research facilities); but yes, I guess it might, above all if you avoid pain killers.
Pascal: Um... Well. Fuck it. You do the recovery, I'll do the mental handling, like we used to do back in the days.
Body: Sounds like a plan!


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