Her body was racked with coughs. She felt aches in parts of her body she didn’t know existed. Her symptoms waxed and waned. She’d feel congested one moment, the other beset by a runny nose. Her head would throb, the pulse quickened with every cough which scratched her throat and made her chest feel heavy.
She treated her illness in the best way she knew how. Lemon ginger teas. Black seed oils. Basking herself in the steam of eucalyptus oil. Six cloves of garlic – cut up into tiny pieces and swallowed with milk to edge the pieces down her throat. Vix rubbed across her chest.
She did everything possible to avoid going to the doctor. She knew it would be a long wait, which she dreaded – especially in her current condition. She also knew that they’d most likely tell her it was the flu and with all flus, the best medicine was fluids and rest. Which she already knew. So why drag her tired, aching body out of bed, disrupt the rest they asked her to get and wait around in a cold, sterile, depressing waiting room for a doctor to tell her what she already knew? Plus, they’d probably end up giving her 4-5 different medicines she was sure were being pushed by pharmaceutical companies. Medicine her body didn’t really need.
She brought her a big spoon of honey. In this household, and many others, honey was the cure for all. Particularly coughs and colds. She didn’t want to insult the bees but she knew her body had never warmed up to the idea of honey, unless in small doses with kita. Regardless she couldn’t get out of it. Her only point of negotiation was to take it with a slice of lemon. She squeezed the juice into her mouth trying desperately to lessen the taste of the honey, cancelling the too sweet taste with the bitter of the lemon. The nausea kicked in right away. Reminded her of childhood days when a spoon of honey early in the morning was a dreaded rite before leaving for school. On days where colds and coughs had decided to reside in her body, the honey was mixed with warm orange juice or worse yet warm milk. It almost prolonged the ordeal. Rather than suffer and be done with a spoonful, she was forced to taste the honey with every gulp until the glass was empty. Sometimes she held her nose to avoid tasting the contents… often to no avail. She ended up throwing up, unable to stomach what she had just been forced to swallow.
It was never politically correct to dislike honey, particularly as bees and their products have a special place in Islam. It’s a wonder that something sweet and with so many medicinal purposes is produced by hard working bees. Having acknowledged this however, she was sure she was allergic to honey. Just as she was allergic to bees. Well, more accurately to bee stings. It was a shame, both for her intense allergic reaction to bee stings and her dislike and possible allergy to honey that the home she grew up in was also home to bee hives. Six of them. This meant bees were always about and fresh honey on the comb readily available.
She would get stung frequently. Every time, the area of her skin where she got stung would turn the color of tomatoes, swelling two to three times it’s original size. She would break out in hives, feeling the urge to scratch her skin raw. She felt as though she was on fire with no air to breathe. She was rushed to the clinic to get an injection but her symptoms were so severe that each additional minute before the contents of the injection met her bloodstream felt like torture. She must’ve mirrored outwardly what she felt internally for after that, injections were kept at home. She craved those injections, if only to be able to breathe again. Freely.