Give and Take

Wednesday, June. 24, 2:19 AM
Chiang Mai, Thailand

I spent $100 today on a drug made by GlaxoSmithKline to help me through an asthma attack… it kills me to spend so much, and to need medicine provided by an international drug monopoly, but I was really concerned that I’d end-up dead by asphyxiation otherwise. For the last three days on the farm I’ve been in bad shape, using my inhaler every 30-60 minutes… I went through nearly an entire new inhaler in 3 days! It was probably really unhealthy, pumping steroid into my lungs at that rate, but necessary… it took three days to go through all the troubleshooting – washing sheets, moving huts, rubbing essential oils – before I threw in the towel and left. Worst part is that I really would have loved to stay at Second Home for a while. No, the worst part was that I couldn’t sleep for three nights, wheezing uncontrollably 24-7, especially when lying down, my chest hurting, being dog tired… that sucked. I haven’t had asthma like this since I was 6 yrs old. I knew in one more day I’d be a real burden on those who’d have to carry me to the hospital 70km away.

Now I’m feeling much better. I’m still having some “bronchial spasms” (wheezing), but it doesn’t hurt any more, and I’m taking my meds like a good little product of civilization. Doc suggested I stay in the city for a couple days before heading back into the hills, to give my lungs a rest. With a heavy heart I’ve decided not to return to the place which triggered this first (and hopefully last) allergic episode.

Sonia and Kate, as we were (sadly) waiting for the songteaw.

Sonia, the lady in charge at Second Home, is a Saint. We had a great conversation in her house (she bought a plot of land next to the farm and erected a mud home to live in permanently, only 3 months ago!), about how she ended-up here in life, and how letting-go is integral in her approach towards enlightenment. I was inspired to learn that, while caring for her mother through a bout with cancer, she found her true calling: to help people and to give her love without limits. I was feeling like a burden, being in poor health &; only the second time on this trip I’ve been down – useless and unable to work. Sonia washed my sheets when all I could do was lie around, brought me herbal bronchial spray and eucalyptus oil to try, and she carried my heavy-ass bag all the way to the songteaw – a passenger pickup truck – at 6:30am to the nearest junction 1km away so I could return back to Chiang Mai and the hospital. (I had to stop the driver half way there so I could puke!) After our conversation the previous morning, though, I didn’t mind so much her helping me, or asking anyone for help… I was really just Grateful, instead of embarrassed.

Sonia rules, and she’s the ideal ‘mother’ for Second Home. All the volunteers there were equally helpful and sympathetic, doing everything they could to help: Kate, Michaela, Stuart. I believe her example set the precedent. I’ll miss her, and all the folks there. In only a few days I was deeply moved by her selfless caring and enormous generosity, and I’m inspired by her love.

Good people everywhere! It’s just too much to bear sometimes!


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