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Healing Ramble: Peacock Ayurveda Garden ~ Dikwella, Sri Lanka, 2018

welcome to Peacock Ayurveda Garden

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Gist: Along my healing journey, I sought treatment at Peacock Ayurveda Clinic in Dikwella (map to Peacock), close to noteworthy Galle, in southern Sri Lanka. I stayed in-patient for three weeks for a complete “panchakarma“ program.

Background: Certainly, Ayurveda has a number of different flavours in terms of quality and type of the facilities… Ranging from “spa-like“ facilities catering primarily to relatively wealthy or western clientele, to very spartan and rustic, often government-run, facilities treating local people (see Dissanayake diary).

Can be difficult to find the exact right fit mixing with medical needs but with comfort and safety enough to have a relatively enjoyable and stress-free period of time.

This is especially important because doing an extended panchakarma (five medicines) program as it can be rather intense. You are quite literally cleaned out inside and out, and your days are quite packed from early morning onwards with yoga, meditation, meals, doctor consultations, various massages, eye, ears, and nose cleaning, and some of the treatments, let’s just say can be rather “delicate“ or even rather embarrassing. Further, the effects of the treatment can be very intense and lay one out for a couple of days.

I researched a lot of different facilities around Sri Lanka and ended up on this one which seemed, from the outside, to be a good fit for me. While overall it was not near as fulfilling of an experience at my time in Ayurveda Health Home in Nepal or Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra in India, it was a learning experience.

“darling, i’am off to a rejuvenating Pachakarma treatment, see you in a two weeks”

Grounds / Facilities: Of the four different (at the time) Ayurveda facilities at which I received treatment, this one was definitely the most fancy and spa-like.

oh hi buddha

There was a pool (which frankly I was really never able to use but that’s cool), lounge chairs, beautifully manicured gardens with flowers in abundance, and overall the facility was very splendid, filled with interesting antiques, and the patient rooms were like a very nice hotel rooms, even with a private patio area for sitting and resting.

the grounds were immaculate and yes sometimes peacocks

Treatments / Schedule: The treatments were performed in a variety of traditional style huts, which were quite functional as well as charming. Each day, I was issued a fresh sarong and shirt and hat as the treatments are very oily. Additionally, I was given a basket of tiny disposable underwear to wear during the treatments.

Most days, I would have a short consultation with either the senior doctor (a gentleman who was very busy and often/mostly offsite) or a junior doctor (a young lady who was clearly still learning and mostly observing but very kindly).

Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Peacock Ayurveda Garden ~ Dikwella, Sri Lanka, 2018

Healing Ramble: Chronic Dude, logistical notes about “how to deal with traveling”

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

(also riffs already from Thailand, India etc + tips about pros/cons and how-to logistics coming…)

Notes & Travel Tactics / summary

  • Comfort Kit and crash kit
  • Flight time: afternoon or energy time (no early or late night)
  • Airport hotels with bathtub for pre and post flight … wheel right to checkin
  • One place and be part of community 
  • Postcard and scrapbooks along the way … send home by Post offices
  • Playlists
  • Stretches – aisle seat
  • Massage
  • Coconut water/hydration
  • Wheelchair service
  • Block out airport stimulation (blue specs, ear plugs… )
  • Break it up / short hops, stay over
  • Medication CBD/RSO (but don’t take it with you!)
  • First on, Last off
  • Pack extra light, easy schlepp, buy stuff if needed and ditch it)
  • Travel uniform (slippers, compression socks, track suit, slip on shoes
  • Pick the right place
  • Places to get medical help: Thai, India, seems weird but… 
  • Confidence
  • Better than home w/ reruns
  • What are yours? 

Tips and Topics:

  • Crash Mode
  • Triggers (list, notice)
  • Warning signs eyes extremities, foggy, stutter
  • Get to safe place to regroup 
  • Quiet
  • Lights unscrew
  • Sound & batteries
  • Kids
  • Warm and fresh air
  • Electric /weighted blankets
  • Hydration coconut water
  • Magnesium etc. 
  • Soup
  • eyes/ears
  • Bath 
  • Candles
  • Epson/Magnesium/THC Salt
  • No interruption
  • Music/med
  • Reduce ? and sadness? 
  • Slow Docu films
  • Art Postcard therapy
  • Recover – ravenous … no junk!
  • Magnesium is handy
  • Cold bandanas around neck and/or temple
  • Moulded ear plugs
  • Comfy eye mask
  • Perfect pyjamas
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Chronic Dude, logistical notes about “how to deal with traveling”

Healing Ramble: Tips for airports & traveling whilst chronically ill

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Tactics:

* Request wheelchair service well in advance and use it proudly – Besides getting you around the airport, you fast track through security and immigration lines / You are usually be first on and last off the plane, be patient

* Fly Tuesdays and Wednesdays mid-day, the airports are most mellow at this time (also tickets usually cheapest)

* Dark glasses and earplugs/noise canceling headphones for when you’re in the airport

* I use an aisle seat so easier to go to the back galley area and stretch if needed + restroom breaks without hassle when a sleeping passenger next to you

* Lavender oil, compression socks, eye mask and your most comfortable sweater for the flight, dress respectable to increase chance of upgrades (and because you are sharp like that)

* When flying far – for me anything longer than three or four hours – book a hotel in (or close by) the airport at the other end, in some cases you can get wheelchair ride to the hotel to crash out and recover. Bonus points to get one with a bathtub

* Check your bag, only take a small carry-on with comfort items, don’t try to be that “efficient business traveler” and / or save money with just a carry-on

* Turmeric tea/tincture & aspirin and water water water & coconut water & NO booze – Did I mention noise canceling headphones?

* Put on an audiobook or chill music… Keep the sensory stimulation low by not watching movies especially on the crappy seat back for the videos. For me, the fuzzy screens spin me out plus you see all the other anxiousness and activity going on

* Get a credit card which gives you access to airport lounges… go to the airport early, find a quiet corner and hydrate and snack with protein rich foods so when you’re on the plane, you’re not eating the crap or being interrupted… Plus when using wheelchair service, best to go well in advance as some airports have a limited staff performing this service

* When you board (using wheelchair you’ll probably be first on) introduce yourself to the flight attendants and mentioned that you may need extra water and make sure you are close to bathroom if you need a little sensory de-stimulation

Tip: Oh one more thing, seriously don’t try to do a lot of stuff when you travel, for me I go places to find bookstores and quiet coffee shops and simply be somewhere else.  Just because you are a “somewhere else” doesn’t mean you suddenly have a bunch of energy to go out and about and meet lots of people. Avoid restaurants at busy times as well (i.e. hit lunch after 1:30 get a table in a quiet corner) … for me this reduces sensory overload.

Note: Not all of these tips are applicable to everyone obviously but for me dealing with ME/Fibro find them to be critically handy. All for now, curious to hear your tips or any thoughts about the above.

Also this archive is laden with other riffs about healing elsewhere and taking baths in the Healing Ramble series.

Healing: Journals and a Postcard

sorry, i guess – no not at all

As I’m stumbling along on my “healing ramble” series (please watch the intro video for overview and disclaimers, not unusually, finding myself a little bit overwhelmed with all the artifacts, memories, items, even data, to share. So, rather than obsess over it just putting it all out there, even if it’s a bit redundant.

The next “real” dispatches from the series include my “tips for travelling with a chronic illness” (which is rather practical and logistical stuff), plus another entry from Sri Lanka, another from Nepal, a tough one from Pacifica California, more from other places i forgot and maybe I’ll even fill in the missing gaps from Adelaide Australia, Austin Texas, and crossing Canada looking for a home.

In the meanwhile here are the fronts of some notebooks and a postcard which allude to some of the above.

Continue reading Healing: Journals and a Postcard

Healing: Story of Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital ~ Galle, Sri Lanka

not really at the hospital but still captures the spirit of the scene

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction video for context on this series.

Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry, from is from Galle Sri Lanka, late 2017 and written in the weeks following. It’s now April 2022, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No comments, sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Sign

Background: Along my healing journey, I received treatment at Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital in Galle, Sri Lanka, a government-run, pay-what-you-can facility.

I attended this hospital for Ayurveda treatments for some weeks during Dec. 2017-Jan 2018 and was treated by a kind practitioner called Ruwan. I also met with a wise Doctor who recommended I do a longer in-patient Panchakarma program here, but… some life situations changed and i didn’t do the program. I saw the rooms and talked to the doctors and while it was very spartan and not cozy, the staff seemed to be very intent on their practice.

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Lobby
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Lobby

Routine: Mr. Prem dropped me off via his Tuk-tuk (he introduced me to the facility in the first place), i then went to a window to announce myself (to everyone’s great surprise!) and then sat in the waiting area. Mr. Ruwan would come back from lunch, i would strip down to underwear and lay down on a wooden table (covered with a vinyl sheet) in a shared room with folks coming and going for massage with loads and loads of oil.

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Treatment room
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Treatment room
Continue reading Healing: Story of Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital ~ Galle, Sri Lanka

Healing Ramble: Pros & cons of living or seeking treatment abroad with a chronic illness

Memo: Above comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry was in Pokhara, Nepal, early 2017, written as a letter to someone i met along the way facing health challenges of their own. I never heard back but whatever…

(finally) organized and published spring 2022 – i now live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No comments, sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. Note: There’s another post with a review and brief introduction to Ayurveda Health Home as well. 

daveo

Dear [Redacted],

I’ll speak frankly and candidly from my own experience, all of us are different of course – for the record I am at an Ayurvedic clinic in Pokhara, Nepal.

Background:

a medical diagram of me

Like you, and most everyone else with a chronic complex medical conundrum, I’ve spent all the time since my “trigger event” seeking out various treatments.

From overmatched GP doctors, to the anticipation of finally getting into see a “specialist” and the disappointment crash following when they still have more answers than questions, spending everything you got to see various naturopaths, chiropractors, reiki practitioners, massage therapists, nutritionalists… with little to no long-term benefit, spending sleepless nights reading medical abstracts & journals as though you understand them, seriously considering going in significant debt to go to a “fancy famous” hospital, putting up with family and “friends” advice (occasionally well-meaning) but always useless and often completely disrespectful, using up every bit of energy reserves on a daily basis just to get through the day and hopefully feel some vague sense of satisfaction or accomplishment when really you’re just spinning, seeing the stress it causes on lovers and partners who try their best to understand but crack under the pressure from time to time, and acknowledging your own mental well being — which starts to fragment from exhaustion, frustration and so many (often professional) people telling you that it’s “all in your head”.

I made a penciled flowchart of my various options before I headed out this last time, ergo:

(very frank) life options

Shall I do just what the Western doctors and insurance companies want me to do hide myself in a rainy apartment with old folks down the hall filling the lobby with smell of soup?

Go down in flames with late nights of parties and decadence pushing myself to the very limits knowing that it doesn’t really matter if I wake up tomorrow (I’m just not that self-destructive)?

Or, beg borrow and steal to see the litany of well-meaning but wholly ineffective naturopaths, chiropractors, Reiki practitioners, nutritionists blah blah blah? (I have largely done this and have fallen deeply into debt as a result)

Or do I continue this sorta strange wandering life of seeking healing in foreign lands while playing the “cat and mouse” game with the insurance thugs who wish to control me? I guess this choice won for the time being so i’ll break down the problems in the categories:

  • Financial (the cost of simply living coupled with the cost of getting treatment)
  • Treatment (access to reliable and useful services when you need them)
  • Climate (some of us do better and different weather, as well the “political” and social stress of environment)
  • Community (the first year or so it can seem that you have a support network but as years go on, this breaks down and begins to vanish having a net negative affect)
Global Brigadoon Index ™

My experience:

My “western diagnosis” is fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome/M.E. This all started in May 2013 so I’m coming up on four years. My diagnoses usually affects women and there is support groups etc. have been primarily women, bless their hearts.

Continue reading Healing Ramble: Pros & cons of living or seeking treatment abroad with a chronic illness

Healing: Laundry & Unrest

Lots of action and activities and errands last Monday, makes the heart and head happy but the body can’t quite stay/catch up so went into #mecfs “crash mode” on tuesday – though I’ve stumbled through this for so many years now, it never gets easier / such pain and unrest and confusion – kinda like epic jet lag plus hangover plus flu and a kick in the head/gut/kneecap all at the same time #NonScientificAnalysis

Blanket note: Master Artist Bill Reid design / collab with canadian national history museum / wedding gift from pal Kemp Edmonds.

Slowly coming back to life on Wednesday – enough to wash the dishes and fold the laundry. I really enjoy folding laundry except for fitted sheets. I would investigate the proper technique but I really don’t need another obsession 🙂

Noting I am writing this annotation on Canada’s first national Day of truth and reconciliation (on which I made appropriate donations to express my solidarity in a practical manner as well as lighting incense or metaphysical support)

Tomorrow is usual check-in with the neurologist at the city hospital.

Memo: With my weird illness (though hardly *uncommon*) there’s no usual treatment path but the check-ins keeps me in the system as well as acquiring minor medication to help smooth out the edges (ditched all the heavy duty medication some years ago – more pain but more brain).

PS with the onset of “long-haul C 19” illness it’s suddenly given a lot more awareness, research, science towards my nuanced chronic viral infection which presents some of the similar symptoms

Anyhow, just wanted to share the simple pleasure of folded laundry. No big deal, I roll-on, just floating it out there in solidarity with other folks who are primarily homebodies due to physical constraints which can feel a little challenging as people are getting out and about a bit more

Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

panorama of the neighbourhood from the rooftop of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

Continuing the story of my stay at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra iin Trippunithura, (near Kochi), Kerala, India. Part 1 is a personal diary of my stay seeking treatment for syndromes, there is also a collection of “Kerala Field Notes” with riffs and lousy snaps about a few other activities while there.

For background on the series, check the Healing Ramble introduction video and follow along for Auroville diary, a rapid exit and then onwards to Nepal and possibly Pacifica, maybe Adelaide. Maybe you already saw the dispatches from Phitsanulok, Thailand. 

Unsurprisingly, there are various photo essays (ephemera, Lomo “spy camera” from a cenotaph in b&w or colour for your amusement), a Remembrance Day podcast and video spiel from Gandhi beach.

Next, (for convenience and hopeful promotion of Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda Hospital – Gmap), sharing a publicly-posted review (under no-longer-secret-pseudonym), ergo:

Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra Review

I recently stayed three weeks in-patient at Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra and found the experience was exceptional due to the kindness and skill of Dr. Veena and Dr. Hamesh. 

After years of shuffling between all manner of specialist doctors with divergent opinions but no solutions besides prescription medications and experiencing little to no improvement, I decided to try a non-traditional approach with Ayurvedic medicine and set out to find a clinic which suited my needs. I wanted a place that was small and attentive and not a “tourist spa”. Further, I sought a place with amenities and cleanliness which would make my stay pleasant.  Continue reading Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

The doors open, you don’t know where you might go, so you go

An omnibus round-up for lousy photos of logistical considerations, various tasks and personal memories in Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 while staying at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra hospital. Please read the related story and consider watching the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. 

In the neighbourhood

sherbet coloured houses in the neighbourhood 

I sought permission to go out of the house to explore the neighbourhood, and after a while, she relented, warning me of the intense heat. I made a few oil pastel paintings of neighbouring houses which were all “sherbet coloured“ with lime greens, tangerine oranges and lavender which I found delightful.

i stepped out to make oil pastel painting and quickly made pals / note my awsum disposable clothes 

However, as soon as I would sit down with my art supplies, the neighbourhood boys and men would gather around to see what I was doing, ask me dozens of questions, and look on intently at everything I was doing. Continue reading Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

Me and Mr. Mohammed the Ayurvedic practitioner at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin/Kochi, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques. Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff.

Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry, from Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 and was written during my stay and in the weeks following – hence possible tense shifting and “note-style”. For the record: it’s nowJune 2021, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No advice or sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Thrippunithura, Kerala, India , Nov. 2016

Intro: On my healing journey, I had tried most every possible medical modality to find some relief, and was determined to try everything which showed reasonable promise a benefit.

A friend from Dubai recommended Ayurveda as a natural and holistic approach, and in a fog – truly, in a really difficult point in my healing process, I investigated 20+ Ayurvedic clinics in India and Sri Lanka – very rapidly and without knowing what i was doing really…, received all manner of different replies, prices and recommendations.

my first cup of Chai in India! such splendid heaven for a dime

I settled on Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra the province/state of Kerala, India due her excellent clear communications and no nonsense approach to the clinic (some seemed dodgy, others were “resorts for yuppies” with very high rates, most told me to “call” and i am not a phone calling type). 

Settling-in

I flew from Thailand (after time doing a load of tests at a hospital in Phitsanulok) to Kochi (aka Cochin), spent two nights in an airport hotel recovering in a bath {note: will share travel tips later in the series}, venturing out only to drink coconut (below) and tea (above) and rolled by taxi to the clinic – exhausted, demoralized, confused but open to anything.

stepping out into “all of the India” to drink a coconut 

The clinic was run by a whip smart woman named Dr. Veena who was sometimes assisted by her husband, a jovial tall thin man named Dr. Hemesh who worked at a regional Ayurveda hospital requiring a long bus ride for him every day. Such chemistry between them ;)

I lived in-patient in this facility for three weeks. My room was simple with the bed, wardrobe and desk and a wet bathroom. For much of the time, I was the only patient in their small three-story facility. Other times, there was a couple from Malaysia.

They also had a wonderful 3-year-old daughter who spent the day with relatives and came home welcoming me with a best hug calling me “Uncle”. The staff included a house lady, and a practitioner, a short Muslim man with a moustache – though almost every man the state of Kerala had a moustache. My 3 week, intensive, in-patient program of traditional Ayurvedic treatments was designed to address chronic pain, pain and heaviness in legs, reduced/uneven sleep. The treatments consisted of various massages with medicated oils, plus inhalations, purging, dripping medicated oil/milk on forehead, eyewashes … plus specific food for body’s needs, meditation time, stretching and a variety of herbal medications.

assorted Ayurvedic medications i took “to go” at the end of my treatment cycle along with Dr Veena’s handwritten direction 

Left with 2 month program of medications (capsules, liquids, ghee, powders…) and advice to avoid cold, avoid acidic food and meat, do yoga stretching and breathing exercises. Day-to-Day

Shirodhara vessel for gently pouring liquids over the forehead 

Continue reading Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India