Sunday, November 19, 2006

Defying Aging

In an over zealous attempt to get into shape, Ray hurt his shoulder at the gym a few months ago. A friend refers to his problem as a disease called "old" but nevertheless it has created quite an inconvenience, rendering him unable to do most common household tasks. Now I have for a long time been convinced that this "injury" is a result of carrying an incredibly heavy briefcase containing laptop, books and his most worldly possessions. This briefcase is never left behind and has been more places than the average American citizen. It has seen the heights of Tibet and the rivers of New Zealand-planes, trains, automobiles, and boats. I think this shoulder is just plain tired! Wouldn't you be?

While in China, Ma was at the local pharmacy searching for a Ben Gay type plaster for Pa's foot. She came back to the hotel, bursting with excitement, as she had in her hand the solution to Ray's aches and pains. Even better was the fact that the Chinese pharmacist had personally demonstrated how to massage this magic ointment deep into the crevices of your joints.
It was now my job to learn this special massage technique so that I could perform this dutiful job on my poor husband.

This procedure was demonstrated to me following a family dinner gathering. My brother, his wife, my nieces and nephew, as well as my kids all watched with great interest. I opened the box-it smelled like a mixture of Vic's Vapo Rub and reminded me of elderly Chinese women. The direction said, "Musk Relieving Pain Liniment". I tried to remember what a musk looks like-a bit like a yak, I think. Now I don't take anything without knowing the ingredients, so I read on,
artificial musk-now that is a relief that we aren't endangering real musk's lives,
camphor, safflower-seems innocuous enough
pubescent angelica root, Dragon's Blood!! (hoots from the kids) -ah, Google says, " these are herbs that relieves pain", safe enough.
Borneol-a type of camphor
Glutinous Rehmannia - "has the action of tonifing and replenishing the Liver and the Kidneys. Many famous recipes against illness for longevity. The prepared rhizome of rehmannia can be cured with honey in the form of the honey bolus for treatment. If you took it continuously for one hundred days, you would have a beautiful face just like a peach flower in blossom and you never got old at least within three years." Oh my!

Directions; spray and message for 5-10 min. to make the sore feverish!

Now Ma has been quite disappointed that Ray has resisted using this ointment consistently. It is considered a ready cure for sprains by Chinese. When I was growing up. I remember now being advised to wear patches after spraining my ankle in college, walking into class and thinking if I ignored the odor of camphor, maybe others would think it was coming from someone else. My parents believed in it so much, my Dad once sent a package to the UI basketball team when hearing that their star player had injured his ankle. The odor is so pungent that on our recent flight back from China, the flight attendant turned her nose up and questioned to the planeload of Chinese, "Who is wearing camphor?"

Tonight, this pungent aroma will clear my sinuses as it works its magic into my dear husband's joints. Tomorrow, his disease of aging will disappear, his face will be like a peach flower in blossom, and he will have defied the process of aging.

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