Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm all ears

For many years I stubbornly refused to listen to what my body was trying to tell me. My standard response to any niggle, itch, twitch, twinge, throb or ache was la-la-la-la-la-la-la-can’t-hear-you- la-la-la-la-la-la- can’t-hear-you-la-la-la-la. My body’s cries for help would go unheard. Like many a man before me, I cocked a deaf ‘un. It’s what us boys do. Rather than face up to reality, we’d prefer to slip out the back door unnoticed, preferably to the nearest pub. But just as the habitual flat-capped drinker never escapes his rolling pin wielding wife for long, one can never truly hide from a nagging body. So it was only a matter of time before mine caught up with me and forced me to listen to what it had to say. Now this is where it can get tricky. If your body could sit you down and explain in plain English, maybe over a cuppa and a Rich Tea, exactly what was on its mind there would be no confusion. But your body doesn’t speak English. Instead it communicates in its own curiously oblique fashion. It’s a form of sign language, I guess. Like, you’ll suddenly get lots and lots of eye-wateringly painful mouth ulcers. This is your body speaking to you. But what’s it trying to say? That you have a problem in your mouth? Oh no, no, no, no, that would be far too simple. No, mouth ulcers might not have anything to do with your mouth at all. It could be anything. Imagine a red warning light appearing on the dashboard of your car, but it doesn’t tell you if it’s oil, petrol, water, brakes or the bag of Murray Mints in the glove compartment you should be worrying about. That’s how your body talks to you. So now every time I get a spot or blemish or my hair starts falling out, I have to try and interpret what it means. I haven’t the foggiest half the time. My body could be trying to tell me I’ve got bird flu for all I know. It seems mastering German is the least of my worries, first I need to understand body language.