We checked into the Mariposa Thursday evening. I had to go around sniffing everything in the room. It passed the test, barely, because it had been constructed with lots of circulating air. Huge sliding glass doors that open; doors to the closet and bathroom that don’t touch ceiling or floor, open slatted dressers, and air-conditioning in the rooms. We all hoped it would be the place for me to recuperate. It was too dark to see anything outside.
The first night, I slept hardly at all - I had trouble falling asleep then woke at 2:30 and felt excitable (that high glutamate feeling) and couldn’t get back to sleep even after eating. When I opened the shades at 5:15, this is the beautiful view I saw. I also heard the howler monkeys and some birds. What a treat! I felt I'd be content to lie in bed all day looking out at this view.
It is unusual for me to wake hungry at night, and now, after reading Shoemaker, I understand what is going on. This is the cascade of an innate immune system inflammatory response, which when it reaches a certain point, causes high cytokines and brings in the adrenals and hypothalamic adrenal regulation (cortisol and ACTH) in an attempt to restore balance. It usually takes 4 days to reach maximum reactivity. This piece of information helped me to understand that feeling worse at Mariposa was to be expected as a complication from the mold exposure and was not something to fear. But I did need to do something about it, if possible!
All day Friday I had much more trouble standing, my feet hurt all the time. The best part of the day was my Trivedi blessing. I set my intention on getting relaxed, and I dozed off briefly during the rest period. I was hungry for sugar all day, feeling this urge almost as soon as I finished eating. I tried very hard to resist, and without snacks around, it was not too hard.
Thanks to my wonderful internet friends, by the end of the day, I had an emergency strategy. Vitamin C (I had with me the fat-soluble ascorbyl palmitate known as Ester C), Magnesium, Activated charcoal, coffee enemas, Modifilan (an absorbent algae, usually used for metal detox). I had to work with what I had available.
I collected information about Welchol and cholestyramine which discouraged me from trying it. Shoemaker says people don't tolerate it and don't improve if they are still in an environment with an average level of mold. They have to be living in a mold free bubble with an ERMI rating of -1 or perhaps +2, depending upon their level of an immune factor known as C4a. I haven't had mine tested, but my very low score for MSH, a hypothalamic hormone, tells me I ought to look for the safest level before I undertake that strategy.
A short term alternative, suggested by a chapter in his recent book, Surviving Mold, was to get coconut oil, which we bought in town later that day. Mold toxins are fat soluble toxins, which is why they are so devastating to the nervous system and the cell membranes, both of which are composed primarily of fatty acids.
To be safe, I took a 1/2 Xanax, turned off the light at 11 and went right to sleep. Woke about 3:30 just mildly hungry. took another 1/2 Xanax and slept until 7:30.
Although I felt tired when I awakened, after a few minutes of centering and meditation, I felt good, almost normal in the head. I looked outside at the marvelous view and suddenly wanted to go down to Manuel Antonio to the beach, to run into the ocean water and feel it embrace me. Desire is a good sign. The previous two days I wanted nothing. At breakfast I continued to feel great! Seeing boats out in the water,, the desire to be out on a canoe or kayak came to me. Yay!
Now I know I’m not ready to fulfill any of those desires. I wouldn’t even try. But it’s a sign to me that I’m turning around, not continuing to go downhill from the mold and the exposures, but starting to go uphill toward recovery.
Sunday and Monday I started to feel the urge to do a bit of activity.
The pool here at Hotel Mariposa is an L-shaped pool without chlorine, with beautiful trees and the splendid view of the Parco Nacional de Manuel Antonio in the distance. I spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday at the pool. It has no chlorine smell (unlike their jacuzzi). As I started to feel better, I did a trial immersion up to my knees to see if I’d get any signs of dryness or itching. The pool passed, so on Sunday, I took the plunge.
In addition to a tiny amount of swimming on Sunday, by mid-afternoon I had the urge to take a walk around the grounds of the hotel. After that, I still had enough energy to sit up in the public area in order to read and respond to e-mail.
Sunday night I slept peacefully, without medication, for perhaps 9 hours, waking at 5:30 to hear the howler monkeys and then going back to sleep until after 7. I felt fully rested when I awakened. This is extraordinarily rare for me!
after a leisurely breakfast, visited by a local monkey and an iguana, I had to urge to go to the beach. The nearest beaches are in Manuel Antonio, and they are fairly crowded with all the hordes of tourists around here. Since we had to stop in Quepos at the car rental office, we decided on the Quepos Beach. The rental agent discouraged us, and sent us driving about 30 kilometers to the most beautiful, isolated beach between Quepos and Domincal called Matapalo. It was glorious. Lots of shade trees around the parking area, which came right up to the beach. A slow, gradual deeping of the ocean water with gentle breakers lapping at the shore.
I went in the water twice and sat in the shade for about 1/2 hour. I took a short, maybe 5 minute sun bath when I was wet, but the sun here is incredibly hot and it tired me.
I was tired all afternoon. But it was worth it for the joy of going in the ocean. I'm still a little tired today, and know something isn't right since I feel bloated from lunch 4 hours later. But I am doing a whole lot better and at least I am having a very pleasant vacation.
Although we are close to the equator here, in the shade it is pleasant, and there has been a nice breeze for the past several days, allowing me to enjoy time in the room with the windows open and no air-conditioner.
My dream is to come back someday with the energy to tour the mangroves, the rainforest, the beaches, to hike to waterfalls and walk on the little bridges suspended 20 stories above creeks at the canopies of trees. It might have to wait to the next life, but for now, it is fun to look at the pictures.
Here are a few more pictures from the hotel. Oops, don't think they loaded correctly.