Having the Stomach for Muay Thai
Before y'all think it's gonna be an article about getting abs, it's not. The photo above was actually taken before I got discharged from the hospital. Note the IV drip thing on my right arm.
It wasn't too long ago, probably only maybe 3 weeks or so (late April) that I've returned from Thailand, Chiang Mai, with Jack on our usual outing to fight in the land of Muay Thai. Other than some bumps and basic bruises, I was generally unharmed, and eager to start training as soon as possible. That was the usual arrangement with Jack, and especially so; returning to a spectacular Fight Night, I was really raring to go back in training. What's more, we've already had the next fight scheduled.
Barely 3 days into the new training camp, I woke up on a Thursday morning, with massive cramps in my stomach. I usually try to brave it out for a little to see if I get better, before making my way to Fort Onyx, but it never subsided. Some projectile vomiting later, I gave up, and went to the doctor's. I took the rest of the day off, and waited for the shit storm to be over.
The next day, my prayers the night before to wake up feeling okay were largely unanswered. I spend the first hours of my waking in the toilet, with all sorts of excretion coming out from my orifices. Back to the clinic, and the doctor, albeit a different one, said similar things; that it probably was a bad case of stomach flu.
Just like that, 4 to 5 days went by and I hadn't trained yet. The upcoming fight loomed in my mind.
Monday came quickly, and I felt better over the weekend. I was eager and really happy to go back to the gym, to see the Onyx fam. I missed all that. Staying at home doing nothing sucks. The usual rituals ensued, and I arrived at Fort Onyx without much fuss. But just as I was laughing at the madness that goes on around here, a sharp pain hit my abdomen area without warning.
At this point in time, Jack probably had enough, and sternly dictated that I needed to go see a doctor right now. I was a little reluctant, because I had really wanted to come back to the gym, fresh week, and tell Jack 'let's go". I looked forward to training, to improve, and to feel like the nak muay that I was supposed to be. I wanted to be around the Onyx family, and not around my bedsheets and toilet bowl 24/7.
But what I saw in Jack's eyes and expression meant that there was no room for negotiation. I booked myself at the polyclinic the very same day that I had eagerly wanted to come back and get back to the normal routine. I went to the polyclinic obediently, but the next thing I knew, I had to check myself into the hospital.
While I wasn't diagnosed immediately, nor am I in severe pain, I hated every moment of it. It reminded me of a time some years ago, where I was admitted to the hospital after a fight. But this was different, this was worse. At least in consolation, the previous time was AFTER a fight, but right now, I'm admitting myself into the hospital before the fight. It just didn't make sense to me. It was a FML moment.
I needed a CT scan. So after a bunch of needles and dyes into my poor old body, I was prepped up and ready to be delivered in. The CT scan was uneventful, just a weird sensation of dye fluids swimming in my body. The doctor advised that I should stay for the night, and warded me. A hospital staycation while waiting for the results. The doctor then said that while waiting for the results, I am prohibited from food and drinks... IN CASE THEY NEED TO OPERATE ON ME.
FML number 2.
The night went long, and finally at probably around 2am in the morning, the doctor came back, and told me that everything was okay, and they found nothing wrong.
They had no explanation on why I am feeling like this, nor do they know for sure what's wrong with me. But the professional decision was to rest for the night, and if nothing goes wrong, I'm to be discharged the next day. I was discharged the next day, doctor still not sure what's wrong with me. My discharge came with a slip of paper that also said to have an additional 7 days of hospitalisation leave.
When I did finally came back to the gym, it was perhaps 10 days left to the fight. I started training again, and you probably think that it might be a better idea to sit the next fight out, rest up the body first and then train properly for the next one. Ordinarily, that'll be a sound advice. But we live in extraordinary circumstances; circumstances that very very few people get to experience or live in. I get to live my life as a nak muay, in a gym, and fight in Thailand.
Me, and together with the rest of my posse in the fight team, we often lament about the hard trainings; Pi Keng's endless stamina during padwork, and Jack's death stare during our clinching sessions. But I know for a fact that we are lucky, to be able to chase after a dream, this Muay Thai dream, with the full force of Onyx behind us. I'd admit, over time, sometimes we get a little complacent and settle into a normalised routine, perhaps taking things a little for granted. But we know this is home, and this house has carried us forward, raised us up, and brought us to fight in countries and places that we never thought possible.
I'm recovered now, and I feel ok, but it bothers me that I didn't get to do a 'full camp'. I expressed my concerns gingerly to Jack after (finally) a good training session, half afraid that he might cancel the fight, the other half knowing he wouldn't. His words were usually firm and straight forward, he asked:
"Do you want to fight?"
"Yes." i replied, without a second thought.
Jack merely nodded, and replied in his usual nonchalant manner, "okay".
That was it. And that was enough for me.
So, stomach or not, fuck it, let's go and get things done.