back to work

day 6 since my micro-laser peel. yesterday i leave on the bismuth subgallate all day. i take the pulmison (south african version of prednisone) yesterday morning, last night and again this morning. when i wake at around 4a.m. after nearly passing out on a combo of  dormicum to sleep and  cough syrup which i’ve taken to ease my burning lungs, i can see that the swelling has gone down considerably. 


after my shower. the area under my eyes starts drawing really tight and i reapply some vaseline.










 i wait till i get to work, before i wash off the rest of the yellow powder and vaseline. everything looks much better, but there’s still a certain amount of crustiness. i’m feeling extremely shaky and my lungs seem to be sand-papered.






angi works wonders on my face. she sprays opsite around my eyes to protect against infection and then very carefully applies my make-up. there’s still a certain amount of crustiness, but it’s well disguised. i’m still somewhat moon-faced, but it’s so much better than i could have hoped.





i look different, somehow, but not that bad.








it actually doesn’t look bad on screen. fortunately my scenes aren’t that long and my character is supposed to be getting ill. the problem is that my throat is starting to hurt like hell, i’m starting to hack, my lungs feel scorched and i’m feverish. for real.

i think it’s taken my last reserves to heal from this infection and the flu which never quite went away, is back with a vengeance. 

now i’m in the green room waiting for my next scenes – i’m trying to dose myself to the gills with degoran, echinacea and vitamin c to boost my immune system. 

“this too shall pass, ” i keep telling myself. i’m so tired of being sick. i set the intention that my body may heal. now i wait.

laser peel recovery – day IV & V

sunday morning i wake up with the area around my eyes scarily red and swollen. my fire-gig make-up from last night, was definitely NOT a good idea. the skin around my eyes also seems to have been chafed off by the goggles.

i’m scared.

the painkillers don’t seem to make much of a difference – i’m beginning to understand how people get hooked on pain medication.

i follow the printed instructions i’ve been given and put on some sun-block which promptly gets in my eyes, making them tear and swell up even more. mid morning i decide to try some ice-packs on my face, but when i remove them, the skin around my eyes comes off with the cloth.


i take more painkillers. my eyes will not stop tearing and the whole area seems to get more and more swollen. i’m beginning to be really scared that the edema won’t subside in time for work on tuesday. lasz gets some take out so that i don’t have to worry about cooking.

i take 2 synapforte every 3 to 4 hours. in the afternoon i chase it with a stiff whisky. nothing helps to alleviate the pain and extreme discomfort.

monday morning i wake up to this:

i call dr. CENSORED and he tells me to come see him. next i call the production manager at work to give her a heads up. lasz has been taking as much care of me as he can. he drives me to CENSORED while i hold a scarf draped over my head, both for sun-protection and to spare passers-by the sight of my, to me, scary looking face. i look like i’ve taken some heavy punches and then rasped with a grater. i feel like i’m in purdah. i look like husband-killer, najwa petersen.

Najwa Petersen

at the clinic, i’m bustled through the waiting room and into a back-room, before the owner, CENSORED, settles me in the doctor’s office. i’m sure i’m not a good advertisement for the clinic at this particular moment. dr. CENSORED is booked up so i wait while he finishes his appointment. i’m sure he’s as surprised as i am at the state of my face, but we both agree that the fire-dancing gig might not have been a good idea. he gives me some more of the antiseptic yellow powder (bismuth subgallate) to put around my eyes and give me another script for pulmison (the south african version of prednisone), which  will help to bring down the swelling. he seems to think i’ll be okay to shoot tomorrow, though i have to say i’m not feeling as optimistic.

i leave the office and people stare as i walk holding my scarf so that my face is entirely covered. i feel like michael jackson. Michaeljacsonabaya

hey, it’s thriller-time!thriller.jpg

i speak to the production manager and she rearranges the schedule so that my call time is a few hours later tomorrow. the make-up department will have their hands full. my face is still exceedingly swollen and it feels like someone has grabbed hold of the area around my eyes with some heavy-duty sand-paper and will not let go.

in the bathroom at the gig saturday night, i have an interesting conversation with a woman who gasps when she sees my raw face as i take off my make-up.

“why didn’t you just say no?”, she says when i explain that i’ve had a laser peel and that i have the flu, but i performed in any case.

“but i gave my word,” i reply.

“yes, but you could have pulled out even in the last 5 minutes,” she says.

“but i gave my word, ” i reply to her bemused expression.

as she leaves, she commends me for being so  much more a woman of my word than she’d ever be. it’s my turn to be bemused. surely honoring one’s word is the norm, or at least should be. i at least always try to do what i say i will – you  know, walking one’s talk.

yes, i might not have all these complications with my healing, but actually having my word be my bond, is more important to me.

anyway, as everyone keeps saying, “let’s hope it’s worth it!”.

i’ll keep you posted folks!

right now i’d just like to look like myself again.