Consider a country continually under attack from invading armies. That country would certainly develop the best forces possible to counter that attack. The same with living bodies. Being a smoker for 30-odd years, made my body develop an effective fighting force to deal with the invasive gunk.
So, what happens when the enemy leaves overnight? Packs up its weapons of health destruction and quits; tar barrels, nicotine and all. Gone, cold turkey…
You can’t disband the army over night! It turns its attention to any minor criminal that happen to be hanging around. Over-kill. Where a pair of plods would do, a brigade is sent out to deal with the poor little bruise, the minor scratch, a bit of sunburn…
Five days of non-smoking while wrestling with cerebral malaria will help to make it seem like a good idea to quit altogether. Okay, done. Not easily, mind, but done and adhered to from that day to this.
However, a week after that, I climbed a tree to string a wire aerial for a radio up in a huge raintree on the Water Africa plot that was still our home at the time. Shirtless, I was literally tree-hugging and picked up a few minor abrasions on my chest.
The Antibody Army attacked. My chest hide swelled up to resemble a Roman soldier’s breastplate! If I walked barefoot, the bruising that hitherto I would not even have noticed, would summon the troops and my feet would swell with occupying forces.
(Sheila’s nephew, Andy Maling, soon recovered from the accident and stayed on with us while we took Nicholas back to South Africa as his own vehicle was a write-off. We hoped to get work and resident’s permits for Andy when we made him a director of a shelf-company we bought for Sheila. Given a list of names to choose from at Price Waterhouse, they were both tickled pink to select DEAD MULE TRADING.)
Andy and I, with some Maun friends, went in one 4×4 to Nxai Pan National Park for a day to see the game there. I was on the open back of the truck on the way back, inevitably getting a little sun burned. The next day I could not see due to a very swollen face. I drove to work with my fingers pushing the swelling away so that I could see the road with one eye.
The effects reduced gradually, with time, but took about two years before the phenomenon finally stopped altogether. At the time, I entertained thoughts of starting to smoke again just to give the Army something to do, but now seriously pleased that I did not. A medical doctor listened to my explanation in amazement, but he admitted that there was likely some merit to it.
After several months of waiting for his permits, Andy finally gave up and returned to South Africa. However, he enjoyed his stay and his experiences in the Okavango Delta.