I’ve been sort of sick since last weekend. I say “sort of” because I’ve had a nagging, hacking cough, headache, and general blah feeling, but nothing serious enough to keep me in bed. No fever, so I’ve managed to drag myself to work each day.
Being sick always reminds me of my childhood. I’m not sure if it was because we were poor, or because my father secretly wanted to be a doctor, but my parents definitely believed in “home remedies”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve endured the “Vicks cure”. First my mother would boil water and Vicks VapoRub. Then she would put a sheet over a couple of chairs and make a tent. We would sit on the floor with the pan of Vicks water and breath until she thought we sounded better. (I say “we” because my oldest brother and I usually ended up sick at the same time.) Of course by that time our eyes were burning!
I swallowed cod liver oil so often I can’t even think about it without gagging. We got an aspirin for any pain, and Pepto Bismol for any upset. Fever meant being wrapped in cold, wet sheets like a mummy or dipped into a tub of cold water. Itching?- baking soda paste.
Dad also seemed to think that Merthiolate cured any scratch or scrape. If it didn’t…well there was always bleach. Dad never did any actual surgery, but if you had a problem that wasn’t going to require more that one stitch, he’d whip out his pocket knife and dip it in bleach. Look out! I stepped on a piece of barbed wire once and he not only dug out the prong, he soaked my foot in bleach for an eternity! I don’t remember what he put on my brother’s foot after he removed a rose thorn from the top of it. I just remember the screaming.
I guess removing teeth doesn’t qualify as surgery. If you yank something out with pliers that isn’t exactly a science. I remember hiding under the porch once so Dad wouldn’t find out that I had a loose tooth. No wonder I hate dentists!
‘Course Dad knew his limitations. I went to a real doctor when I broke my arm and when I stepped on a broken wine bottle. My brother went when he fell into a trash fire. But if we just had an ache or pain or childhood illness there was bound to be a home remedy for it. If not, Dad would invent one!