Gary and I recently watched a report about the flu and it mentioned that many of us older folks are probably immune because we were exposed to a related strain of it when we were children. I’m not sure that I’m quite “old enough” according to the report, but it got me to thinking about the many diseases I survived as a child and the many “home remedies” my mother and grandmother used to cure us.
I don’t know if it was due to poor timing, or lack of money, but I don’t remember getting many vaccines as a child, except the polio ones. We were one of the first groups of our friends to eat the little sugar cubes and I remember going to a temporary clinic set up in an empty building of some sort. I actually knew a child in an iron lung so I was all in favor of that vaccine.
I contracted most of the other childhood diseases- mumps, measles, chicken pox, rubella- and survived, mostly due to the diligent nursing skills of my mother. She was always there with bleach, soup, Vicks, aspirin, Pepto Bismol, and cod liver oil. When I think of some of the things she did it is a wonder we lived through childhood, much less diseases! J
One of mom’s favorite cures for anything respiratory was “the tent”. She boiled Vicks in a pan of water and then set it on a box. We sat around it on the floor while she held a sheet around and over us. I must say she was devoted because she was always inside with us, soothing and talking while our eyes burned and our lungs cleared. I think it now says right on the label that you aren’t supposed to heat Vicks. And of course I went to bed many a night with Vicks slathered on my chest.
Aspirin was the only medicine I ever remember taking for anything. With all the knowledge and warnings we have now I guess I dodged the bullet on this one too. We took it for headaches, colds, fever, aches and pains.
Mom used bleach to clean anything and everything, including us. I stepped on a piece of barbed wire once (while rescuing my brother from the barn roof!!!) and it lodged in my toe. Mom doused it with bleach while Dad pulled it out with the pliers! No ER for us!
I seldom complained of a stomach ache as a child. I knew the cures- either the oily nasty stuff or the pink nasty stuff. “No thanks. I feel fine.”
We are now blessed with more medical advice than anyone can use. We have ads on television. We have the internet. We have special doctors and emergency clinics. We have a dizzying array of medications available. But I’d still like to call my mom when I’m sick. She was a pretty good nurse.