Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Tribute to Folk Medicine, If in a Snotty Sort of Way

I've been under the weather this past week. Friday, until most of Tuesday, I was in bed just trying to breathe. Finally, on Tuesday, I went to the doctor. (Or, rather, I could finally get an appointment thanks to the town's overwhelmingly overbooked health care providers.)

In my doctor's words, I was "knocking on bronchitis or pneumonia's door." Along with amoxicillin, she prescribed Mucinex, regular irrigation of my nasal passages, and gargling with warm water five times a day. All of this is to loosen the congestion in my head and chest -- and it all results in some really disgusting behavior.

The point of these activities is to get me to get rid of the slimy germiness that has taken over my respiratory system. Basically, my goal for the next week is to blow, spit, and cough up as much snot as possible. Fun.

Another woman used to prescribe activities to accomplish these very same results.

My Great-grandma Defa would have smeared me with J.R. Watkins Apothecary Menthol Rub and wrapped my chest (soooo tightly) with a hot, moist towel instead of telling me to pop two Mucinex tablets a day. And she would have made her awesome chicken soup with homemade kluski noodles instead of tracking down Amoxicillin.

But she would also prescribe the nasal irrigation and the gargling with warm, salty water. She'd tell me I had to "spit out the snot." Anyone who knows me knows I don't have the stomach or gag reflexes for this, so I'd throw a fit and fight her until she'd exhibit the strength that comes with a ranching woman and pin me down. (And she could do this without ever hurting a hair on my head, breaking a sweat, or losing her composure.) My Great-grandma knew what she was doing.

I really miss her. Especially her hands, I always miss her hands. They were surprisingly soft for a rancher.

I wish I could visit with her, sitting next to the fire, even if I have been gagging for the past two days.

1 comment:

  1. When I was much younger,whenever I had a sore throat, my father would tell me to gargle with warm, salt water, and I would always blow him off. Until one day I had the worst sore throat ever. I finally gave in and gargled.

    I humbly called him and said, That gargling thing really works. His reponse was, "Of course it does. That's what I've been telling you for years."

    Nothing like the gentle comfort of a loved one.


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