Friday, July 9, 2010

Flashback Friday - Medical Memories

Were you prone to accidents and injuries when you were growing up? Did you ever break a bone? Knock out any teeth? Get stitches? Have you ever ridden in the back of an ambulance? Did you ever have surgery or spend any time in a hospital? How did your folks treat injuries and illnesses? With lots of TLC or by telling you to get a stiff upper lip? Was there a particular home remedy that your mom (or dad or whoever!) used or any "traditions" involving injuries or illnesses? What's the worst injury (or illness) you had when you were growing up?

I was such a bookworm that I didn't get too many injuries, but a few experiences do stand out.

In third grade I was a fairly new bike rider. I learned to ride late because I had to grow into the huge (to me) bikes my two older sisters had ridden. We had a really long driveway and at the end by the garage it widened so two cars could park. That made it pretty easy to turn around, but it was a little trickier down by the street. One day I was riding up and down the driveway and my sister (who would have been in 10th grade) would pop out the back door and then the front door to scare me. After several of these, I was determined not to be startled, and as I made the "easy" turn by the garage, instead of watching where I was going, I looked at the back door to see if she was there. And down I went. Smacked my face right into the concrete - bleeding lip and chin, slightly chipped front (permanent) teeth, loosened a baby tooth. She calmly walked around from the front of the house, "Did you fall?" To this day, 40 years later, she will not admit that she was partially responsible for my falling because she distracted me! LOL

My parents were pretty matter-of-fact about injuries. A little crying was permitted, but no carrying on was allowed. I had lots of skinned knees growing up. They always put CamphoPhenique on our cuts. I can almost smell it now. It stung like crazy, but I liked it better than the "monkey blood" (mecurochrome) that the school nurse used!

Other remedies that I'm not sure if they were unique to our family or common for the day were:

  • For mouth ulcers/canker sores: Silver nitrate - you could get it over the counter; it looked like a long match stick. My dad would touch the end of it to the sore and it would basically cauterize it. (Yeah, it burned, but just for a few moments!)
  • For burns: baking soda and vinegar - I think the only benefit was the chemical reaction made it cold; ice makers weren't around yet, and getting one cube out of a metal ice tray was a pain.
  • For sore throats/chest cold: Rub a thick layer of Vicks on your neck or chest, hold a rag over the flame of a gas burner until it is almost too hot to touch, and put the hot rag over the Vicks. Safety pin it at the back of the neck (or to your pajamas) and wear it to bed. (I don't think I have ever known anyone else who did that, but it was my mom's standard procedure!)

The summer before I was in 9th grade, I had my wisdom teeth out. They were impacted and had cysts that would erode my jaw. This was 1975, long before HMO's and day surgeries, and it was a two night stay in the hospital - the night before, and the night after. I was excited about being in the hospital so I could see what the nurses did. What an event that turned out to be. My mom took me to check in around 3:00 that afternoon; the hospital was in downtown Houston. I had a semi-private room the first night and was planning to stay all by myself that night (for the "adventure!") and then move to a private room with a cot for my mom for the second night, after the surgery. There was no one in the other bed that first night, though, which was nice. Dinner came and it was DIS.GUST.ING. Around 5:30, my mom started calling my dad to get him to make me a PB&J sandwich and bring it when he came. Repeated calls got no answer at the house (oh, how nice cell phones would have been!) and she started getting worried. It had rained that day, but the sun was shining downtown, and she couldn't imagine what had happened. On top of that, the TV in my room didn't work so we couldn't see the news.

My mom finally got a call from my sister (who had graduated from UT and was working in Houston) around 8:30 that night telling her that our side of town had flooded - 9 inches of rain in 7 hours. So my mom had to spend the night with me after all. (She spent much of it on the phone with her best friend whose DIL was in labor and trying to get to the hospital! Which was exciting, but the next night when I was miserable and she could hardly wake up to help me, it wasn't so much fun!) Anyway, my dad finally got home from work at midnight - to discover 7 inches of water had gotten inside our house! It had mostly receded but he mopped until 4:00 am then slept a couple of hours before making it to the hospital just as they were taking me to surgery. When I got home, I was glad the wisdom teeth surgery meant I didn't have to help clean the mess of all the stuff that had gotten wet!

Well, that's more than you ever wanted to know of my childhood medical history! Share your flashback and link up here!


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Kathy said...

Good post, Linda. I'd forgotten about some of those old remedies. I came to link up, but there is no link. I'll check back later. Have a great day!

Diana said...

Enjoyed reading your post this morning. Not necessarily when I was a kid because my first broken bone happened just about three years ago. I fell in Florence, Italy and broke my arm.

Kim said...

Okay Deena..there's not too much difference in our age, and I too had all four impacted wisdom teeth out the summer before my 9th grade year. I had it done in an oral surgeon's office. Hmmmm...must be something about the cysts involved.

Either way, brought back painful memories. Boy...I could tell you some tales about the ER and medical procedures! I was a walking disaster!

Kim said...

Okay..Linda... Linda....Linda...

I need another cup of coffee!!

Barbara H. said...

I don't see Mr. Linky: my post is here:

My folks put Vicks on us, too, but not the hot cloth. I was thinking iodine was used for cuts, but maybe it was mercurochrome. I do remember the smell of Campho-Phenique and being so glad when Bactine came out.

I can imagine the stress your parents were under with one child in the hospital and dealing with a flooded house as well.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Mr. Linky seems to be missing. Mine is here:

Beth Zimmerman said...

My husband still thinks Methiolate will cure anything! :)

I completely forgot to include my biking injury! I have a permanent scar on my elbow from a major wipeout when I was 12! And then just as it was healing I went flying off the park merry-go-round and landed on the same elbow tearing it up again!

Cathy said...

We used the Vicks too, but they put in on and under our nose. I hated that stuff then, but we use it now & it really does help. Never used the hot rag though.

Loved the hospital story.

quilly said...

We did the Vicks and dishtowel around the neck thing, but we heated the dishtowel with the steam iron!

skoots1mom said...

haven't had a chance to add my post yet...
but, wanted to say thanks again...I received my books today!!
Some good reading ahead of me, for sure ;)

bp said...

Your first line about being a bookworm made me laugh, Linda! Me too!

I forgot about Vicks. My Mom would put it on my chest or back and feet and then told me to put on socks.