24 January 2007

Home Remedies

The other day, I left a post on another person's blog, about something that happened to me as a kid. I thought it was kinda funny, but she sent me an e-mail that made me realize how weird/funny/shocking it could be, depending on your viewpoint. Since I have been spending this week recovering from something that I thought I had "cured" all by myself last week, I thought it would make for an amusing post.

So yes, today's topic is "Home Remedies." I'm afraid that mine was really boring - I took aspirin, drank lots of fluids, especially water, and took it easy. It worked for about 5 days, then this past weekend BAM! my home remedy was mocked by the whole thing returning full force. I got a couple of prescriptions from the nurse practitioner at my doctor's office, and she warned me that one of them would likely make me "a little dizzy" until I had a couple of them in my system. (She was right, if "a little dizzy" means you are totally incapable of taking more than two steps without nearly falling - to quote my mother - "ass over tin cup.")

And speaking of my mother, I must tell you that most of the following home remedies were hers. She got them from her mother, and her grandmother. (I have no idea where they got them, though I have to think it was from a person with stock in a distillery in Ireland ...)

If you have an upset stomach, drink two sips of creme de menthe. I could never decide if the liqueur itself helped your stomach settle, or if the shock of the taste of straight creme de menthe made you forget that you felt nauseated ...

My father's remedy for an upset stomach was to eat a pat of butter. Which as far as I was concerned, took care of the upset stomach, since eating a pat of butter was enough to make me throw up everything I'd eaten since I'd been born.

For cold sores in your mouth, you should take a Q-tip and dab them with vinegar for two days. I can guarantee that this will really WAKE YOU UP first thing in the morning. But oddly enough, it does seem to work.

To keep you from coughing all night, keep a glass of wine (preferably red) next to your bed. When you wake up coughing, sip the wine. It knocks you out enough to go back to sleep.

For chest or head congestion, the remedy is Hot Tea. No, not hot tea, but Hot Tea. This consisted of half hot tea with half whiskey, and a touch of lemon if you were doing well enough to be able to afford lemons at the time.

Another one of my father's tricks, when he would get a splinter, would be to wrap a strip of bacon around it. The grease from the bacon would eventually make the splinter slide out. (My sisters and I were more willing to take our chances with the sterilized needle theory of my mother. The dog, however, thought my father's solution was an excellent idea.) My mother was always highly annoyed by my father using bacon to treat a splinter, since "there's not a damn thing you can do with a used piece of bacon" (the dog disagreed).

If you had a sty in your eye, my mother claimed that you needed another person with a blessed wedding ring (meaning, blessed by a priest in a Catholic church wedding), to take off their ring and make the Sign of the Cross onto the sty. (One of my sister's friends got in trouble for this. She let my mother "treat" her sty, and when it cleared up, she mentioned it to her mother, who flew into a rage because she was convinced that my mother was trying to convert her daughter. Medicine can be a dangerous field ...)

Like most kids, I never thought twice about these things, until the time I went to a friend's house for a sleepover. I think it was probably about second grade. I had been getting over a cold, and still had a cough. When we were going to bed, the friend's mother asked if I had brought cough syrup with me, to which I replied that all I needed was a glass of wine next to my bed! Well, the friend's mother called my mother, and who knows what transpired between them. But when I got home the next day, my mother said the next time, she would send me with cough syrup, and that I should remember that "not everyone believes in wine"!

On a related note, I didn't get asked to any more sleepovers. Go figure.


teabird said...

Maybe if you had brought a bottle of wine to sleepovers, you'd have been a very welcome guest indeed!

As for the butter and the bacon, both could substitute for syrup of ipecac. Yow. The cure would, indeed, be worse than the ailment.

Lorette said...

I still think the wine-sleepover story is the funniest thing I've ever heard! A version of Hot Tea was also used in my family, except it was Hot Lemonade: hot water, lemon juice, honey, and a healthy shot of whiskey. It'll cure what ails you, or at least make it so you don't care that you're sick.
Riley likes the bacon remedy.

Anonymous said...

We firmly believe in bourbon and Coke for whatever ails you: cold feet, the sniffles, dirty dishes, a computer crash, cramps. Penicillin, I mock thee. :-)

Carol said...

I'm hysterical over here! The Creme de Menthe though, I remember. Peppermint is good for upset tummy! I will have to try the wine by the bed though, sounds good. Were you ever told what's good for hot flashes? Not being sarcastic, I really need to know!

KSD said...

Brilliant! And very funny. . .

Carol said...

My mom believed in coke syrup (just the syrup, not the soda version) for upset stomachs.

But you know, Bridget, you really are a freakazoid.

Anonymous said...

Having grown up with poor southern ancestors, all of these remedies, I am very familar with. Love the sleepover story!

My sister had her third grade teacher call home to discuss "family matters". My father had gotten a pair of binnoculars for his birthday as we lived in the country and he was really in bird watching. The first day he got them, he sat on the porch for hours and my mom called him in for dinner by saying that "the neighbors were going to call him a peeping tom if he didn't come in and eat". We could not see our neighbors so it was obviously a joke. But, my sister went to school and told everyone my father was a peeping tom. So, mom gave us that same family discussion........he, he.