Greetings, Wordpretzels. Sorry about last week, but I was a bit poorly. Of course, because of my amazing constitution, it meant that I had to have a lie down for a couple of hours, whereas others would have been rushed into hospital for a week with tubes and wires hanging out of them. I’m so fortunate. In fact, I didn’t need any specialised medication, just a couple of paracetamol tablets. If I did, it would involve a trip to the doctor’s surgery, which most of you realise is a waste of time. Invariably, you speak to the doctors’ receptionist. These individuals are sent away on special training when they are appointed, to a place where all their social skills, empathy, sympathy and pity are removed. “Hello, I’m having pains in my chest, I think I’m having a heart attack!” “I see. How do you know you’re having a heart attack?” “Well, I’m getting pains in my chest and…” “Never mind. I can make an appointment for you to see the doctor on Tuesday.” “But that’s in six days!! I’ll die!!” “There’s no need to shout..”
So getting medicines in time to make me better was, well, pretty futile. Which reminds me of how medicines were used when I was younger, much to the horror of Lady Barton St Mary, Miss Katherine and Master Johnny. You see, the extended family just shared whatever they were prescribed. Have an ailment? Look in the kitchen cupboard. There must be something that’ll deal with it. When relatives visited and happened to mention they were on medication, it wasn’t unusual for other members of the family to ‘give it a try’. To be fair this was on my father’s side of the family, generally speaking. The medicine would be produced and offered. My grandparents, uncles, aunts and dad, swigging from a bottle of linctus. Of course, as a child, I was omitted from this practice until I was 10 years old. Unless it was cough medicine or linament, which weren’t regarded as ‘proper medicine’. There were of course, other medical remedies that will always stay with me. My mum’s famous kaolin poultices, boiled white hot and applied directly to the skin, drawing all the poison from the wound. Along with most of your soft tissue, bone marrow and sanity. The pain was equivalent to that felt by mum’s mouth ulcer remedy – a paste of kitchen salt and water directly applied to the ulcer, with mum insisting it was for the best over my best screams.
If my Uncle Eddie ever fell ill with a sore throat, cough or cold, he swore by Vick’s Vapour Rub, which he found most effective. He didn’t rub it in of course, that would never be quick enough. Instead, he would swallow down two generous spoonfuls of the stuff. I can still picture him doing this when I was 11 years old. Watching your uncle mainline Vick’s vapour rub is something that doesn’t leave your memory easily. So, sharing medicines was a common practice. I’m just glad that most of my relatives from that era weren’t prescribed the contraceptive pill. The idea of my entire set of uncles and aunts standing around sampling Viagra is a terrifying thought. The same principle seemed to apply to fading eyesight. For a few years, after experiencing the excitement of dad’s laisse faire approach to driving – you know, minor things like steering onto the wrong lane in busy traffic and giving the finger to cars swerving avoid hitting us head on – I visited mum and dad one day to find him wearing spectacles to read the Daily Mail. “Wow dad, you’ve got some glasses!” I exclaimed. “Yep,” he replied, with a faint smile. “When did you get those?” I asked him. “Oh, last week. I found them on the bus.” I think I’m now one of the last surviving members of my family who would still follow the medicine trying practice, which is probably a good thing. Lady Barton St Mary’s family have their own approach to pharmaceutical drugs, in that they don’t take any. The Marquess and Marchioness are strong advocates of homeopathy, which involves taking little drops of water that contains toxins that are diluted to millions of parts of water to one of the toxin. The theory is that if you imbibe these potions, it will give your body immunity from said poison, as water has a ‘memory’ that makes the liquid very powerful. It seems to have the required effect on their patients. But then surely, anybody who swallowed a couple of mouthfuls of water from the local swimming pool would become immortal.