Doctoring Without A License

FringeKid may become the first professional in my family to practice medicine with a license.  I am thrilled with the idea of free medical care, because I know that one day I will find myself using Bengay more frequently than deodorant.  Now she is not the first female in my family to be drawn to medicine.  The matriarchs of the FringeFamily have passed down the ‘white lab coat’ chromosome for generations.  Unfortunately a license is not immediately gifted upon birth; however, we have not allowed national regulations to stop us from diagnosing and treating common illnesses.

I wanted to be a doctor until I started losing my hair over math tests, so I got a degree in English.  Although I use words more than a stethoscope, I can hear a wheeze from three blocks away.  When my daughter was only two, I impressed the pediatrician with my ability to diagnose a breathing problem.  She told me that I had detected what many doctors would miss.

One day FringeMan came home complaining of a possible heart-attack.  I carefully examined him and diagnosed an asthma attack.  He scoffed, but two weeks later (let’s hope it wasn’t his heart), the doctor confirmed my diagnosis and prescribed the same medicine that I use myself.

The primary difference between the doctoring of my ancestors and my own medical skills is that I merely diagnose.  When I was a child, my family used treatments that would make a witch doctor proud.

If my throat hurt, my grandmother would open the freezer.  Before I knew what was happening, a dead pig would wrap my pained throat in hopes of drawing out poison.  I wonder if Dr. Oz uses salted pork to cure sore throats?

I spent at least half of my childhood with an elevated alcohol level.  It’s shocking that I have not used Chardonnay in my kid’s sippy cup.  Have you read Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay?  Me either, but the title is catchy.  At the first sign of cough, a Tupperware container would appear and you would get a spoonful of a sweet and warming home concoction.  To this day, I am unsure of the ingredients, but I know it included honey and a shot of something that came from a bottle hidden on the top shelf of a dark cabinet.  I subsequently slept through the first ten years of my childhood.

My kids have no idea what they have escaped.

Needless to say that while blood poured from a young man’s head and pooled on the floor of an examining room, I did not expect my daughter to say, “You know, I think I’d like to work in the Emergency Room.”

Those Trauma ER shows are some of my favorite to watch and while my son turns his head in horror, my daughter sits perched and waiting to see a live surgical procedure.  I am so happy.  If I can get her past second grade spelling, she may just make it through medical school.

Did your family use any home remedies?

What do your kids want to be when they grow up?


15 thoughts on “Doctoring Without A License

  1. Pingback: It’s All in my Head « the domestic fringe

  2. Pingback: Ugly Shoes & BLT’s « the domestic fringe

  3. elizabeth

    That is too funny! My grandmother believed that most ailments could be cured by either castor oil or an enema. She also was a big fan of the “eye cup” — a glass cup that you filled with water and shaped to your eye if you got something stuck in it. That pig thing, however, is too, too much!

  4. Sara

    This brought back sooo many memories for me! I had a splinter in a foot that got wrapped in bacon and aluminum foil one night. Chigger bites got doused with Clorox (I can still feel the sting) and my parents put whiskey in my bottle to help me sleep at night! I, too, like to practice diagnosing conditions with my English Education degree. My husband makes fun of me all the time! Thanks for this post. It was great!!

  5. Trina

    My Grandmother was a firm believer in naturopathy. Her Grandfather was a doctor who often prescribed naturopathic remedies. So I’ve grown up with it and prescribe to it as well. I’ve always been into healthy living so my husband gets an earful on just about everything health related! Whether he wants it or not! Trina

  6. Jill

    I don’t think you’ll have a problem unless you start mistaking the bengay for deodorant! My family was very practical–go to the doctor and treat with “real” medicine. My mil? Well, You know that song “I told the witch doctor …”. She used all sorts of silly (and in my mind, dangerous) concoctions to treat different ailments. Of the more mild remedies, she would prick open a Vitamin E capsule to use the oil on a cut while I wondered what was wrong with the antibiotic ointment in the bathroom cabinet. I think she also slept through most of her childhood.

  7. Lynne

    Oh yes, how I remember the good ol’days. We stopped using salted pork after my grand mother passed away. Can you remember the heal- all called HOBOKO? That was from your great grandparents and grandma’s generation. We would get them in case loads. Didn’t taste bad at all.

  8. Gabriela

    Oh boy, did WE ever use home remedies! (and I still do) How about 1:1 ratio of iodine and glycerin to swab over an inflammed strep throat? Still works like a charm. How about gargling with whiskey or tequila and then alternating the gargling with ice cold water? Bacteria don’t like the harsh change in temperature. Oh wait, I have a good one: take half a lemon and burn the cut side on an open flame until relatively blackened, then apply directly (and carefully) to your mosquito bites. It will kill the itch completely.

    When my daughter was 4 she proudly announced that when she grows up she wants to be a “kitty”. When she was 5 she looked me adoringly and ever so lovingly informed me that: “Mama, when I grow up, I want to be just like….Daddy!”

    She’s now decided to be President (of the U.S.)

  9. Sydney

    My three year old says he wants to be Dr Dave (his pediatrician) when he grows up.

    Home remedy for an upset tummy, Tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of warm water, guaranteed to either make you belch like a drunken sailor or throw up and sometimes both! Woo hoo. NOT! But you really do feel better after purging.


  10. Tammy

    My Dad’s home remedy for anything having to do with the throat be it a cough, wheezing, or sore throat was peach brandy and honey warmed on the stove. I can still see him in the middle of the night making that concoction. It tasted good and a restful sleep followed. For both us and our parents! I can’t get my kids to drink it. They honey.

  11. David

    This is great! Good luck to FringeKid with her medical career! I see a lot of potential!

    Not too many home remedies that I can think of. I did learn one little trick many years ago. To get rid of hiccups, eat a sweet pickle. It works! Usually instantly. It’s not voodoo, though. There is actually a physiological reason why the combination of vinagar and sugar in a sweet pickle gets rid of hiccups. But I don’t try to understand the science behind it, I just know it works.

    But, for the record, I’d rather have Chardonnay!


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