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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Have No Formal Medical Training, But I'd Be Happy To Take A Look At It For You...

My parents did not believe in doctors. The sooner you got over the idea that there would be medical attention, the better – unless, of course, you couldn’t stop the bleeding.

Then we’d see about going to a doctor.

They weren’t ogres, after all.

I’m not sure where they got this idea, that healthcare was optional, but it prevails in me, still: Do you think you can walk on it? Does the affected site appear to be gangrenous? Does it hurt when I do this? You can? It doesn’t? Are you sure?

Well then what in the world are you complaining about? Get back to work!

I have a number of theories based on a number of their theories. Of course, that’s all part of the book and if I give it all away now, you'll cease to respect me; and having been sworn to secrecy (by myself - and we know how strict I can be) until the damn thing is published, what I can tell you is that you should never admit to having any sort of pain around my father.

He’s not a bad man.

He’s a funny man.

Or so he would have you believe.

“Your throat hurt? Come ‘ere, come ‘ere.”

For cryin’ out loud! Don’t go! He’s going to offer to stomp on your foot.

Why would he stomp on your foot? Oh, you know – so that you’ll forget about the pain in your throat…

He wouldn’t really stomp on your foot – he’s not that kind of guy. But he is the kind of guy that will offer to do it, and sometimes that’s all it takes…

My mother had her own pet theories regarding how to cure illness, one of which centered around the belief that you are never too sick to get up and clean the house.

Bear in mind, of course, that I’m not talking genuine disease (although I do have distant, fevered and perhaps fully imagined memories of vacuuming with the mumps). I’m talking about colds, headaches, stomach upset. These kinds of illnesses may keep you from going to school, but they will not dismiss you from helping out around the house, missy.

I mean, you weren’t just planning on laying there, getting better, were you? No, no, no. That’s not what we do! We’re working people, for cryin’ out loud! Get up! You can lay there when you’re dead. For now, we’re going to need some help drying these dishes.

Yes, yes. Don’t get me started on the need to “dry” dishes.

The lessons of our youth carry forward, of course; and while I’m not above calling in “sick” to work (purely for mental-health reasons, you understand),should I ever become truly, honestly sick, you will not find me doing nothing.

Now that I think of it, that’s probably a sickness in and of itself.

Wonder what Dad would say about that…

27 comments:

Bossy Betty said...

My parents were much the same way. It always freaked me out when they actually showed compassion because then I KNEW I was neat death!

Georgina Dollface said...

I think a lot of people from our generation were probably raised this way. The downside of it is that these are the same people who now insist on coming to work when they are sick, yucky germs and all, and then everyone in the whole office ends up sick. Yuck, yuck, yuck. - G

Kate Mohler said...

This was pretty funny! So good, in fact, that I shared it with all of Facebook. So, look for a surge in readers from my place in the world. You're a good writer...keep it up! :-)

MJenks said...

I took a number of biology and chemistry courses during my college years whilst getting a degree in chemistry with a minor in biology.

I once thought about going to pharmacy school (a decision I am now ruing for NOT making), but never showed even the slightest inkling of wanting to go to med school.

And yet, my mother calls me up and asks what she should do about various illnesses and maladies that plague her.

My default response now is "I'm not a doctor. I've had zero medical training. You should ask your doctor."

"Yeah, but you make pills," she says (I have never, once, made a drug...though I did have my hands on some stuff that later went into clinical trials).

Sometimes, I wish I could stomp on her foot to make it all go away.

Fred Miller said...

My dad had a Buick with a big block 455 in it. He could cover the 13 miles to the hospital in about six minutes with a collar bone poking your lung every time you sailed over a railroad track. That was only for emergencies, though. He would pull your tooth with a wet pliers flecked with cow manure. It was an honor. Good post, Pearl. Brought back memories.

The Fred Effect

Anonymous said...

And let us not forget Mom's (mine included) who would look at your boo-boo, spit in a hankie, and then wipe the cut clean with their mucus...good times.

Yankee Gal

Vicki said...

Nothing a little peroxide, triple antibiotic and a good, tight band-aid won't take care of.

diane rene said...

oh this post made me laugh!

I have to admit that I am that mom. my kids know if we need to go to the doctor that it will mean a MINIMUM of two weeks out of soccer, and that is the LAST thing they want to give up. don't know why, but it always results in that. so the question I ask when they complain about a pain or ailment is ...

"does it hurt bad enough to go to the doctor?"

Simply Suthern said...

My mom's dad broke her jaw extracting a tooth so she never witheld professional medical care from us. Thats not to say we saw the best doctors. She learned to give shots(on the dog) so she gave us our allergy shots and our dentist was Methuselah's older brother. Shaky hands and no pain killer. We survived and as soon as I collect enuff soda cans for the copay I am going to take my young'in to the doctor to check out that lip fungus.

Douglas said...

I feel for you, Pearl, my parents were totally unlike that. My father would simply frown and say "You don't look sick to me" even if you were green as pea soup. My mother, on the other hand, had no problem letting me stay home from school if I had a fever. The only medical abilities she had were taking temperatures and pulling splinters out with dirty tweezers.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

greetings, pearl! what a fantastic blog you have here - i've come by several times and found it so great i couldn't resist following along - a great fun and refreshing place you've created! and today's post no exception to all the others! have a glorious day and thanks so much for visiting my little campfires - please come again and often - there are several little fires to warm the spirit over my way! welcome!

Lisa said...

Yes! My dad was famous among the neighborhood kids for telling us to go play in the traffic. And my mother made sure the cure was worse than the illness. And did you just say you were bored? Let me give you something to do.

Some of these lines have been used in my own house.

Ms Sparrow said...

Now when I was a kid, wound care consisted of the application of iodine or mercurichrome. This was rough stuff and not for sissies. It felt like vinegar! You only got a bandaid if you kept bleeding. So, when we fell and skinned our knees on the cinder driveway, we'd just brush it off and stay away from mom!

Sarah said...

Good thing they don't think Windex cures it all!

a Broad said...

My father looked terrified of anyone was hurt, bleeding or burning up with fever, my mother got this glint in her eye because she always knew she was a doctor, deep down inside.
My brother and I were often her lab rats.
I learned early on, never admit that anything hurts.
If you have to cough, but a pillow over your face first.
Of course, my brother had to go and fall and need stitches a few times but even she knew better than to get out her sewing kit.
But I do remember being allowed to lol around and be pathetic when I was sick .. no dishes to dry.

Sam Liu said...

Ahh parents...they're an odd sort, aren't they? Though I'm sure your mother and father we're only doing what's best for you. After all, their actions were surely guided by love :)

Cheeseboy said...

I bet your freezer was full of ice at the ready. That's what we should do for a national health care plan - just get a giant freezer of ice and put it in Nebraska for when we get hurt.

Unfinished Rambler said...

Our family was the opposite of yours, in that we were hypochondriacs, would look up everything that was wrong with us and then proclaim that we had it, whatever the "It" of the moment was. Most of the time, it would end with the "C" word. While sadly two of my grandfathers did die of it, it wasn't like that just because we coughed, we had it.

Herding Cats said...

My dad was so like that - so "meh" when it came to healthcare. My mom, on the other hand, FREAKED out when we sneezed!

Pearl said...

Betty, that was the joke around our house as well, that you must surely be dying if any displays of tenderness are shown!

Georgina, I would never come to work, sick. This I can promise! In fact, there’s a “sick” little part of me that looks forward to a small cold or two during the winter – just for the indulgence of doing nothing!

Kate, hi! Yep, spotted you out there in blogburg as well! And thank you!

MJenks, I just knew you had a big brain!
Maybe she you should stomp on her foot – perhaps the woman needs distraction.

Fred, sounds like Dad has the skillz.

Yankee Gal, come to think of that, I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mother spit on anything. There was an array of things (and I thank God for this) that my mother just did not do.

Vicki, exactly.

diane rene, you have to be practical! There are times when heat alternating with cold followed with a little rest and a pill of some sort is all that’s needed.

Simply, hey, I know that dentist! Big nose? Is excited about this new thing they got by the name of Novocaine?

Douglas, I think a lot women enjoy a good sliver hunt. I have no idea why that is.

GypsyWoman, thank you – I like you’re referring to my blog as “refreshing”. You’ll be seeing me around your place!

Lisa, ha! I’ll give you something to do!
You had to stay sharp! One stray look of boredom and you could find yourself with a dust rag in your hand.

Ms. Sparrow, sometimes you had to just run it off.

Sarah, but it would clear up the skin! Ha ha!

A Broad, oddly enough, my mother did not do well with blood. She was a paradox, that woman!

Sam Liu, their actions surely were of love. And continue to be!

Cheeseboy, oh that is a wonderful idea. Shoot – what are we doing with Nebraska now, anyway? Ha ha!

Unfinished, the very opposite!

Herding, I think it was the era. They figured – and rightly so – that the bulk of what was ever going on were things that could be done at home. My mother, after all, was actually born at home (before being born at home was cool, ha ha).

jenn said...

I grew up in a military family, so our medical care was free. I had to be careful or any mention of a sore throat or stomach pain was liable to end up with me in the doctor's office, when all I really wanted was a day off of school.

reasonably chubby said...

You're parents are my soul mates. I always wondered when/where I would meet him...er, I mean them. I am anti doctor by nature, I never believe what they tell me and I always think they're up to no good. They are OUT TO GET ME! I have no idea where I developed this mindset--probably from your mom and dad. :}

Tempo said...

Glad to hear your readership is going upward, every now and then I put a link on my Facebook page as I guess others would do as well, glad to see it's paying off.
It must be that whole 'after WW2, after the depression' generation...fertile ground for some blogs

Eva Gallant said...

love it! Much like my parents!

medical billing training said...

I also have a number of theories based on a number of their theories.

Meri said...

My parents would take me to the doctor when they thought I was sick, but they didn't think my arm was broken. . . . until a couple of days later when it was all purple and swollen beyond recognition. Better late than never.

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Your Dad sounds a lot like my Dad, but my Mom was the one who diagnosed a brain tumor every time I had a headache. I mutated into a blend of the two, so I am the Mom who didn't take my child to the doctor for a week when he had a broken bone. In my defense, it was a hairline fracture and I thought it was just jammed, but I still feel awful about it! And I misdiagnose him with other stuff all the time. Oh well, it gives him something to talk to his therapist about.