Boomer Folk Medicine 3/4/23

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Today a second friend told me that she was sick in the past week or so.  Maybe something is going around, I don’t know, but both of them were having trouble with vomiting and diarrhea.  So I said the same thing to both of them, the same thing I always say.  “Why are you texting me?  I don’t want to catch it!!”

Back when I was growing up (yes, technically, I am a proverbial “boomer”), my family used to say things like, “well, if it doesn’t start growing back by next week, maybe we’ll go to the hospital.”  Then I would black out for a few weeks, only to discover that they forgot to take me.  I don’t mean to imply that we were in any way tougher than kids today, but we certainly didn’t freak out just because we found a velociraptor in the outhouse.  We just patiently waited our turn until it was done. 

We did, however, have certain ways of handling things.  The biggest danger with vomiting, diarrhea or both is dehydration, but the problem is that even water can be difficult to keep down.  So, we had Seven-Up.  You know me; I really don’t like using name brands, but here I think it’s appropriate, although apparently Sprite also works if that’s your preference.  But you don’t just grab one out of the fridge.  But not diet.  They have to be the original sugary drink.

There are two keys to using either one of these products when you’re ill.  First, make sure that they are room temperature.  This isn’t about flavor (one of my friends complained that she prefers it cold).  Room temperature 7-Up or Sprite is easier on your stomach.  Second, and for the same reason, let it go flat.  Yes, it will taste sweeter, but not only is this easier on the system, but it also helps to reduce the acidity of the drink a bit. 

Warm and flat Sprite or 7-Up is a clear liquid, and it does get at least some fluid into your system, and the sugar in the flat pop will help you keep your energy up as well.  But don’t drink it.  Leave it by your bed AS YOU SLEEP and take a periodic sip of it when you awaken from time to time.  It’s not a cure, but trust me, it will help. 

When I was a kid, we also kept Coca-Cola syrup in the medicine cabinet.  I don’t know what it was for.  If memory serves, it was for sour stomach, but I honestly don’t remember ever using it.  Now that I think about it, I wonder if it had cocaine in it.  Probably not, since cocaine was eliminated from the formula in the first decade of 1900, but it did look very old.  Unless it was a hand-me-down from one of my parent’s households from when they were a kid, it was probably just the sugary syrup.  According to the web, you can still get it, and it is used for nausea. 

I should bring a bottle of it on my dates.

Speaking of nausea, have you ever wondered why classy joints give you mints after a meal?  Somehow, it’s just satisfying to refer to fancy ass restaurants as “classy joints”.  Anyway, mint is a natural treatment for sour stomachs.  Mints, sometimes chocolates and sometimes hard candies, keep you from throwing up on your way out of the door.  Okay, that might be a bit extreme, but it does help settle your stomach. 

If you’re suffering with a sour stomach, mint will help alleviate it.  It can be a chocolate candy mint, like the one that takes you away and leaves you abandoned on the top of the mountain with no way of getting home, or a hard candy that they give you for stank breath.  Don’t eat too much of it, though.  An excess of chocolate won’t feel good and will weigh heavily in your stomach if you’re ill, as will the starch used to hold together the hard candies.  Just a few mint candies is all you need, and in a while you can have more if you like.

Most importantly, if it doesn’t start growing back in a few weeks, go see your doctor.  Actually, as with your kids, monitor your temperature if you have a fever.  If it gets too high (say around 103 Fahrenheit, or 39.4 Celsius), call your doctor.  And if diarrhea or vomiting lasts for more than a day, you should also call.  All kidding aside, dehydration is a serious matter. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.