Medicine chest museum

Isn’t it awful the amount of upset tummies and flu doing the rounds just now?

I don’t know whether the reason is to do with the changeable weather we’ve had lately, the lack of rain or what, but certainly quite a number of our friends have severe colds or have been bitten by the dreaded tummy bug.

I must admit that it is not often that I open the medicine chest so it was a bit of a shock to discover what was in it when I went in search of some sort of remedy the other day.

It is extraordinary how the bottles, jars and tubes multiply. It is rare, even unique, for a bottle of medicine to be quite finished – that is for the last drop to be poured out.

Somewhere about the halfway mark, an urgent salve is deemed either to have served or failed in its purpose and is therefore abandoned.Therein lies the problem.

A strange belief exists that the malady might return and restrains the hand that would otherwise have thrown the beastly stuff away.

Here is where the medicine chest comes into its own.

The bottle or tube goes on to a shelf and passes into oblivion. As the family grows up, the medicine chest begins to burst at the seams, crammed with a fantastic array of purges, tonics, cough syrups and little boxes of pills.

Unless the primary object of providing something in an emergency has been firmly kept in view, the cupboard will have taken on the function of a museum piece rather than a first-aid post.

The “mixture” in the broad-shouldered bottle which stood guard beside the bed of a victim of measles years ago, now rests beside a jar of ointment that was prescribed so long ago that no-one in the household rightly knows whether it was for a strained ligament or an infantile rash.

Next to it, in a round box and resting on stained cotton wool, are some pink pills, but whether they were used for the youngest son’s mumps or father’s indigestion is a question which can now be answered only by chemical analysis.

An oleaginous liquid in an unlabelled fluted bottle is presumably medicinal but looks like cricket bat oil (which it may very well be) while some tiny lozenges have only been preserved because the bottom of the carton has firmly stuck to the shelf.

So last week was the time to clean out the medicine chest. It had to be done ruthlessly.
Nothing was left except what could be positively identified.

I expect the same thing happens in your household from time to time!


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