Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Mother’s Day Prescription from Dr. Mom

Your mother may not be the first caretaker you met upon entering this world, but let’s face facts -- her bedside manner far exceeded that of the doctor who yanked you from between her womb, held you up by your ankles and then slapped your butt.

It’s no wonder then that many adults still seek the counsel of Dr. Mom. We do this even though, if she is like The Mother of All Uncoolness, her knowledge of surgical breakthroughs is limited to those procedures performed on Hollywood starlets as reported by the National Enquirer.
Why do we always come back to mama's advice?

Because we figure the lady must onto something. She spent the majority of her life without using seat belts, hand sanitizer or soy milk! She survived despite our childhood attempts at giving her heart failure! She’s Robo-Mom!

Therefore, in honor of Mother's Day this weekend, let's reflect on some medical wit and wisdom that my mom, and probably yours, has dispensed through the years with neither a prescription nor a malpractice suit.

david letterman hairline "Don't go out in this freezing weather with wet hair! You'll get pneumonia!"
In recent years, science – in the form of people with white coats and clipboards paid for by the cough syrup industry – has discredited this theory linking human rhinovirus to damp manes and chilly temperatures. Turns out, moms were right to warn us for a different reason. The icicles that can form in your follicles during these conditions can snap off and hasten the development of the hairline malady called "isolated widow's peak" or, more commonly, "the David Letterman floating isle of hair." Watch for this theory to be debunked soon in a major clinical trial underwritten by the makers of Rogaine.

"Don't forget your rubbers!"
Oh, Mother! Who knew your reminder to use those stretchy overshoes to protect my Buster Browns from the mud and puddles was really a way to ingrain the need for me, in my randier moments later in life, to protect my boy parts from the clap! On the other hand, maybe you were protecting yourself from prematurely being called "Grandma." Either way – well played!

mercuochrome mercury poisioning "Dab some Mercurochrome on it."
For you youngsters, Mercurochrome was the antiseptic of choice for families throughout much of the 20th century. It didn't burn like hydrogen peroxide and it dyed your skin a brilliant orangey red for days. This made even the most minor of scrapes appear bloody and life threatening which totally impressed friends at school. The effect also made Mercurochrome an essential ingredient for any kid's Halloween makeup. Zillions of tiny brown bottles sold later, someone realized the "Mercur" in the name stood for "mercury" and that slathering a toxic metal on an open wound may not be "good." The U.S. Food and Drug Administration snuck in the ban on the domestic sale of Mercurochrome while the nation was obsessed with the intimate revelations about President Clinton's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. In a further insult to American moms (and wives), around the same time the FDA approved the use of Viagra.

"Sometimes you have to be your own doctor."
My mom loves this one. Not for me, but for herself. She uses it to justify occasionally skipping a few handfuls of the 477 medications she's on for high blood pressure, a condition caused by raising my sister and me. "If I take all those pills, I'm running to pee every six-and-half minutes!" she says. Which raises the question: What's more disturbing – the image of one's mom going to the bathroom or the image of her breaking out a stopwatch, calculator and spreadsheet to determine the exact intervals between her goings to the bathroom?

"Let me kiss it and make it better."
No comment. I don't mess with what still works.

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  1. My Mom's best advice?

    "Have a little whiskey before you go to bed. It'll get rid of that cold for you."

  2. Dab o death. BWAHAHAHAHA!

    My mother is the spawn of satan, but when I had my first child, my soon to be mother in law who hated my guts for trapping her son sucked up her righteous indignation long enough to give me one sliver of advice. She said, "remember this: head wounds BLEEEEEED."

    That ended up being the single most valuable thing anyone has EVER told me about children. Damn that woman, being right.

  3. My mom must be seriously cool, because I never got any of that advice!
    Or, maybe she hated me.

  4. Sooo funny, but true! My mother had all sorts of 'advice,' but since we had no choice, I wouldn't call it 'advice.'

    For years, I suffered acid reflux at school because mom forced us to drink orange juice every morning. When I left home, my acid reflux problem disappeared!

  5. The second I had a baby my mother started pushing Ipecac like it was crack...Like I would go down in history as a horrible mother if I didn't have a bottle of Ipecac on every level of the house. To this day - I've never used it.

  6. She spent the majority of her life without using seat belts, hand sanitizer or soy milk!

    LOVE IT.

    And Mecuracrome is childhood defined--complete with a green Mr. Yuk warning label.

  7. Almost Hubs has asked me everyday this week at least 3 times a day what I want for Mother's Day.

    Sadly, I don't think he's putting the backyard lawn back together, or removing the giant pile of loam from in front of the garage so that I can once again park in it.

    I think he's opting for the breakfast in bed and hand made card from the kids yet again. :)

  8. PS. My Mom's best advice...

    "We're all just flying by the seat of our pants here. At best, we just hoped that you guys grew up a little less disfunctional than we did."

    Oddly, that was my grandmother's advice as well.

  9. It wasn't Mom but Grandma who always told me that a hot toddy before bed will get rid of the cold (that I got by going outside in cold weather with wet hair.:)
    It seemed to work when I was a kid. It was either the toddy, good Irish whiskey, or the fact I slept like the dead that did it.

    I laughed at your Mom's advice. Not because it was bad, but because I heard it all when I was growing up.

  10. My mom would never buy "the orange medicine" for us no matter how hard I begged. She had five of us, so she gave up worrying about anything short of amputation early on. I guess her laissez faire parenting payed off in the end.

  11. I really don't remember much advice from my mom. I could have used more.

  12. I can't remember getting one bit of advice from my mom. A couple years ago I asked her why she'd dispensed her wisdom to my 5 sibs so freely. She was a Dr. (not to be confused with Mr.) Spock mom. His advice: "if they don't ask, don't tell." Way ahead of his time and just as wrong.

    Score one for my mom since we never had mercurachrome in our house. All the mercury was in the food where it belonged.

  13. In our house, we skipped the Mercurochrome and played directly with the cute silver blobs from broken glass thermometers.

  14. my mum's a nurse. She once taught me how to mix a certain kind of painkillers with a certain amount of whiskey to get the ultimate effect.


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