The Medicine Cabinet
by Leonard Sullivan
In years past the “medicine cabinet” was a small white box over the bathroom sink. Usually there was a mirror on the door and inside were two or three shelves. In some cabinets the bottom shelf was tall enough to allow for a glass for toothbrush storage, bottles of alcohol, Listerine, and maybe a shaving mug and brush. The other shelves would be for iodine, mercurochrome, Vasoline, Mentholatum, Vicks, aspirin, and a roll of tape and some gauze.
Kerosene, which was considered a “cure-all” was often used instead of commercial medications. Wounds on the feet, toes, and other skinned places received a “swab” of kerosene which was believed to serve the same purpose as a tetanus shot.
My dad once stepped on a nail (probably rusty) protruding from a board The nail went through his shoe into his foot. He pulled his foot off the nail on the board, unlaced his shoe, poured some kerosene on his foot inside the shoe, laced up the shoe and went back to work. (People were much tougher then!)
I suppose the growth of the number of contents in the medicine cabinet is due to television. We were not aware of what an upset stomach looked like before TV. Thanks to TV we now know that a dose of Pepto Bismol coats your stomach pink which brings quick relief. Whatever your symptom, there is a medication to take care of the problem! And, not only is there a cure for every ailment, that was not enough. There is a preventive medication for almost every ailment, real or imagined, that we might experience in the future. We are shown information on TV about medical problems which I prefer not knowing. Constipation graphics describing how a medication works is not something I need to see, especially at dinner time! “TMI”
If TV continues to hammer us with medical cures and preventives, our next home will have a medicine room instead of a medicine cabinet.