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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Childhood Medicines Worse Than The Symptoms

As of April 11, 2017, I am pleased to report that I have managed to make it through the first three and a half months of 2017 without having any sort of illness whatsoever!  Of course, I now realize that I have jinxed myself and I'm probably going to now catch the flu, a bad cold, and possibly even a case of the mumps.  But, hey, I'm okay with tempting fate once in a while.

Of course, taking a sick day as an adult can be a pain in the butt.  I can't really afford to miss any work due to illness, so more often than not I suck it up to get through the day.  Or, in the case of last summer, the whole season.  That was the summer that I sounded like a chain smoker with permanent laryngitis.  Good times.

Now, as a kid, I have to admit - I LOVED taking sick days.  In fact - and you know what, it's been seventeen years since I was in school, so I can openly admit to this.  I have purposely taken sick days when I wasn't even sick to avoid going to school.  Not because I didn't like learning.  It was more like I didn't like my classmates.  Believe me, it wasn't that hard to convince my mom that I was sick when I really wasn't.  Truth be told, I think she caught on but let me do it anyway, knowing that I could easily catch up in my studies.

I didn't like it as much when I really was sick though.  I mean, yes, it was fun to watch television on the couch and to draw pictures with my Crayola crayons.  But not so much fun when you're coughing up a lung or throwing up every hour on the hour.

I think the hardest part about being sick as a child was not so much the symptoms of being sick, but the medicines that I had to take in order to make the symptoms go away.  Sometimes, the remedy is worse than the sickness.  Mary Poppins could pour an entire sack of sugar on the medicine and it still wouldn't go down in the most delightful way.

So, I suppose that's what this blog topic is about today.  Childhood medicines that were horrible.

Now, just to keep this post on the lighthearted side, I'm going to only use examples of actual medicine that can be taken via the mouth.  And I won't be talking about life-saving medicines that people would take to cure serious illnesses either.  As nasty as some of those treatments can be, they are completely necessary.

But let's face it.  Some of the medicine that I remember taking as a kid was awful.  Simply awful.

For one, when I was a kid, I couldn't swallow pills.  As an adult, I find it much easier and can down a couple of Advil when a migraine strikes without any difficulty.  But whenever I had to take a Gravol for car sickness, or if I was prescribed medicine in pill form, I had a very difficult time swallowing it.  It got so bad that my mom had to put the pill inside a container of Laura Secord butterscotch pudding and mix it in to make sure that I swallowed it. 

Side note:  I miss Laura Secord butterscotch pudding.  Bring it back.  Now.

As tough as it was to take medicine in pill form, I found it even more harder to take medicine in liquid form.  And unlike pills, you can't mix liquid medicine with butterscotch pudding.  Trust me.  I tried it once.  Should have renamed it BITTERscotch.

I think one of my earliest memories of dealing with medicine that I didn't like was when I was in the first grade.  I recall being really sick with some sort of sinus infection that just wouldn't go away, and my doctor at the time prescribed a medicine called Keflex to alleviate the symptoms and to make the infection go away. 

At least, that was the intent of it.

It was bad enough that the Keflex was in liquid form.  It was worse when I realized that the medicine was strawberry flavoured.  It's bad enough that I'm allergic to strawberries (though I didn't know it at the time).  But the strawberry flavour of the medicine was so fake and so potent that it caused me to have a side effect after taking the medicine.

It caused me to throw up on cue.

No matter what my mom tried, I would not be able to take that strawberry flavoured goop.  No way, no how.  I actually remember hiding in the closet whenever it was time to take the stuff because it was one of those rare medicines that made me sicker than I was.  Finally after about three days of this, I was back at the doctor.  He prescribed me some penicillin that had tasted like banana which went down so much easier.  Fake strawberry flavour was nasty.  Fake banana wasn't much better, but at least it was better tasting.

And I think most of us know the joys of taking cough syrup.  It's entirely nasty.  From Buckley's to Robitussin to Dimetapp and everything in between, I can't recall sipping a tablespoon of cough syrup and thinking that it was the best thing I had ever tasted.

For me, the worst was when I had a really bad cough and I had to take Triaminic cough syrup.  Can I just state that it was the most disgusting stuff that I have ever tasted?  Well, at least the red stuff was anyway.  That was all that my mom bought and it was as if someone had taken Cherry Kool-Aid and dumped alcohol, Vicks Vaporub, and vinegar inside of it.  That's probably the best way that I could describe it.  The reason my mom would buy the red stuff was because it was formulated for coughs.  And since I was a childhood asthmatic, my cough tended to stick around a lot longer than any other symptom.

It was only when I had a fever and a runny nose that Mom bought the orange stuff...which I liked the taste of much better.  I was like...why didn't you just get this stuff before?

So, I suppose the moral of the story when it comes to childhood medicines is this.  Butterscotch pudding was the best for swallowing pills.  Strawberry flavouring should never be used for flavouring medicine.  And stay away from red cough syrup.

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