No. Just No.



Mrs. G. has mentioned before that her grandmother was not a proponent of what we now call Western Medicine. Mrs. G’s grandmother was not a proponent of what we now call Alternative Medicine. Mrs. G’s grandmother, a woman of modest means, was a proponent of what we now call Pipe Dream Medicine—the kind that did not cost more than a four ounce tub of Vicks Vaporub or a jar of yellow mustard.


She also believed she was licensed physician with a medical degree from the University of I Think Doctors Are Full Of Shit.


She was a confident woman and when she told you to do something, you let nothing but fear and common sense stop you from doing it. Fast.


Mrs. G’s grandmother believed in home remedies, and Mrs. G. was her last generation of guinea pig. So Mrs. G. endured the mustard plaster and the onion poultice. She endured arbitrary spoonfuls of cod-liver oil and Phillip’s Milk of the devil Magnesia. She endured…well, you get the idea, she just endured.  The first day of a sore throat demanded round-the-clock gargling with salt water. The second day of a sore throat demanded tonsils being painted with liquid mercury red Mercurochrome. The third day of a sore throat demanded swallowing a substantial dollop of Mentholatum. The fourth day of a sore throat demanded a mild cussing out, because, clearly, you, the afflicted, were at fault and not following her exclusive, unwavering and tirelessly recited Hippocratic Oath: MIND OVER MATTER!


Oh, and just so you know, menstrual cramps are nonexistent and for the birds.




Mrs. G. would persuasively cry and carry on during each of these ironhanded (but mainly innocuous) procedures for survival purposes only, because another of Mrs. G’s grandmother’s medical convictions was that the level of pain was directly proportional to the level of cure. If it didn't hurt, it didn't heal.  Hysterics were required.


Mrs. G. begged her mother for orange baby aspirin or grape Robitussun—for First-Do-No-Harm mercy, but Mrs. G’s mother just shrugged it off and told Mrs. G. to count her lucky stars that she had not been forced to endure her grandmother’s chief, front office miracle cure: the enema. Apparently, back in the early days of Mrs. G’s grandmother’s medical residency, also known as Mrs. G’s mother’s childhood, Mrs. G’s grandmother believed an enema was akin to the antibiotic in its curative properties, and she administered them liberally. Mrs. G’s aunt has confirmed the horror.


“What’s an enema?” asked Mrs. G, who had occasionally pondered the pink bladder bag that hung on the back of her grandmother’s bathroom door but had assumed was some sort new fangled hot water bottle…with puzzling tubage.




Once informed, Mrs. G. never complained about a home remedy again. She performed the necessary apoplexy to minimize the suffering, but it ended there— not one tick further.  At the age of eleven, Mrs. G. had made a life decision:






Just no.


So, fast-forward thirteen years, to the peaches and cream pastel-ed hospital room where Mrs. G. writhed through the steady contractions of early labor.


Pity the labor and delivery nurse who suggested Mrs. G. might want an enema before the hard (hard!?) labor began.


“l’ll pass,” Mrs. G. said through gritted teeth.


Pity the labor and delivery nurse who went on to explain why it might be a good idea.


“I’m good,” Mrs. G. said once more, with feeling.


Pity Mr. G, who, aware of Mrs. G’s life decision, had sworn eternal solidarity in the face of its challenge, was bound by marital law to boldly stand up and firmly suggest that the labor and delivery nurse drop the subject. Stat.


He’d taken a similar childhood stand against yogurt. He understood the import of a nonnegotiable resolution.


“We’ll take our chances,” he said as he quickly ushered the labor and delivery nurse to the door.


Bullet dodged.


Covenant maintained.


The man literally saved Mrs. G’s ass.



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Reader Comments (56)

My mom apparently douched, because one day she found me and my best friend swimming in the bathtub squeezing the bag and laughing as the water sprinkled us from the ... applicator. We had found it at the bottom of the clothes hamper. We were probably 7 or so.

I am glad of many things when I look back at my childhood but one thing I am most glad about is noone ever suggested an enema.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphd in yogurtry

What is it with Labor & Delivery AND Enemas? I'm so glad the medical establishment is getting away from that practice.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremily

You always make me laugh Mrs. G! My Grandmother must have gone to "medical School" with yours but thankfully my Mom interceded and the worst we got was the Vick's with flannel wrapped around us as if we were being mummified! I remember in the 70's the Foxfire series that had all sorts of "interesting" backwoods remedies. MY favorite? Got a headache? Just tie a wilted beet green to your forehead and carry on! God look for a board meeting I'm thinking!!!!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbramble

I am obviously older than Mrs. G. as the enema was mandatory upon entry to the L & D unit. It did indeed speed matters up. I did not complain either, as I was raised on the Milk of the D. and enemas, and my father was truly a licensed physician!

So there have been great advances in real medicine, also.

I don't think they "prep" you for delivery anymore either. Don't ask.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnon too

Gotta love a husband that's got your back.....or rather backside!!

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteroki anon

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