Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Menthol, Eucalyptus and Memories

Tabitha has apparently inherited my respiratory system, more's the pity.

Every fall I end up with one of those lingering coughs that doesn't really stop me from doing any of the things that I don't want to do, but does keep me from being welcomed in most social situations. It hangs around, refusing to leave or be placated by medications, unguents, or whiskey, no matter how I try. Eventually it gets bored and moves on, usually sometime around spring, and then the cycle can begin again. You get used to it.

For the last month Tabitha has had one of these coughs, one that has generally not prevented her from going to school but has managed to make her rather annoyed. We did take her in to see a doctor after a while, and he got one of those looks that you learn to interpret as a parent - the one that says, "This kid has a minor cough that I can't do anything about, but I'd better dress that up in some jargon so they feel they got their money's worth out of coming here." So we got some jargon, some instructions to make sure that we give her plenty of liquids (because usually we keep her freeze-dried, you know) and a reassurance that eventually it would go away.

Well, at least we know it wasn't more serious.

The cough is more persistent at night, for some reason. During the day it appears only sporadically, but at night it can be enough to wake the cats - not an easy trick, really. So we search for ways to ease this.

One thing that does seem to work is the old standby, Vick's Vapo-Rub (or its equivalent - they all come in those little blue jars these days, so it's hard to tell them apart). You slather it on, and the cough disappears! Magic.

And so one of the scents of my childhood returns. I love that smell. All through my childhood we had a vaporizer in my room - a dark turquoise plastic bucket with a black lid, something that could only have been designed in 1964 - and every winter the room would be redolent of Vick's. It takes me back, it does.

Tabitha is less taken by it so far, though she says she is getting used to it. Ah, my child, this is how memories are made! Some day you will look back on this as the beginning of a beautiful thing.

Not now, granted, but some day.

No comments: