Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's Ailing You?

     The last time I wrote was approximately two and a half weeks ago.  I was busy cleaning and decorating for Christmas.  My son and his daddy spent the week of Thanksgiving down in South Carolina where my parents relocated after their retirement.  I'm still here in the cold northern state of New York.  I couldn't enjoy the holiday with my family because I had to work.  I guess I should be 'thankful' to have a job.  I had a headache most of Thanksgiving week and the week after (which was last week).  I went to the doctor last week and was told that I had a migraine.  I didn't think I did.  Maybe I'll visit another doctor for a second opinion because I still have pain.  Although I like my doctor, I was not happy with my visit that day.  While I was telling the doctor where exactly the pain was, she was typing what I was saying into a laptop computer.  She was not looking at me as I was speaking.  She gave me a prescription for expensive migraine medicine.  I'm glad that I have insurance.
     Flashback about 150 years to the days of house calls and life in the 19th century.  My research has taken me back to 1800, the year of birth for Charles Davis, my 4th great-grandfather. That is 'if' I have the right man.  I don't have much information on him.  I found him in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census with his wife Susan and their children.  Charles and Susan's son William was my 3rd great-grandfather.  I've been researching the Davises of the 1800's and wondered how they treated their headaches.
     I searched the internet for old fashioned remedies.  I learned that in the 1800's, headaches were primarily treated with laudanum, an extremely addictive opiate.  The American Frugal Housewife was a book written by Lydia Maria Child and published in 1829.  A person suffering from head pain who sought advice from that book might talk a half a spoonful of citric acid in half a tumbler of water.
    I've decided to try herbal remedies and aromatherapy for my headaches.  Ancient healers treated headaches with herbs like Feverfew and Chamomile.  I have a copy of a tintype photo of a Native American man who I had been told by my maternal grandmother was a great-grandfather.  I don't remember if MaMa ever told me how many 'greats' this grandfather was because she died when I was only 13.  My Native American grandfather was on MaMa's father's side (the Davises).  He couldn't have been on her mother's side because that side was Irish and Austrian.
     I wonder how my Native American ancestors cured their headaches?

"Nearly all men die of their remedies and not of their illness"  -Moliere, french playwright, Jean Baptiste Poquelin  1622-1673

Vintage ads:




  1. Ha! Great ads. Wonder what they are selling now will seem as bizzare as Cocaine drops for a cough...

  2. Interesting post -- I like the personal connection. But can you imagine someone today getting arrested for possession of cocaine trying to convince the officer he was merely trying to cure a toothache?

  3. Thanks for the comments. I didn't thnk I'd have any followers left because I hadn't written in awhile. After working all day in a stressful environment I sometimes don't feel like writing after work.