thing for vicks

I woke very early Saturday morning to the sense that I had been hit by a truck. In the face. My glands were swollen, tender all around my neck. The Hubs was leaving for work as I got up. Just long enough to dose up and back to bed — ’til nine o’clock! I seldom sleep past five-thirty or six. Maybe, if its a really rough night, seven. But nine?!? What was going on?

Well, the Hubs had this nasty cold thing turned infection turned pneumonia. He did get on antibiotics but … Harrumph. Not quick enough to avoid sharing, it seems. I only hope we haven’t passed it on otherwise. (Please, God, protect wee Ollie!)

It was a miserable weekend. Squandered. I had so many things I wanted to do, needed to do. Nothing got done. Nothing! Except to rest, read, sleep. My one saving grace was Vicks Vapor Rub.

The Hubs won’t touch it. He doesn’t like it much when I use it. But it’s my standby, my go-to in times of respiratory trouble. I slather it on, cover with a soft washcloth, and crank up the heating pad. Aaaah. Breathe deep of healing menthol. I swear it keeps congestion at bay.

My Vicks thing goes deep, deeper than my lungs, all the way back to my childhood. I remember Mom warming flannel cloths by the woodstove, applying them over the greasy Vicks, melting the menthol into our pores. When the stove wasn’t running, she’d use an iron to heat the cloths through. Always, warm cloths with Vicks, in a small act of tenderness.

Recently I entered an odd conversation among some women friends. Two of them swore by the technique of applying Vicks to the soles of your feet. Cover with socks and go to sleep. Such craziness — and I am a Vicks fan! Vicks on your feet? Dimly, I recall my mother proclaiming its benefits for healthy toenails. Seriously? I have to draw the line.

This weekend, Vicks on my feet seemed less outlandish. I was desperate. I don’t know if it helped. I’m sure it didn’t hurt. But I have a feeling I, too, will be off to the doc for meds in the morning.

Nothing against Vicks, mind you. The weekend was slightly more bearable in a menthol-induced haze. I’ll always have a thing for Vicks . All we can do is all we can do, eh?

~ René Morley

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