southern medicine

Anatomy Lesson

(At grandma’s house helping as my mom recovers from surgery)

Mom: *Lazes in bed, refuses to get up*

Grandma: *Opens all the blinds wide so the sun pours in*  I’m gonna get some light in here. It’ll get your spizzerinctum going. 

Me: Your what? 

Mom: My spizzerinctum! 

Me: What is a spizzerinctum?

Grandma: You oughtta know, you’re the doctor. 

People of Germany: Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897) was a Bavarian priest and one of the forefathers of the Naturopathic Medicine movement. He developed the “Kneipp Cure” form of hydrotherapy, the application of water through various methods, pressures, and temperatures, which he claimed to have therapeutic or healing effects. Although most commonly associated with one area of Nature Cure, Kneipp was the proponent of an entire system of healing which rested on 5 main tenets:

* Hydrotherapy - Kneipp was able to heal many people with water
* Herbalism – The use of botanical natural medicines 
* Exercise - Promoting health of the body through movement
* Nutrition - A wholesome diet of whole grains, fruits & veg with limited meat
* Balance - Kneipp believed that a healthy mind begot a healthy person

His book “My Water Cure” was published in 1886 with many subsequent editions, and translated into many languages. He also wrote “Thus Shalt Thou Live”, “My Will”, and “The care of children in sickness and in health”. His methods are still well-known and applied in spa towns around Germany. Fun fact: His recipe for whole wheat bread, called Kneippbrød in Norwegian, is the most commonly eaten bread in Norway.

Learn to Speak Southern, pt 4

I’ve got a student working with me for the next few months who is one’a them “damn yankees”. I’m tryin to learn her how to speak the local language down here. She’s struggling so far. I’ve been collecting new terms to share. Enjoy. [Pt 1] [Pt 2] [Pt 3

  • stove up - sore, stiff muscles or joints. “Honey, trot in yonder and get me that paper. I’m too stove up to get up outta this chair.”
  • gouch - gout
  • epizootie - the funk. a viral illness of any sort. 
  • virus - gastroenteritis. anything involving diarrhea. 
  • flu - a respiratory infection, anything from the common cold to pneumonia.
  • geehaw - traditionally it’s how to direct a horse. Gee is right, Haw is left. Now it means something like “to get along”. i.e., “I reckon that new foreign doctor knows what he’s talkin about, but me and him just don’t geehaw.”
  • cartridges - cartilage. “The bone doc said I tore up the cartridges in my knee”
  • bronical - bronchial. “I think I need an antibiotic now doc. I can feel it movin into my bronical tubes.”
Folk Magick Reading List

Interested in Folk Magick? 

Not sure where to begin?

Most of the information available on the internet regarding Folk Magick is, at best, rife with errors and misconceptions. At worst, it’s downright dangerous!

The secluded mountains of  Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, the Virginias, and the Carolinas provided the isolation to preserve Folk Magick traditions in a way that wasn’t possible in the rest of America. The people of Appalachia held fast to their traditions long after “city folk” discarded them as backwoods superstitions. 

Hoodoo, Conjure, Rootwork, and other forms of folk magick have been the subject of renewed public interest. It seems everyone is borrowing a pinch of this and a dash of that from southern conjure and adding it to their magickal repertoire. Other traditions are appropriating, adapting, and (let’s call it what it is……stealing) cultural traditions and “re-labeling” them as their own. As a result, information is being lost, distorted, and destroyed for future generations.

So, what if you really want to learn Folk Magick?

The best way to learn is directly from an experienced, legitimate conjure worker with several years of experience. Unfortunately, that just isn’t possible for everyone. If you feel you are being called to learn, then start reading! It won’t replace a hands-on apprenticeship with a worker, but it will get you started. 

Dig in and learn everything you can. If you are being called to learn, the teacher you have been looking for might be just around the next corner.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your journey. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will give you an excellent foundation in Appalachian Folk Magick:

Mountain Magick: Folk Wisdom from the Heart of Appalachia — Edain McCoy

Staubs and Ditchwater: An Intro to HillFolks Hoodoo — Byron Ballard

Ozark Magic and Folklore — Vance Randolph

Folk Medicine in Southern Appalachia — Anthony Cavender

Any and all of the “Foxfire” book series.

The Secret of the Psalms — Godfrey Selig

Long Lost Friend — John George Hoffman

The Red Church — C.R. Bilardi

Day 212: Healing with Stumpwater

Stumpwater, that is water that has collected in the hollow bowl of a tree stump, is an interesting part of folk materia medica. Its use can be found throughout the Ozarks and the Appalachians, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other cultures were to use the mystical substance as well. Stumpwater is mostly connected to the healing of certain dermatological issues like warts, rashes, and sometimes even freckles. But the water has also been used in the making of herbal infusions. The idea being that the stumpwater has more power than regular water because it is elevated above the rest of the land.

Vance Randolph mentions stumpwater several times in his “Ozark Magic and Folklore,” here are a few quotes:

“The skin disease called tetter is treated with spunk water or stump water simply rain water which happens to be retained in a hollow stump.”

“When a hillman tries to remove warts by applying stump water he repeats this formula: Stump water, stump water, Kill these — warts! The dash represents the number of warts that the patient has, and it is essential to state this number correctly. If a man says six when he has only five warts, the warts will not be cured, and another one will appear in a few days.”

“Most of the old-timers believe that a woman should never be bathed ‘all over,’ or her bedding completely changed, for nine days after the child is born. Some say that the palms of a child’s hands should not be washed until the child is three days old to do so washes away the infant’s luck, particularly in financial matters. It is always best to bathe a new baby’s head with stump water; if ordinary water is used, the child is likely to be prematurely bald when it grows up.”

One can say that most of the lore behind stumpwater likely came into the Ozarks from the Appalachian people. A similar wart-cure can be found in the book “A Tennessee Folklore Sampler” by Ted Olson and Anthony P. Cavender:

“To remove a wart go to an old hollow stump that contains water and wash the hands or warts in the stump water. After doing this, walk home without looking back and the wart will go away.”

A few more Appalachian uses of stumpwater come from the wonderful book “Folk Medicine in Southern Appalachia” by Anthony Cavender:

“To treat and prevent pimples and blackheads, the face was washed with buttermilk, a solution of Epsom salts or soda, human urine, stumpwater (water collected in a tree cavity or stump, also called ‘spunkwater’), a decoction made from witch hazel or ratsbane leaves, or dew of the first day in May.”

“Stumpwater, buttermilk, dew of the first fay in May, and a cow manure facial also were used to remove freckles.”

“Southern Appalachian folk medicine is abundant with beliefs about contracting and removing warts. Some of the more frequently mentioned naturalistic remedies were rubbing warts with castor oil, a chicken gizzard, a slice of Irish potato, bean leaves, or stumpwater and inserting a hot needle into the warts.”

In my last post on the interactions between white and Native medicines I mentioned the use of stumpwater as a practice shared by both the white and Cherokee communities. Who gave the practice to whom is still debatable, but the fact remains that both communities considered stumpwater as an important part of the materia medica. Frans M. Olbrechts, in “The Swimmer Manuscript” mentions a Cherokee medicine man who only used water in healing:

“Spencer Bird, an old medicine man, now dead, used to rely on the sole purifying power of water. The informant who told me this vaguely hinted at the probability of the water being some ‘special water,’ such as that scooped out of a stump (‘stump water’) or even out of the stump of a lightning-struck tree.”

The use of stumpwater bears some semblance to other folk medicines such as the use of certain “flying” plants, meaning plants that are growing out of trees, or rock faces, that have never touched the ground. The power here is that the “flying” plant has some mystical connection to the sky, and is therefore given an added potency as a medicine or magical item. A common example of this idea is the mistletoe plant, which has been considered a mystical or magical plat partially because it hangs in the air without touching the ground. There’s a tradition throughout the Ozarks and Appalachians (and one can see the original belief throughout Europe) that the mistletoe will only be effective in protecting the home when it is cut and never allowed to touch the ground. We can see the same concept with the stumpwater, the idea here being that the water fell from the sky and hangs in the air, not touching the ground. The power of the stumpwater then isn’t in the chemical makeup of the water itself, but in the fact that it has been given a magical quality by being set apart from other puddles, creeks, and water sources.

Little Robe, Cheyenne Chief

Photographer: William Henry Jackson
Date: 1878?
From the William Blackmore collection, Negative Number 058636

Little Robe survived the massacre at Sand Creek, Colorado, on November 29, 1864, where he lost most of his family. Despite (or because of) the violence he witnessed during the American Indian Wars, Little Robe became an advocate for peace, leading treaty negotiations and diplomatic delegations until his death in 1886.

‘Shine

Wayfaring: Have you taken anything for your cough?

Patient: Just some homemade cough syrup.

Wayfaring: Ok, I have to hear what’s in your homemade cough syrup.

Patient: Aaaiiiight. Well, ya start with a quart jar o’ moonshine.

Wayfaring: 

Patient: And then ya crush up a buncha peppermints in it and fill it up full. Then ya leave it to sit fer a coupla weeks. And when ya walk by it ya shake it a little bit. After a while ya take out the peppermints and ya add some lemon juice and some honey.

Wayfaring: That actually sounds like it might work.

Patient: Oh it works! I give it to mah kids all the time when they was little. Shut ‘em up and put ‘em ta bed. AND stopped the coughin’. 

Over a month ago I asked for some folks to send me some sort of fanfic drabble prompt, and I did one of them from by pal Healthbloge, and now here’s the other. It took waaaay longer even though much less happens in this “story” but hey, I had a life-changing exam to deal with at the time. Whatevs.

@supernovakirby, here’s your vaguely KakaSaku piece! The one I told you is mostly about Sakura going fishing, but then I extended it because I could, and here we are. KakaSaku and a slight undercurrent of a fear of the deep sea and stuff like that. 

Writing something almost canon-like is dark territory…

-

They sent her to the Land of Waves, to a far-off and wet corner where there was no economy and the longest and most curious finger of the reigning government could barely even sense that a human civilization patch existed in that thick fog. She was here to go fishing.

And fish she did. Sakura was equipped with an old, forcibly-aged piece of crap fishing rod and forcibly-aged piece-of-crap clothes. She had scraped up a handful of outfit with input from Ino. Her last conversation before leaving home in February had been a back-and-forth dialogue about clothes and ugly shoes, mostly Ino’s ugly shoes. They laughed and laughed before Sakura left, with a bag of ugly clothes. The most pleasant goodbye she’d had in years. Thinking about it made her feel warm.

February was eight months gone, and Sakura was somewhere near a fishing village with no name. She was alone and lived in a shack the size of three small closets that she built herself by the nameless lake. She built it after she passed through the voiceless town and made peace with its thirty-one illiterate locals. Though they had spears pointed at her at first and made many a threat about seductive witches and her strange “blood”-colored hair, their suspicions could not hold after she cleared cataracts from the elderly and burned the symptoms of pneumonia off of their sick children.

Now, they let her be, and now Sayuri the strange southern medicine woman got occasional visits by appointment. The visits this whole month had been few, and thank goodness for it. Eight months was the timetable she had been given before leaving home. Was it nearly time? How close was the estimate? Sakura thought about it all the time, and stayed out most of the day fishing, as usual.

She watched the lake, and listened to the creatures around it. It was the method of the mission, anyhow. “Sayuri” would “meditate” by sitting and fishing, but underneath this façade, Sakura Haruno waited and watched. In accordance with the objective, most of her days were made up of sitting against a large rock, a nearly concave rock, clearly a seat of many fishers before her, and listening to the water while holding a fishing pole in her hands.

She heard small animals moving and breathed softly, listening for the soft, soft footsteps of a human who intended to be hidden. She listened, for months, but never heard any such thing. The villagers’ tromping down her road was easily distinguishable, and they had yet to be an enemy in disguise. But she’d be a fool not to prepare for it daily.

For that reason, she only rarely allowed her mind to wander. In between her long stares over the water and many soft breaths into the mist, in between mental judgments of fish-sound or rabbit-sound or owl-sound, she did, occasionally, drift. And among the hours and hours of quiet and water lapping and nothing changing at all, she would think about something else 

Sometimes she recalled passages from books, or conversations with her friends, or tried to recite songs backwards. She was alone, sometimes bored, currently jittery. It was near.

The pole hadn’t shook or vibrated for near two hours. And tomorrow was a Monday. Her mind was the only calendar; she’d judged any written records to be a bad idea. On this Sunday evening, she fished the lake, for hours, as usual. Watching the water, and feeling its vibrations. She thought about learning to paint, and perhaps painting fish whenever she got home. She didn’t even really like fish. At all. So maybe the long reeds instead. No matter what subject she thought of painting, nothing felt suitable. Or comfortable, all of a sudden.

Around this lake that felt as though it had become hers, reeds grew without direction, silver crickets made pleasant noise in defiance of any season, and some pale and sleepy pink blossoms constantly drew her eye and made her think of Ino. The lake’s wide expanse wasn’t entirely visible thanks to the mist and this quality alternately made Sakura feel protected and not. Today, she felt…tense.

It was something like six in the evening, she deduced. And so warm, for November. The crickets were a bit louder than usual. At one point a fish actually slipped its head above the surface to bat its lips at a fly on the surface and Sakura started so hard her fist put a hole in the rock ground next to her. her. All the cricket noises stopped. Sakura growled and pretended she wasn’t embarrassed.

The crickets started up their careless noise again, but her shoulders remained taut. She inched her legs out from where they were curled up against rump until they eventually stretched down along the rocky ground and onto the lower bank where some dirt was scattered. Another foot or two further, the lakewater lapped forward and back and again. A breeze pushed it a bit further up. She shivered.

Eight months, it had been. Doing this. Day after day. Was Ino’s hair longer, or cut shorter by now? Sai could have sold a hundred paintings, or moved to his new place at last. She thought about Naruto, too, maybe he would have laughed when she punched at the ground just now. She stopped short when the fishing pole bobbed.

Her hands squeezed the pole. A bite! Finally, something! It was pulling down, almost straight down.  She reeled in the line, quietly, just in case. The fish pulled back, again, further, and Sakura yanked the pole back.

Once it came up over the surface and splashed sideways back into the water like a helpless drunk. An idiot’s smile had fully bloomed on her face, and she almost laughed.

Quite suddenly, the fight stopped. The line went slack and whisked back towards her. Sakura could nearly see the shadow of the fish floating near the surface, like a slack and weak fishing line itself.

Sakura instantly stood up and observed the rest of the lake, or what she could see of it smothered in mist. Multiple shadows had appeared on the lake surface, a dozen, twenty, more. They came side-up or belly-up, instantly dead. Their mouths hung open in something like shock, or displeasure.

Sakura threw her worthless fishing pole onto the ground, and began walking up the shore. Around the shore. Around the whole lake, if she had to.

Eight months? Almost exactly eight months. This had to be it. Oh, god, truly, it was time.

Surely it was, for if it wasn’t, there was another unseen force killing the marine life, and something unexpected had come to this place without her notice.

‘Are you here? Please!’ she thought, or perhaps said aloud. The shoes Ino had helped her work into a state of purposeful, convincing wornness were soaking up lake water. Again and again she spotted dead fish or dead frogs on the surface, but nothing more. No change, no people, no attackers? What was this? What else would there be?

Her hands didn’t shake, but her heartbeat was so strong she felt it in her throat. Dead, dead, oneo of them missing an eye and blood dribbling out of the mouth. So many. She spotted a blue-striped reed bass that had given her the slip three weeks before. Ha, the damned thing died and good riddance. The thought wasn’t welcome.

Just as it slipped out of her peripheral vision, she saw, and stopped. Her body was shaking, hands and shoulders and feet and everywhere else. It was true. It had worked.

Some thirty feet out into the lake was the shape of a man, wading forward. His torso was slathered with underwater weeds the color of a corpse’s skin. His clothes were unrecognizable, and dark. Underneath the sounds of the water being pushed, she heard his breaths. The only sounds left in this place, she thought. His face was unmasked and gasping.

Sakura went immediately forward and smiled. “Kakashi!” she said. She waded forward, but only a few steps. He was walking forward at an even pace. Unchanging. “It’s Sakura. I’m here to retrieve you. Do you understand? Are you all right?”

One of the reeds clinging to his shirt slipped away. It was small, but weighted with water and it plopped as it sank into the water. It was small, but it bothered her that he did not react at all. In small steps he came towards her. She stopped moving. The water was up to her knees.

“Speak to me. Prove to me that you’re Kakashi Hatake.” she told him, louder than before. “Do you understand?”

One arm, and the opposite arm and shoulder suffered some sort of strong twitch. They tried to rise up or reach, but couldn’t. The head lifted slightly. It was no walking gait for a human, unless something was gravely wrong. But she wasn’t swayed either way. Sakura remained in her spot, and repeated herself. She also added, “What did you say to Tsunade when you left, Kakashi? Tell me now.”

Another step forward and another, smaller piece of underwater plant slid off his shirt and reached for the water. And this time, the head raised up again and stayed up.

He spoke, thank God. “Prommissse ttooo…” Sakura reached forward slightly. Her eyes had widened at his guttural, weak voice.

Kakashi’s legs began to shake, and his steps were suddenly small and fast. Desperate. He could reach her in second. She prompted him again with, “Tell me your promise or you’ll never leave this lake.”

“Wrrrite newsscrolll!” he gasped. Sakura closed the final few steps of the gap and held him up before he could fall face-first into the shallow water. His body was soaked through and it immediately spread onto her own clothes. She could hardly care about that, or that he smelled like a fish barrel. His muscles were twitching and even his chin bobbed slightly against the back of her shoulder. 

With one arm over his shoulder and the other around his hip, she walked backward, carrying him out. His feet and legs dragged on the lake bottom. He put forward no effort to helping himself through this last stretch, and did not object when Sakura turned him and lowered his body till he sat down. There was no convenient rock here for him to lean against, so she lowered him again till he lay in the dirt. And within seconds that was soaked, too. All throughout, he breathed heavily through a gaping mouth.

Sakura felt at his neck for a pulse. She expected and received a count easily in the 180s, like the man had been sprinting with wolves at his heels before he came up through the water. She tore away the remaining reeds, and moss bits, and pieces of broken shells—and teeth? Small, needle-like fish teeth—till only his odd clothes remained. A plain, perfect black tunic that she imagined slaves wore to work in fields long before the founders who built Konoha had lived. Pants of the same make, but the ends were shredded in ribbons so thin and fine it seemed even the motion of his walking could have shaken them off. Sakura lifted some of them with two fingers, and saw Kakashi’s bare ankles.

It wasn’t present on his feet, but from the ankles upward, her old sensei’s leg was smothered in thousands of red punctures, each one miniscule as a fish’s single tooth. Dozens. Hundreds. Were they fish teeth? Fish bites? Even Tsunade’s long-ago examples hadn’t been so small. She wasn’t familiar with what creature had done this.

She grazed one finger across his calf. Fifteen or twenty bites fit under her index finger alone. At the drag of her finger, Kakashi’s leg spasmed weakly and his toes attempted to curl in.

“Do they hurt, sensei? Itch? Burn? Tell me what happened.” Sensei, like old times. An accident, but she only cared about it a little. She looked up from his spotted calf. “Can you even speak?” She went up and over his legs and pelvis and hovered over his face. Oh, she hadn’t seen this face in a year. His mismatched eyes found her with a great effort.

“Blink twice if you can’t speak. If your voice is strained.”

“I’ffnn.” Perhaps he tried to nod, or perhaps his head and shoulders had twitched.

“What does that mean? ‘I’m fine?’ You’re not. Stay still, I’ll soothe your throat.” Her right hand hovered over his throat. The neckline of the tunic was soaked and old and ruined enough that it sank down and left parts of his pectoral muscles exposed to air. They weren’t solid and lovely muscles anymore, not wholly anyway. He’d lost weight and muscle mass everywhere. His collarbone, shoulder, even his nipples had been bitten through. Some had bled, she could see, and scabbed and been torn open or had the bloodflow run off by water.

While she observed, she gathered a smoother, warmer bundle of chakra between the spaces of her fingers, and moved small, soft threads into his throat. There were fewer bites there, but his throat was indeed swollen. He would need to cough up some bits of moss, too.

He was trying to nod again, it looked like. The fool. Maybe he was hallucinating as well. That would put these bites into another class of wound entirely. She pressed down on his left shoulder right her right hand and said, “Stop moving,” offhandedly.

But he tried again, stronger. This time she looked and frowned at him. “What is it? What are you doing?”

She saw the attempt immediately after. It seemed pathetic. He jerked his shoulder only to try to jerk the arm up in turn, to reach up at her. Sakura saw what he was wanting, and helped him put his arm around the back of her neck. And—with no discernible wounds on his torso, in the stomach—she reached her own under his left shoulder and pulled him up until he was in a sitting position, embracing her. He felt warmer than he had moments before. 

His right arm came up of its own strength and slapped down across her back as well. His face pressed into her shoulder and the touch of his face and mouth felt so strange after such a long time, but worst of all was that he shook. Oh, he shook and shook and held so tight that she was scared.

“Actually…hhherre. You’re here?” he was trying to say.

“I am.” He sighed into her shoulder. His hands were weakening already. They kept a soft grip on the fabric of her shirt. It had been months. “I’ve been here since February, waiting for you to show up.”

“I missed you. Missed you.” He leaned forward into her, pressing his face to her shoulder, her neck. His hands made one final stand at grasping the fabric of her shirt, and fell simultaneously. Sakura shivered for a moment. His own tremors had stopped.

“I worried that you were dead, wherever you were. She didn’t tell me where you went.”

“Sakura, what’sss…th’month?” She told him it was November, though the weather might not make it seem so. “Oh. Oh, it’s…been longer th’n I thought.”

Sakura fought down a second bout of shivering when she realized that his clothes were still dripping, still soaking her own. She gently pushed his head up and out of the crook of her neck, and laid his whole body down again, slightly aside from the puddle that marked where he’d just laid. “Where were you? It wasn’t in my own mission objectives to know where Tsunade-sama sent you. But that’s over with now. Please tell me. If you want to. How did you get to, to the bottom of this lake?”

“One of the…the…a fish, that I followed. It knew this way. I followed.”

His weak body and hazy eyes left her guessing as to whether his mind was still clouded by fatigue or wounds. And he wasn’t giving anything else. Sakura considered stripping the tunic off of him entirely. Somehow it was still waterlogged.

“What does that mean? You were swimming in this lake, with the fish? For a year? It’s barely a mile across.”

“I don’t know. It w’s underwater. Caves. The fish from in there wouldn’t fit in this lake. An’ I couldn’t find him. So I’m, mmm—” Her old sensei’s eyes began to roll back in his head. Sakura grabbed for his head immediately, but they were already coming back down. The eyelids followed. “Sakura. Less’go. Please.”

The mission was nearly over with. The only piece left now was a long walk home. She touched his throat again and cooled its swelling with her own chakra, and did the same over his left shoulder and pectorals. That alone would take her close to an hour to do thoroughly. The bed in her “shed” might not fit him. The fisherfolk might think she summoned a spirit to live with her.

Kakashi’s own chakra was just as depleted as his physical state suggested, and he even fell asleep before five minutes had passed. Sakura smoothed over every spray of bites that she could find. She removed the strange tunic in the end and threw it into the lake, where it promptly sank. The dead fish remained on the surface, but a few birds did come by to peck at them.

“I can’t wait to go home,” she told him, as though he could hear. For now, she finally heard the sound of her own chakra swirling in a patient. She heard the familiar water lapping and thought of a thousand things to do once she finally returned home.

-

Meh, I’m satisfied with the “story” just fine. I’m also super-satisfied that I got some practice with remembering what my own writing “style” looks like. It’s hard coming back to writing things after a long period of nothing and seeing that all the words you put forth look like bland cardboard. 

The main idea I attempted to put forth here was that Kakashi was on a mission to pursue either a large, powerful fish who could hopefully be contracted into being a summoning animal. Unfortunately, he found that this fish lives in a strange, supernatural waterworld where fish the size of whales roam around, and the fish in question, Kakashi found, was already eaten by another fish twice that size, and really, humans should just stay the hell away from this place. The one door to teleport him out of there wouldn’t open up for months either way. So he floated in there like a li’l fish, stealthily hiding from big fish till he could swim home.  Oh yes, and Sakura was meant to assist/carry him on his journey home, so she was dispatched to nonchalantly wait by the “exit” and see him home safely. And Kakashi is extremely happy to see a familiar face and get the fuck out of Dodge at last. 

Now, Kirby just asked for a KakaSaku story, and for the longest time this thing sat with just that long description of Sakura going fishing every day. This story’s about 3,000 words and I wrote 2,300 of them in one sitting of about 3 hours. Aughh, feels good. What a great Friday. 

Recent developments

Apparently I’m a nursing home director now.

Unbeknownst to my office, one of the things I had on my “perfect office wish list” was A certain afternoon out of the office for nursing home rounds. I haven’t told a soul about it. Well they told me today that I had that day for nursing home. I didn’t even have to ask.

Also *the* pharmacist in town texted me today and told me she had patients in all day singing my praises.

I’m liking this place. A lot.

And now, onward to speak to a group of farmers tonight at the local meat ‘n’ three place.

5

I sincerely hope this person isn’t allergic to all animals. I think I could reasonably stay away from lemon peels though.

I’m pretty sure that the allergy to needles is more of a phobia…

And for those who don’t know what “black drawing salve” is, that’s your southern remedy for boils and cysts (and everything else…sort of like the Southern version of Tiger Balm). It’s some black smelly goo you put on your risin to get whatever’s in it to come to a head. 

Medicalese (for Southerners): part 3

Headache: toothache, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, headache. 

Sinus headache (AKA “sinuses”): tension headache, allergic rhinitis. Rarely actual sinus headache. Those patients come in complaining of toothache.

 Migraine: a really bad headache. Also rarely an actual migraine.

arthritis (sometimes referred to as “Arthur”): any joint that hurts

rheumatoid arthritis: really bad osteoarthritis.

Medicalese (for Southerners)
  • Risin a boil, sebaceous cyst, or abscess.
  • Sore as a risin: it hurts. Like a lot.
  • Arthur: arthritis
  • low blood: anemia
  • high blood:  hypertension (thus it is possible to have both high blood and low blood at the same time)
  • blood thinners: antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications like Plavix, Coumadin, Xarelto, etc. 
  • thick blood: a condition requiring anticoagulation, like stroke, MI, a-fib, DVT, PE, coagulation disorders.
  • thin blood: a person on blood thinners. Or a person who is always cold. There is a common thought at least in the south that blood thinners make people cold. 
  • clabbered: what milk does in the stomach of a febrile child. As in “she had a fever but I gave her a bottle and the throwed up clabbered milk.”
  • vomick: vomit
  • fever: anything warm. As in, “this risin’s got a fever to it.” Or “when my arthur flares up my knees get a fever to ‘em.”
  • a spell/an attack: anything from a seizure to a panic attack to a stroke to conversion disorder.
  • fell out:  a syncopal episode or a seizure. Alternatively, a spiritual experience. “Marlene done fell out at the church again and banged up her head. I reckon she caught the Holy Ghost.”
  • drawed up: a contracture or what a person’s limbs do when they have tonic seizures. “He had one ‘a his spells and his arms drawed up real tight and his eyes rolled around in his head for a minute.”
  • a minute: any measure of time from a second to decades. Rarely means an actual minute.
  • nature: a man’s ability to get an erection

  • electric lights: electrolytes
  • the itis: the sluggish feeling a person gets after eating a large meal. “I gotta watch this football game cuz that turkey dinner give me the itis.”
  • blood poisoning: bacteremia or blood-infection
  • pone: a soft, round nodule under the skin, usually a lipoma 
Learning the Language of Southern Medicine

While in rounds…

Attending Dr. J (who is Indian): Hello there ma’am, how are you doing?

Patient: Not great. My stomach hurts.

Dr. J: Well bless your heart! You mind if I mash on your belly a bit?

Patient: You think I’m gonna get over this stomach bug anytime soon?

Dr. J: Yes ma’am, Lord willin’.

Resident: *giggles*

Resident: What are you gonna do about Ms. R’s stomach bug?

Dr. J: Eh, it’s viral and we gotta wait for it to pass, but I’ll find a lil sumpin sumpin.

Resident: *giggles loudly*

Dr. J: What?!

Resident: You’ve been in the South too long, Dr. J. It’s just funny hearing you use these Southern phrases with your Indian accent.

Dr. J: Hey… I’m South Indian. 

Home Remedies from Wayfaring’s Patients

Disclaimer: These “remedies” are all things that my patients have admitted to trying. Some are completely useless, a few might actually be helpful, and others are potentially harmful. Do not consider the following remedies to be sound medical advice. Do not try this at home.

Got leg cramps at night? Try leaving a bar of soap under the sheets at the foot of the bed. Don’t forget to change out the soap or at least shave it down every few weeks / months to refresh it’s leg cramp curing powers.

For any sort of chest or nasal congestion, try a few drops of turpentine or kerosene on a sugar cube.

For sinus congestion, swallow a teaspoon of Vick’s Vapo-Rub.

Got the gout (pronounced thegouch around here)? Keep you a jar of raisins soaked in gin around the house. Take 9 (this is very specific) raisins a day.

Bowels plugged up? Baking soda and water’ll clear ‘em right out. 

Bee or wasp sting? Spit your chewing tobacco juice on it to kill the burn. For fire ant bites, use bleach. 

For acid reflux, try taking shots of cider vinegar. 

Still got some vinegar left over? Mix it with water and drink a glass to lower your blood pressure. Or maybe take another shot to fight the flu. Or a shot to cure hiccups. Or a shot gargled with salt to cure a sore throat. Or rub it on your legs to cure your aching varicose veins. Better buy the big bottle of vinegar at the Piggly Wiggly. Vinegar cures everything.