Ponder this:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Warts and scabs and other miscellaneous items

A week ago last Saturday, during one of my first Walking for Improved Health walks, I tripped over a rock in the driveway, took a couple of those graceful giant steps that one does when one's balance is . . . but hope of its return is not . . . lost. I landed on the palms of my hands and my right forearm's underside, causing small areas of impressive road rash in those areas. Gravel-on-skin hurts: Tell all the motorcyclists you know. You know how it is when you fall. You lie still for a moment to take inventory to see what hurts and at what level. Skin? Yes. Muscle? No, not much. Bone? No. All right then. Roll to the grass (white shirt now very dirty), hands and knees, and up (rear first in bovine or toddler style) to the usual upright position. Continue on, feeling embarrassed and yet, somehow, heroic. My hands are almost back to normal now and the scabs are crusty and itch enough to make me aware of them and to invite scratching and picking. 
How ladylike. 

When I was twelve-ish, there was an old woman who rented an apartment from my grandmother. No love lost between the two of them! They did not speak, did not make eye contact. But Miss Brehm, a maiden lady, sat on her porch every afternoon in the summer, watching everything that went on, and I often sat with her for a little while.  She smelled good to me in that old lady way . . . Ivory soap and denture cleaner and Spic and Span detergent and whatever else it is that made old ladies smell the way they used to. She had a dog, a husky named Silver, whom she'd trained, she said, to look both ways before he crossed the narrow paved road to do the necessary. He always did look both ways, whether or not it was taught or just good dog reasoning. I humored her, smiled. "He's smart!" I'd say. When he died I gave her a sympathy card.


A year or two earlier I had grown a wart on my knee, just below my kneecap. Miss Brehm told me to break off milkweed leaves and dab the milk on the wart. "Keep doing that every day," she said, "And that wart will disappear."
I thought she was probably crazy but I hated that wart, and there were certainly enough milkweed plants from which to take leaves, so I tried it. And by the end of the summer the wart had shrunk and shrunk and disappeared.

This morning I was up at 5:00. By 6:00 I was out the door for a leisurely period of movement. I'm not sure what I do even qualifies as "a walk." I just go outside and move my legs back and forth until, eventually, I find myself back at the door. As I came down the driveway toward the house, I noticed the milkweed plants, all new and fresh and plump, and remembered Miss Brehm. I thought of my itchy hands. I broke off a leaf of milkweed and dabbed the milk on the scabs on my right hand, leaving the left as the control hand. Who knows? 

Can't hurt, can it, after all?
And not for nothin', but my right hand doesn't itch right now and the left does.
Just sayin'.

22 comments:

esbboston said...

Interesting!

DJan said...

Oh, I just loved this post! All of it, the fall, the milkweed, Miss Brehm. Can I have more of these, please? It has made me smile and reminisce about my own Miss Brehm. :-)

Tamara Swerline said...

Love this post! I too have been remembering the Miss Brehm's in my life. Some quirky, some not so quirky but they all had wonderful stories to tell and most certainly 'old wives' tales' to share (even though some were not nor ever had been wives).

Blue Ridge Mountains said...

I always carry my walking stick even if its only for a short walk. I learned the hard way, skinned shins and knees.
Miss Nan Horton(elderly) told me to sip pickle juice if I had a muscle cramp. Wise old ladies,

Olga said...

I have been falling for most of my life. My mother actually had me practice falling in ways that would not break bones. Maybe physical therapy would have been a better idea.
My in-laws swore by milk weed for a lot of things, even cooking up the greens as I recall. They were nice and never forced me to try them.

Muffy's Marks said...

I never had a Miss Brehm in my life, just lots of busy mothers. Sometimes those old remedies work well. One wonders where they came up with the 'cures'?

Carolynn Anctil said...

Very cool....now if I could only identify a milkweed plant in nature. I'm teaching my dog to stop & stay before we cross a rarely used dirt road to get to the field we walk in. I'm not sure if she knows why or if she'd do it on her own at any other road crossing, but at least she won't get run over by a rogue tractor on this one.

Floridagirl said...

Loved the post.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'll have to Google milkweed , since I seem to be nearing the "teetery" stage .
In fact , any home remedies are worth a try .... some even seem to work . Rubbing a dock leaf on nettle stings to stop the itching , for instance . I think it works , so it does .
I'm very impressed by your keeping up the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other regime !

Joanne said...

Lovely story.

The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

All this one foot in front of another sounds dangerous! Maybe you could try a bit of jigging around in doors to some music, i find it amuses the dog immensley.

Falling, tripping missing the stairs all seems to be quite shocking to the system these days.

Great post June, I wonder if we have Milkweed in the UK?

Friko said...

I love your word rambles, they are so effortless, unforced, deliciously light; I wish I could do that.

Keep on rambling, in both senses.

georgia little pea said...

I like natural healing better than factory made drugs. Assuming the picture is a milkweed. It doesn't look familiar. I'm wondering if, by now, your left hand has broken out in a rash. Keep us updated :)

Rubye Jack said...

I hate falling down. It's not like I do it all the time but last time I was on top of the world and hit a crack and it hurt so bad that for once I was hoping someone saw me. Ow!
Good for you for keeping with the walking. Perhaps you should bottle the milkweed? And sell it?

Eileen said...

Great post - I'll have to figure out what milkweed is and whether we have it here in my part of Canada.

The old home remedies generally have some basis in fact. Thanks for sharing!

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, that fall sounds so familiar -- including the aftermath. (You have to be careful when walking for health reasons...)

Barb said...

I'll be interested in knowing the outcome of this milkweed experiment. And I say - Good for you! A fall without a major hurt is just what you need to be a real exerciser!

Pauline Woodcock said...

Ever since my son got rid of his warts using milkweed he swears by it for all sorts of ailments (he's now 45). He recently busted his knee and to impress on me how serious the injury was his daughter told me, "It's too bad even for milkweed to fix." He would be very impressed to know there is another believer out there!

Hilary said...

I'm glad you weren't seriously hurt. Your description of your fall and subsequent rise did make me chuckle.

I'll have to try yours and Miss. Brehn's milkweed advice on some red ant sting/bites I sustained while photographing - of all things - milkweed.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

What a lovely essay although I'm sorry it took a fall to write about it. I enjoyed the layers, though.

You talked about the reassessment on the ground. I always think on the way down - oh, this is gonna hurt.

Rose from Oz is Back! said...

Oh June, I am so relieved that I am not alone in this wide world in the way in which I get up from the ground!! ( I do try awfully hard not to find myself there though)

Rose from Oz is Back! said...

Personally I haven't seen this milkweed June, but after some research - it is here and is known by all sorts of other names, is toxic, can cause an allergic reaction, rashes etc, but is an alternate remedy for sunspots and warts. But then others warn to never even touch it. So lots of opinions on it out there. I hope I come across one so I can study it a bit more.