Home Remedy


The more things change . . .

A few years ago, when I was seven or eight, a spider bit me behind my left knee right in the bending section. Swelling ensued bringing on severe pain and rendering the knee immobile. As the problem worsened from day to day, Mama soaked the area in Epsom Salts – her cure for anything that ailed us. If drunk in a solution with a quarter cup of water, Epsom Salts worked on digestive problems. Her cold medicine got the addition of an aspirin and a touch of baking soda – pretty much the contents of Alka-Seltzer if you look at the label.

Daddy and Mama's younger sister Ruth, who was at our house for the summer from college, nagged her to consider that my leg was not getting any better and take me to the doctor. (If you are wondering why Daddy didn't do this himself, his visual impairment prevented him from driving.) She didn’t give up until Daddy began to haul me around from place to place because I couldn’t walk. I knew things were serious when she gave in and took me to the good country doctor. He took a good look, agreed that it was a spider bite, and said, “If I were you, I would soak it in Epsom Salts water.” Mama told this story more often than either Daddy or Aunt Ruth and with considerably more enthusiasm.

Al recently had an infection arise from less than skilled surgery on an ingrown toenail, and went for expert help from Suyon Rhee, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. (I will spare you the gross pictures of what it looked like.) She skillfully used her surgical abilities and prescribed antibiotics to rid him of infection and finished with orders to soak the injured appendage twice a day in Epsom Salts water.

 Like I said, “The more things change . . . ”