Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life before Antibiotics

Two of my three children are currently battling strep throat. One is on his second round of antibiotics because the first didn't eliminate the infection... The difference after just one or two doses is remarkable. You would hardly know they were sick. I'm keeping them home and forcing them to rest -- just in case.

I spoke with my sister yesterday. Her daughter, age 10, complained of ear pain, so she took her to the doctor. Diagnosis? "Whoa! That's bad." said the Doc. Antibiotic in hand, she left the pharmacy, and 12 hours later her daughter is just fine. Forget Bayer -- the miracle drug seems to be Amoxycillin, or "Pink Drink" as my kids call it.

When I think about how sick my kids can get -- you know, the kind of sick where they're just willing to lay limp in your arms -- and I think about how difficult it would be to try to make them well without antibiotics, I am confounded. How did our grandmothers do this? No wonder they were totally gray by age 30.

But Antibiotics have a downside, too. For my kids, they probably won't even remember this bout with strep. I remember, "back in the day" when I was a kid, that strep throat was a golden disease... like pinkeye. It was guaranteed days off from school... Ten, to be exact. Pinkeye was a guaranteed three and you had to put nasty goo right on your eyeball. But hey, when you're 8 years old, three is better than nothing. Am I right?

Chicken pox was the same way. Of course, the killjoys in the medical establishment have come up with a vaccine for that one. What's the matter with them? Don't they realize, in this world of no vacation days, chicken pox is a person's last chance to have a good long undisturbed rest? Sure, you're itchy all over -- but that's beside the point.

I guess I can't complain with the medical people, though. They're helping my kids with this crazy strep. And they did invent antibiotics. So they can stay. (I can hear their collective sigh of relief, can't you?)

So, the upside to antibiotics is virtually instant cure to any infection. Downside, you don't feel sick, so you don't get your rest. But, I have often said that the goal of parenting is to raise your children to be healthy, decent adults. And adults right now have to work crazy hours with very little time off. ... So, maybe the antibiotics are just getting them used to life as an American Worker...

Which reminds me -- vacation policy in this country is lousy! But, that's a discussion for another time. ... I'd better get back to my "sick" children. They're bouncing on the living room couches again.

... Darn those antibiotics!

Midwest Mom
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