The other day, I wrote about how we have a minor Babci crisis involving a wound that is not healing and I promised everyone an update. Yesterday after her 4th visit to the doctor in 5 days, it actually started looking better. Some of the redness went away and it looked like the antibiotics were kicking in and the infection was receding. In the many hours that we were in waiting rooms, I was honored with the opportunity to learn about the experimentation that babci did to herself in an effort to obtain a speedy recovery. In addition to sterilizing her wound with 180 proof vodka, and upping her dosage of cod liver oil to 1/2 bottle in 2 weeks, she also added a couple of interesting items into her self medicating regimen. First she told me that in the shower, she began cleansing her wound with her dandruff shampoo instead of the regular soap she uses. When the soap started stinging her, that was the first thing to go. Then after the shower, she’d sterilize the area with Vodka. This had the unfortunate side effect of making all her surrounding skin extremely dry and cracked. She then admitted that CVS brand SPF50 kid’s sunscreen helped sooth and moisturize her wounds the best of everything she tried. Ugh. What I didn’t want to know and dared not to ask is all the other household products she may have trialed and abandoned before she chose sunscreen as her moisturizer of choice. When I heard all of this chemical soup that she was exposing her wounds to, I was like….”My god, please stop.” Who the hell knows what kind of weird interactions were happening on her legs. I begged her to just let the doctor treat her wounds the conventional way and not muddy up the waters with all this other junk.
So, after her ultrasound came back with no blood clots in her leg, she was cleared to get a soft cast put on her leg to allow it to heal untouched for the next 4 days. The doctor said that the bandage comes impregnated with medicine to help speed the healing process. Being the dork that I am, I asked what it was. He said that the bandage is coated with a zinc oxide solution that has both a soothing effect and also acts as an anti-bacterial agent for the skin. Long Pause……Then disbelief. “Did you say Zinc Oxide? Isn’t that also the active ingredient in sunscreen?” As a matter of fact, it is. How my mom managed to find the one thing in her house with that ingredient and know that it was helpful and not harmful, I’ll never know. Well, actually, I do know. She used herself as a guinea pig. For the heck of it, I looked up the active ingredient in her dandruff shampoo: Ketoconazole. It is also used to treat skin infections.
I told my mother in law this story and she was like, you have all these fancy chemistry degrees and your mother figured something out on her own that you had no clue about. Ha, ha. She is one smart cookie. Yes, yes, she is. Despite her crude methods of discovery, I maintain my theory that babci would be a great person to be stuck on a deserted island with.
Clearly, I still would have preferred if she sought out medical attention long before her leg got to the infection stage, but it still amazes me how much a person can learn through trial and error and listening to their bodies. Here’s to another crazy babci story for the record books.