There wasn’t a medicine cabinet per se, because no one ever got sick. A philosophy eventually built up around this. One time I stepped on a fishhook and instinctively yanked it to remove it; that was a mess. One time I fell into an anthill. One time I accidentally drank the dog’s antitick medicine lifted from the refrigerator door, only because I thought it was my bubblegum flavored antibiotic. This was one of two times I was rushed to the emergency room. They pumped my stomach. The other time was over a bloody nose. An entire bathroom towel was used to squelch the gusher, which immediately stopped flowing as soon as we walked through the ER doors. So, it’s not that anyone was being irresponsible. It’s just all the accoutrements of a first aid kit weren’t available nor gathered in one place. There was always hydrogen peroxide. I gargled with it after every baby tooth fell out. And also, aspirin. My mother always had aspirin. When I got my first car, I was gifted a first aid kit to keep in the trunk. I knew it was logical and practical, but it seemed bizarre.
I reflect on this as an adult whenever there’s an affliction or accident. How calm and even-keeled I am in the face of an emergency; how prepared I am now. How did I become this way after the willful ignorance of my rearing? Recently, a friend blacked out and face planted directly onto my hardwood floors. Broke his nose. I was calm and cool as a cucumber. Another bath towel was sacrificed. My medicine-cabinet-missing childhood is also a complete 180* to the prescription-filled adulthoods I see. There’s a pill for everything; then there’s a pill for any of the side effects caused by the first set of pills. It’s a depressing racket.
I credit my mother’s seemingly irresponsible parenting to my current aversion to illness now, and I’m better for it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So strong, I have blinders to prescription advertisements and a visceral disdain for the marketing of Western diseases. Both things are sold as inevitable. You can hear it in the way people speak about getting old and what is coming in due course. All of us may become afflicted with things out of our control, but most medical problems people have are the self-inflicted results of lifestyle choices.
I will not participate in the perpetuation of cancer. I avoid, ignore, turn off, turn the page away from all advertisements related to medicines or organizations or charities. I specifically apply this to outfits like Susan G Komen’s Breast Cancer propaganda. (the second sentence of their Wiki page states, ‘the largest and best-funded breast cancer organization.’) Best funded. That should tell you. I will never wear the pink or buy the pink in support of the mission. Mission to what? Keep it in the forefront of one’s mind? Why would I want to believe that breast cancer is my future? Even the thought is a sickness. The constant drumbeat of disease via advertisements and commercials of pharmaceutical drugs becomes a worm in people’s minds reinforcing a belief about a particular fate. The drugs and the marketing are there to make money, not give cures. The ‘cures’ are just as pernicious and deadly.
I feel similarly about recovering alcoholics. If it has been so many years since you’ve had a drink, why do you still call yourself an alcoholic? Would you like to relapse? If you’re a different person, stop labeling yourself as the other person. We get attached to these stories about ourselves. We get attached to stories about disease.
Consider when reading online or scrolling social media and something is marketed to you, did you want it before you knew it existed? Likely not. My mother’s ignorance of sickliness has become a savior to me as I place her framing on the ills of our world. Our minds are very powerful. Our thoughts literally tell the cells in our bodies how to behave. Western diseases and the maladies of America are a choice. I don’t have to agree with another person’s story about the inevitabilities in life. Just because my ascendants were afflicted with something doesn’t ensure I will be. I can take preventative measures and personal responsibility. No, dis-ease isn’t inevitable. Pain and suffering are not inevitable. I behave differently. I choose differently. I tell myself a different story. The human body is not immortal, but I will not attach my mind to the masses.