Saturday, January 21, 2017

This is why you don't take all your medicine at once

As part of my research for my current work in progress (the second volume of my Western series, the Ames Archives), I came across this gem.  It's from page 67 of the first edition of 'Fifty Years on the Owl Hoot Trail' by Harry E. Chrisman.

[In the early 1880's, in what is today the Oklahoma Panhandle], Old James (Medicine) Steadman ... was a town character who had earned his nickname when he prescribed some physic pills for a sick Indian a wandering tribe had left in Benton.  Before leaving, the Indian's friends administered the entire package of pills Steadman had sold them, and the brave nearly died.  After three days sitting in the sod john, back of Tom Parker's saloon, the brave left, following the trail of his friends.  "White man heap run 'em, stink 'em, kill 'em sick Injun," he told Tom, who had let him sleep in the saloon's bullpen.  "Me go die with good Injun friends."

I've had days like that, but never three of them in a row!  Whatever that 'physic' (i.e. laxative) was, it seems to have worked exceptionally well - but then, I'm sure one wasn't supposed to take all the tablets at once.  Talk about kill or cure!



Glen said...

Almost certainly Calomel (mercury chloride)

CoastConFan said...

Under the medieval theory of the four humors, a balance between them was required for a healthy life. Purgatives were used to remove excess bile from the system. The idea of purging out the bad things in your life has been around for a long time. Science and medicine as we know them in the present day has been a fairly recent invention. There are still lapses that occur these days such as fad diets and global warming. Nonetheless, classic patent medicine quackery pretty much bit the dust with the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. There’s a lot of interesting information available on the colorful advertising of those patent medicines and their barkers.

For an early American purgative that was available for many decades, see the link for a write up of Rush’s Bilious Pills (as far as I know he’s no relation to the radio host).

Uncle Lar said...

About sixty years ago my younger, by a year, brother found a stash of what he assumed was chocolate candy in the bathroom. As I recall it took something like 24 hours for it to finally leave his system. Quite lucky on our part that the house had two bathrooms.

Cleaned out said...

Funny you should say, as the "prep" for my colonoscopy last Thursday had me taking what was labelled on the bottle as "14 once-daily doses" as 8 doses over the course of two hours on a single evening.

DaddyBear said...

On occasion, some of the medicines my (witch) doctor has forced on me have indeed made me want to walk out into the wilderness and curl up under a creosote bush to die.