It came to me one day while applying antibiotic ointment to my young daughter’s scrape. With similar wounds to my daughterâ€™s in my own childhood, out came a rectangular amber glass bottle of Merthiolate or Mercurochrome. The pinkest liquid youâ€™ve ever seen – over the top pink, pink on heroin. There are lots of different kinds of pain, but two childbirths later I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever felt more burn than was delivered by that little bottle.
At my house, the Merthiolate ritual was the same every time. Mom or Dad would lift us along with our newly cleaned ï»¿[insert appropriate body part here] to sit on top of the kitchen counter. Some quorum of family members would stand around us poised to assist, cheeks poofed out with a lung full of air, pointed at the wound. On cue, after the medicine was applied, all the helpers would immediately start blowing (lots of new germs, I can see all these years later) on the carefully cleaned wound to make that infernal sting stop. Read all »