Diseases and Medicines
On account of so many fleas, bed bugs, lice, and ants, we always had infected wounds on our legs, causing skin disease. Very rare was a boy or girl in our town who did not suffer skin lesions or disease on his or her leg. I for one had many.
I used to have the scabs of my skin disease licked by our dog. It is believed that the dog’s saliva has healing powers. Hence I had a lot of scars on my legs previously healed by dogs’ saliva.
Another injury that we suffered was a thorn-prick in our feet. Once the injury is infected, that part of the foot becomes swollen and very painful. So in order to be able to walk, I had to use either the ball of my foot or the heel or the side to walk with. It was a very painful experience but we took it as a part of life. It took days or weeks before the wound or disease healed, because our only medicine was kerosene or leaves of malongay crushed and pressed to the wound, or castor plant sap applied to the injury.
Our parents just let us cure our own injuries with primitive herbal medicine. There was no pharmacy or dispensary to run to when I was a small kid.
Our life then was survival of the fittest! At that time infant mortality was very high due to unsanitary habits and environment.
We had a boy whose name was Balentin, about my age, 5 years old, given to us by Tata Anton. He had unusual primitive knowledge of breaking a piece of stone with his bare hands.
One night he had stomach trouble and the following morning he was dead.
My parents just wrapped him in a buri mat and buried him in the Pauper’s Cemetery without church services or anything, like a dog.
That was how “CHEAP” life was then!
How I and my brother survived, only God knows. Maybe it was not His plan for us to die young like Balentin.
Almost every December when the weather was cold, we always had colds with running nose.
Almost every March when it was hot, we always had sore eyes or bleeding nose.
During rainy season, starting May of the year, up to November, we had fever on account of our running out to take a bath in the rain until our lips were blue and until our teeth were chattering as we went upstairs to be wrapped in a blanket to keep warm and dry.
Mother and Father would force us to swallow castor oil when we had fever that forced us to have an enema in the afternoon. On the third day we got well. Praise the Lord!
We did not know about germs or viruses then. What we knew is that if it is God’s will that you die, you die. Amen!