Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Miracle Drug

The first year we lived in Oaxaca, I was befuddled by the absence of all my favorite home and alternative remedies. I love zinc and airborne and certain vitamins that I just could not find.

The second year living here, I have developed newfound love for Oaxaca's home and alternative remedies. I take Una de Gato to fight a recurrence of cancer. I take SimiImmune (from Dr. Simi!) for everything. I love sal de uvas--grape salt--for tummy stuff. And then there's Vitacilina.

Vitacilina is one of those things I started out mocking. I was over at a friend's house and she saw the bloody gash on Max's arm from when he put his arm through the window at school. She scolded me, "Aren't you putting Vitacilina on that?" Well, I would if I knew what it was.

She ran and procured a tube of it from her medicine cabinet. It was a small green and white tube and inside, was, I could swear, just plain old Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, the gross yellow color and the haunting yuck of petroleum products bringing me back to my Nana's bathroom where she had some scrungy old jar of it on the counter, covered in the dust of time and baby powder.

Vitacilina. Well, why not? When in Mexico...

Max's arm healed up, and we had the remainder of the tube my friend, Gabi, had given to me. Geni had diaper rash, so we splooged on some of it. And then there was the bug bites Steve got on his ankle. I had itchy legs from the cold weather snap (yes, folks, it dipped below a high of 75). Steve got a little rash on his back, or sunburn. I had a scar from when I cracked my head on the tile floor.

And so we find ourselves buying more and more Vitacilina. I have grown to appreciate it almost as much as those pharmacists who have tile murals dedicated to its image plastered on the outside wall of their shops. There it is, in nine square tiles, a beaming giant tube of Vitacilina, with the pharmacy's entire exterior often painted a complementary color as if to say...this Vitacilina, this is what we are about.

I understand the seductive power of Vitacilina when I find myself reassuring Max, "Don't worry, we'll put some Vitacilina on it." Mothers everywhere in Mexico are midnight witch doctors, rubbing Vitacilina on everything from blisters to bites, reminding their children that soon, so soon, everything will be better, because Vitacilina has this mystical power to carry all their woes and worries away.

1 comment:

Meranda said...

Sounds like when Chris Rick talks about the "Tussin".