Wednesday, February 23, 2005

That Cough Medicine Smell

When I was in elementary school, I'd often get a cough and cold during the winter. I think it was kind of a given that if you live in the frigid cold of Minnesota and play outside in it often enough without really taking note of if you were wearing enough clothes to keep you warm or not, you were going to get sick. Heck, there would be some days that I'd go outside with my brother to play on our snowpile wearing nothing more than a light coat and gloves (so I could make snowballs without my hands freezing) and the temperature would be well below freezing.

Whenever I would develop a coughing cold, my parents had a type of cough medicine that my pediatrician prescribed for me to take. Every time I got sick, we'd just get a refill of it from the pharmacy. Medicine, by its very nature, is horrendous tasting crap. Because of that fact, the only medication I now take is in gel caplet format so I can just swallow it and be done. I even avoid Nyquil, which so many people seem to love for coughs and colds.

The prescribed cough medicine that I took for my childhood colds was different, however. It tasted good! It was literally like liquid candy to me and my parents would have to make sure I only took as much as I was supposed to because if I was given the option, I would have drank the entire bottle down in one long swig. I wish I could describe the taste, but I have a hard time recalling it. I think it tasted something like a mixture of cotton candy and Big League Chew bubble gum. Besides it just tasting similar to cotton candy, it also had a very bright pink color to it, which helped me differentiate it from all other medications I might have had to take.

Later when I changed doctors, I was afraid I wouldn't get to have my liquidy goodness the next time I got sick. When I did finally come down with a cold my parents took me in to his office so he could give me a checkup (he needed to do this before he could prescribe any medication for me). He did the usual stuff--checking ear temperature, having me talk while he felt my glands, and jamming a gigantic plank of wood down my throat to hold my tongue back while he swabbed cut-tips on the back of my mouth making me want to vomit all over him.

After the checkup, he said he'd prescribe some medicine for me. YES! I was still in business. Once we got home and it came time for me to take my medicine, I noticed that the syrup my mom had poured out was not pink. In fact, it was quite a deep red and very gelatinous. I looked up, concerned, at my mom but she reassured me that this stuff was just as good. It wasn't. It tasted like a cat crap sandwich. My days of good cough syrup were over.

I still have a fond rememberance of the smell of my special, pink cough syrup. It was a very putrid, yet oddly sweet smell that I can still recall to this day. Oddly enough, I smelled this very smell again today. It illicited so many memories of my childhood sick days home from school that I had to take a couple of minutes to just sit and think back. Once I finished my nostalgic look back, I stood up off of the toilet, and figured I should get back to work, but before I could fully focus on my work I was confronted by one overpowering thought, "How come my poop smelled like cough medicine?"

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