Letter: Letter to the editor Berl Grant

To the editor:

A lot of attention is being given to the high cost of drugs.

One recent article I read mentioned a fellow who has kept his multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, at bay for eight years at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. (The article did mention that most of the coast was covered by Medicare and Medigap insurance.) The issue and concern being the high cost of many of the modern pharmaceuticals that combat complicated diseases.

In recent readings I ran across some information that gave me a little different perspective on the matter.

One book was "The White House Cook Book" published in 1906. In one of its sections it recommends remedies for ailments. For head colds, powdered borax should be sniffed up the nostrils. Whooping cough can be treated with a solution of powdered alum, brown sugar and water.

Recommended for croup is a piece of flannel soaked in turpentine applied to the chest, then take three or four drops of turpentine on a lump of sugar.

Another book that made me think was titled "At Ease," a book of memories written by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

President Eisenhower was in high school around the time the above mentioned "White House Cook Book" was published. He wrote his book in the mid-sixties and commented on the differences he saw in high school from when he was a boy. He wrote that the most dramatic difference he saw with high school was not the curriculum but in the life expectancy of the students.

He commented, “That except for the common cold, any illness might easily be fatal. Quarantines were imposed for the more common ailments of diphtheria, scarlet fever and the like. Treatment consisted of a few simple medications and a nourishing diet while the victim and the family waited for cure or death.”

Ah yes, those were the good old days, when we weren’t burdened with the high cost of drugs to keep us alive. How economical it was to treat our illnesses with borax, alum and turpentine, and the waiting for the cure or death was free.

Berl Grant, Seymour