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 Happy Birthday, Big Mama! When I was little, my grandmother had a medicine chest in her bedroom. It was different from the medicine chest in her bathroom as it contained the ‘good’ medicine. It contained the things she treasured; the items she knew would help her or anyone else in her family. She was born in 1912 to a man who had already buried one wife and born 23 other children. She was born to a poor family; the last daughter of an Irish man and a Cherokee woman. She lost my grandfather to Germany in WWII and was forced to ‘work’ in a man’s world with only a 6th grade education passed to her from her siblings. She arranged flowers, she put make-up on the deceased, she sewed fancy dresses, she assisted soldiers take care of their wounds, she gardened and grew herbs to sell. She was a true single mom / healer/ Jane of all trades. So, even as a child, I knew her special medicine chest did not contain aspirin or analgesics. It contained herbs. It contained tinctures. It contained sewn together wraps for sprains. It contained a tiny knife. It contained moonshine. It contained jars of pickled pigs feet – I know, right!? The bottom line is that she knew from growing up in the mountains and having a large family that there was a better way to heal. There was a way for humans to strengthen themselves. There was a way for her to be stronger for her family. Today would have been my grandmother’s 103rd birthday had she lived. And I feel compelled to share an experience she would be proud of. Touring Philadelphia … I had been taught way back in nursing school of the infamous Dr. Philip Syng Physick. He was the first American to hold a Director of Surgery title in America’s first hospital. They built the first operation room in Philadelphia in 1804 specifically for him to use. It was the first to have an auditorium where interested parties could observe live surgeries. They even sold tickets to this ‘show’ (obviously no HIPPA and privacy practice laws back then!) I knew a brief history of his endeavors to create instruments of surgery that are still used today. I knew he was a man born well before his soul’s time. So, as our carriage passed a sign that read “The Doctor is In” I almost peed myself with excitement! We doubled back to the corner of 4th and Cypress and what I found there has me eternally grateful. Standing on the steps of the oldest home in Philly (built in 1787!), I knocked on the door and one J. Del Conner answered. He invited my family inside and I shook the hand of Dr. Physick’s great-great-great grandson. He offered us a tour of the historic home of the finest silk rugs, the most beautiful custom wall paper, the most lavish of paintings and fine silk covered sleeping couches. But I lost my knees when we reached the upstairs bedroom of Dr. Phsyck. The bed reminded me of my grandmother’s and in my heart I called to her. My pulse quickened and I suddenly asked “ may I see his instruments and where he worked?” Across the hall was a small museum dedicated to the work of Dr. Physick. From his school work and diagrams of the first cadavers, the first scalpel, the first cataract removers... he introduced the first stomach pump, used the cat-gut for internal sutures, performed the first successful blood transfusion and the first successful American surgery. All this in the 1800’s. And I hear you asking “how was that even possible back then?” I asked it too! In the Corner … Well, the truth is Mr. Phsyck did not want to be a doctor at all. He wanted to be a silversmith. And this is what he used to invent these instruments; SILVER. You mean he knew silver instruments would decrease the chance of infection? He had the knowledge that if a person’s body was strong enough, and he washed his hands and used silver instruments, and used what was in his medicine chest… AHAAAA WAIT! The medicine chest, tucked away in the corner of the one room museum of this glorious man’s life… What was in it? I had to know. So, here I squat down beside his great-great-great grandson and we begin lifting bottles out. Bottles the very Dr. Physick touched… smelled…and utilized to save lives. Bottles of Lavender, peroxide, sulfur...bottles of seltzer… Wait..so you are saying that in the 1800’s this man used old world oils, tinctures, and remedies WITH the modern surgeries and procedures he himself was inventing? And right then is when it happened. I felt my grandmother’s hand on my shoulder this past Sunday in historic Philadelphia. And tears ran down my cheeks. I felt so amazed to be sitting here with what I consider Medical Royalty. I felt so honored to learn he treasured this box of small bottles with the ‘ good medicine’. I felt as though I would have loved to have worked along the side of this doctor in the 1800’s. I felt I was sent to this house… What I wanted VS. Who I am … I always wanted to help people, heal them, bring them comfort. But, most days, I don’t want to do it in a conventional or modern way. I use oils. I use tinctures. I use salves. And in that moment, looking in that medicine chest , I knew I am right where I need to be. I am still a good nurse. I am still a good mom. I am still a good friend. And I do these things by using methods that have proven themselves time and time again. I use methods that weren’t perfect but most of the time were safe ( I am not talking about the blood letting , right now! ) And I know when to call in the big guns, just as Dr Physick knew when to schedule a surgery. You see, some people start out marrying a wonderful man who dies defending his country ….. some people start out wanting to be silversmith’s… some people start out as a Western Medicine Devoted RN… and then something happens to them causing a change in their ‘plan’. Something calls to them …. Something gives them an ability to sew , to teach about old world healing methods , to complete the first successful surgeries…. Something compels them to fill a medicine chest with their own plan… Something gives them a feeling in their heart that they are right where they need to be in life. So, I ask you now…. What is in your medicine chest? Will it be the first ‘REAL’ medicine chest in your family? April 21, 2015 Messages from the Medicine Chest…

 

http://www.philalandmarks.org/ http://drphysick.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Syng_Physick
Want to know more about Dr. Physick? Try these sites. BIG Thanks to Mr. J. Del Conner for such a wonderful tour!
Thanks for reading ! Bill & Angela SUBSCRIBE to our BLOG! Disclaimer
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Although I am a medical professional, the content of this site is for informational purposes only. Information posted here represent only my opinions or the opinions of other clinical professionals and/or professionals within their areas of expertise and are not to be used to diagnose, treat, or replace professional medical advice. You are responsible for how you use your homeopathic remedies including herbs, plants, tinctures, and essential oils. Please use them reasonably and carefully.