Where Has All The Ipecac Gone?

In my first post , I mentioned  moving  to a farm in the Mettowee Valley. We moved there to live a simple life,  and to grow and sell organic vegetables. As always,  I devoured books, trusting  published experts  to guide  my minimalist self-sustainable, “simple life” transformation.  Browsing the  Northshire Bookstore one afternoon, I found and  purchased a used copy of “The Good Life” by Helen and Scott Nearing.  It looked promising and I eagerly began to read. Halfway into chapter 1,  I commented to my husband, “I could be wrong, but it sounds like the Nearing’s Bondville property was very near where my grandfather grew up.” Page 25 confirmed my hunch, the author mentioned Rodney- my grandfather, and relayed the story of Rodney and his brother  Harold burning the pasture that bordered the Nearing  boundary.  Soon after the pasture burning incident ,  Scott Nearing approached my widowed great-grandmother Mercy and purchased  her land.   
My grandfather remembered the Nearings-
“Yep they were kind of strange people from the city.”

Knowledge  that  the Nearings  lived on my great grandmothers land,  fueled our interest, and intensified our devotion to the Nearing model. I would have loved to have visited the stone house they built there but  deciding  Vermont  was too congested with skiers, the Nearings left and  started over in Maine.   I had to settle for a  visit to  their Maine home.  Their home was small and sparely furnished with a built in table and benches.  We lived in a  drafty 2400 square foot farmhouse so we couldn’t really copy that too well.  But they did eat mostly food they produced, and each owned a single wooden bowl from which they ate. That was something we could work with.   On the way home from our visit we purchased 7 Vermont made wooden bowls. Each family member learned  to  wash and put away their personal dish after eating. We consumed mostly  food we raised on our farm- dried beans, eggs, chicken, root vegetables and our canned foods nourished  us through winter. In the summer we ate everything fresh and in season. We traded some of our produce for raw milk and grass fed beef. We purchased lamb raised on the hillside opposite our house. It was a lot of work, but tasty and overall satisfying.

Nowadays,  I see the irony of our looking to the Nearings for a model of the simple life ! My own ordinary grandparents were the experts.  As a child, almost every weekend I had visited their modest home in Shaftsbury Hollow.  There I gathered eggs, picked corn and peered into bird nests. Lillian my gramma, was a fabulous cook and stuffed us with homemade bread, venison, canned berries,  and ears of Silver Queen Corn.  Maybe someday I will write my grandparents guide to the simple life!

While we were busy copying the Nearing model, sugar was a rare treat in our home,  but that didn’t eliminate  childhood cravings.

So one hot summer day, as we gathered for lunch, our son Danny, four years old, walked into the kitchen wiping his mouth on his shirt sleeve, and with a guilty look handed me the empty bottle of liquid Advil. “I just finished it,” he whispered looking at his bare feet. “You drank this whole bottle of medicine?” I asked incredulously. “Why?”  “It tastes good ,”he shrugged. I dialed poison control, already missing my kidney which would soon be donated to Danny.

Bear with me readers , we are almost to some useful information here. The situation wasn’t as bad as I feared. The bottles of flavored medicine are small precisely for this reason, kids before mine have removed the safety cap and gulped down all of the sweet grape liquid. Danny’s  kidneys would survive. In 2004, poison control did advise us to administer Syrup of Ipecac as an additional precaution.

Danny innocently swallowed the Ipecac Syrup, bribed with a Kicking Cow Cola chaser. Somehow our son who was raised on healthy home grown natural foods had become a sugar addict and now we were using it to our advantage!

The Ipecac Syrup worked as expected, ten minutes later his stomach contents were flushed down the toilet. From that day on I tried to keep Ipecac handy with my other emergency first -aid supplies. Recently the current bottle expired and I sought a refill only to discover it was no longer sold in the first aid department- and more surprising – it is not sold on Amazon!

The Tip- Finally!

Investigating further I  learned Ipecac is no longer a recommended poison treatment. (Good thing I check medication expiration dates, or I would never have known!) If an intervention is necessary for poison ingestion, activated charcoal administered in a medical facility is the preferred current treatment. Treatment within an hour of ingestion is ideal, and an Ipecac attempt may delay the best treatment.

With any poisoning concern, head to the hospital or call 911 and then call the poison control hotline. You will receive expert advice from the poison hotline.  What a practical use of a mobile phone, you can consult an expert, even while driving toward one.

Thanks for listening to my ramble, please check your cupboards and cull expired medications, and add the poison control hotline number to your contacts.   You might  avoid using an ineffective treatment, and may learn something new as well.

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