When I was a kid in the Sixties the medicine cupboard in the bathroom was stuffed with well, stuff. There was so much medicine my parents had a second one in the kitchen and it was here that most medical treatment took place, on the lino next to the sink.
Now my parents weren't brain surgeons but they were trained in the hurly-burly school of hard knocks and being the fifth of five children I benefited from all the live experiments they had carried out on my siblings. By 1960 their dressings were perfect.
Treatment administered by Doctors Woods and Woods aka my folks could be divided into two main branches: field surgery and general maintenance.
Surgery in the field involved any medical assistance required as a result of trauma during juvenile horseplay and risk-taking. Usually my injuries were minor knee scuffs, grass burns, splinters, cuts, bruises and the occasional sprain. Very infrequently bones would snap and protrude thus demanding skills a touch beyond the medicine cupboard and first aid kit.
In response to the above cuts and bruises, usually accompanied by raucous wailing, the attending parent would always, and I mean always, apply some TCP. Now TCP isn't TLC. TLC is tender loving care and we all want that.
TCP was a bio-hazard used to scrub nuclear reactors. It reeked to high heaven and should have been banned under the Geneva Convention for WMD. It was 'orrible stuff and as a result of being 'orrible it just had to get applied to my body didn't it.
The colour of it wasn't the problem. I could cope with bright yellow horse urine. It wasn't even the smell, although that did linger on you all week, forever branding you in School as 1. Wimp 2. Mummy's Boy 3. Unclean and 4. that Mommy's kissed it better.
Some kids stank of TCP all the time and were sadly shunned like plague victims.
No, it was the effect a bottle of TCP had on an open wound that was life-defining. Words like painful/ agonising/ excruciating just don't cut it. Either poured on neat or dabbed on with a ball of cotton wool the result was the same, a instantaneous mega-sting by the King of Hornets himself! The TCP burn brought on howls, screams, hisses, gasps and teeth-clenching otherwise only heard in the lower regions of Dante's Inferno.
Once the wound had been suitably cauterised a layer of secondary gloop was applied. I say gloop as it was always out of a tin or tube and unlike the glass bottled TCP, it was thick and creamy, for which the word ointment was specifically invented. Brands like Savlon, Germolene and Calamine lotion ooze to mind.
Burns received butter to allow the skin to cook further until crispy and my older brothers, had they been on call, would have slapped on some alien green swarfega intense hand cleaner for that extra loud scream.
Suitably savloned the laceration would be covered. The universal covering of choice was the sticking plaster and these came either in handy strips of perforated pink tape or massive blankets of butt brown adhesive cloth which had to be cut with surgical scissors.
Obviously the larger the plaster the bigger the respect you got at school. Huge foot long plasters received the greatest kudos but sadly the glory ended as soon as they had to be pulled off.
Only slow cooking on a rotisserie could be more painful than tearing off a big plaster and on the more hirsute of us like me immediate unconsciousness was guaranteed half-way through. Many a time I was found in a heap with a gigantic elastoplast half torn off my hairy arm.
Science hasn't yet found words to describe the residue left behind by adhesive plasters. An almost impossibly sticky white goo in the shape of a small football pitch, it could take millions of years to come off and when rolled over live human hair morphed into a life-form straight from the planet Torture. Incredibly I still have patches of the stuff on me from when I was five!
Part 2 to follow: general maintenance and other drinks
Did you get treated for cuts and bruises as kids readers?