Betty Ago: Mustard Plasters

I have a code. A code in my stuffy nose, and I’m coughing, and achy, and … everyone knows all about this. Have you ever met anyone who does not know about it? If so, they must be from another planet.

I should point out that living here in our CCRC has made a cold a little easier to manage. My husband can continue with his activities while still being available for hot tea delivery along with the latest gossip. Hot food is available from the dining room. The doctor is just next door. I even get “Get Well Soon” cards from friends. Then, there are the random memories that flood in while lying in bed.

I still remember the smell and feel of the mustard plasters that my mother put on my chest whenever I had one of my frequent colds. The ingredients, according to my memory, are ground mustard seed and glycerin spread between pieces of old sheeting. It smelled terrible but felt warm on my chest. Did it help? I don’t know. However, my mother felt that she was doing something for her miserable little girl.

Curiosity led me to “Google” mustard plasters. This medical home remedy popped up in the biography of one Fanny Crosby (1820-1915).It seems that her blindness was attributed to the use of mustard plasters when she was just a few weeks old and had a cold. Fanny had an amazing life. Among other things, she was known as the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers.” She wrote over 8,000 hymns with over 100 million copies printed. She was instrumental in improving education for the blind. And, yes, she was a relative of Bing Crosby. It would take far more room than is appropriate for a blog to summarize all the things she did and presidents she met and legislation she inspired.

It just proves how interesting it can be to travel down the road of random history while using up boxes of tissues.

Betty Ago



Betty is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale entry fee communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.

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