As you may remember, yesterday I wasn't feeling so great. In the afternoon I was better, but after dinner my symptoms all came back. I felt lethargic, and had a runny nose and hacking cough.
I took some ibuprofen and a decongestant, but neither did much good. Shortly before I went to bed I was rummaging around in the linen closet looking for other remedies that might help when I stumbled across a small blue jar of Vaporizing Chest Rub (aka generic Vicks VapoRub) that I'd bought it a few years ago when one of the boys had a particularly obnoxious cough.
I have fond memories of VapoRub. When I was a kid, my mom would smear it on my chest and back when I had a cough. It was messy, and made my clothes stick to my skin, but it always made me feel better. (I'm sure part of it was the rub itself, but I think the another important component was Mom’s attention.) I don't think that fond feeling passed down to my kids, though, because the jar was still pretty much full. I decided I'd use some.
Chest rub is like petroleum jelly with menthol, camphor and eucalyptus. When I took the lid off the jar, the overwhelming menthol smell was a bit sentimental. I applied it to my neck and area between my breasts, and was transported back to my childhood. In a few minutes, the medicated area was warm, and the vapors were wafting up towards my nose.
Immediately I felt better. I don't know how much of the effect was psychological, but it didn't matter to me. If it works, it's good.