As a child in the 1960’s I would say “Mum, I feel sick” more often than not, especially after a breakfast of cereal and milk. She doubtless assumed I was trying to get off going to school, and would always tell me to go to school and that by the time morning break came around, then the sick feeling would pass. It invariably did, but it usually returned after we’d all had our quarter pint of milk at 11 o’clock. So I became used to feeling sick at school as well, although was quite pleased to find that I felt better if I swapped the hated warm bottle of milk for a cup of orange juice.
Mum was becoming irritated with my alimentary canal issues, and took me to a child psychologist. I was about 7 or 8 at the time. The doctor asked me if I liked school. I said yes, and it was true. I was often the first one there in the mornings, as Mum and Dad both left for work early, and didn’t trust me to lock the front door. It did not bother me that I was the only child there at 7.40 am. I visited the school secretary and collected the registers and dinner money tins, went around various classrooms giving them out, and felt quite important doing this little job.
At night if I felt sick or had an upset stomach, Mum would pour 30 drops of a thick brown liquid into a glass and add hot water. When I drank it I was suffused with a warm glow and could go back to sleep. As I became older and more aware, I found out it contained an extract of opium! It’s still on sale in pharmacies these days, although is much diluted because the addicts discovered it. Was I addicted to it as a child? Who knows? I often remember calling out for it in the night though. Also, years later after my father had died of cancer and I had to clear out his locker at work, I recognised many empty bottles which had contained the same brown liquid again (I had better not mention its name for fear of legal action). Perhaps we were all addicted to it! To this day myself and my family swear by it for ‘holiday tummy’ and also coughs funnily enough, and always take a bottle in our suitcases if we go away.
Anyway, eventually the psychologist couldn’t find anything wrong with me, and suggested it could be kidney infections. I went on feeling sick well into my thirties, when the feeling started becoming worse, causing me to throw up every time I had a cup of tea with milk in it. I was at my wits’ end until I read about dairy intolerance and decided to visit an alternative health clinic and be skin tested. I had started suffering from migraines too. However…. Eureka! Alarms on the testing probe went into orbit as I was tested for dairy products.
From that day in 1995 and onwards I never touched another drop of milk again or ate anything containing milk products. Nowadays I eschew cheese, chocolate, cream, milk, creamy puddings, and anything on the menu that has the prefix ‘creamy’. I hardly ever feel sick these days, and never have migraines. Moral of the story – it’s a good idea to believe your child when they say they feel sick!