I can’t remember the number of times I’ve taken a good, hard pull on a bottle of whisky right before I’ve had to take a bullet out of my leg. Amazing, isn’t it? But it’s absolutely true.
The part about not remembering.
It might be none, but then it just means I don’t count in the statistics profile of folks who have done it. It’s still substantial, especially if you watch anything with Clint Eastwood or John Wayne in it. Those guys truly utilize their booze. And I for one feel that all TV is reality TV—at least to most six year olds, which was when I watched the bulk of my cowboy and casino-owning-American movies.
It got me thinking about just how important whisky is to our society. It’s not just for breakfast anymore. Slogging through miles of microfilm at the local library, I came to discover Google is a lot more fun, but not nearly as impressive sounding. Still, it did turn up an old newspaper article from May 22nd, 1922, revealing how a considerable number of physicians of the time supported the medicinal use of whisky.
Yep. Big surprise. Huge.
I’m married to a physician. Things haven’t changed, folks. His prescription pad could easily show a couple shot glasses filled with amber liquid and the pre-inked scribble Take two of these and call me in the morning.
Of course, many of the believers were big advocates of the slogan Physician, heal thyself. Many still are.
Yet, there are limits to what most of our western-trained docs will allow as “good practice” today. Before you slosh a few glugs onto an open wound prior to stitching it up, most would highly recommend you check the alcohol content. 70% is the magic number. Anything higher and the tissue’s cell walls close up tighter than the lips of a cat who knows she’s about to get her teeth brushed. Nothing penetrates through a ring of coagulated proteins on the inside of the cell walls.
I’m pretty sure this is just a fancy way of saying that you’ll still have a bucketload of germs, temporarily stunned, but ready to shake it off and rejoin the game in a minute. So in the search for an antiseptic, you’ll have to ferret through all of your cask strength whiskies for just the right one.
Now the whole bit about whisky (or any alcohol for that matter) as an anesthetic is a smidge fluffed up by the entertainment industry. All right, not a smidge—totally. It’s not even going to dull the pain if you’re planning to have all your back hair removed in a giant waxing session. When I posed this question to Dr. Sir Sackier, asking whether alcohol could be viewed as helpful at all in a surgical manner his response was, “Sure, if the surgeon is nervous.” Apparently, the amount needed to render a patient unconscious is perilously close to the amount needed to render a patient dead.
Now back in the day when my husband would come home from work and announce he needed an extra gallon or two of blood for research he was doing back in his lab and would I mind if he took a small (cough, cough) sample, I quickly learned how little practice he had in drawing blood. I also learned that if I had a dram before he practiced on me, his aim improved. Alcohol dilates blood vessels and helped me from becoming a human pincushion.
Speaking of coughs, scores of folks believe that whisky is the best part of having a cold. Hot toddies are reason enough to shake hands with a guy who seems to be hacking up small chunks of his own lungs. Saddled with a sore throat? Gargle with Glenfiddich. Swirl some Swedish Mackmyra. Choke it down. Do it for your health. People are relying on you and you need to get better.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that whisky is also used as a source of currency, for fuel, as a new biofuel, to flavor foods, and my dentist says it works remarkably well as a stain, contributing to that highly sought after milky tea color most folks want in order to obtain a stellar smile.
Sure, there are loads of things whisky can be used for other than drinking, but ultimately my water of life allows me to receive a series of gifts. A sense of history, the taste of a great land, the stories of those who created it, and an overwhelming sense of warmth that comes from sharing a great dram.
Here’s to your health. Brought to you by whisky. A damn good dram.