Good old health care

Health care is all the talk in today’s world and really should be. I grew up in the 1940s and ’50s and can remember the simplicity of health care in those decades so long ago.

Health care is a very big topic in 2019, with billions of dollars spent annually on it. But some of us remember what it was like back in the 1950s.

My grandfather, for instance, lived to be 90, and didn’t have a bathroom, a refrigerator, running water or a television, and seemed quite happy. That would never happen today.

Can you believe how simple health care was in the 1950s? Do you believe also that the majority of people lived long lives without all the pills and treatments that are considered necessary in today’s world?

X-rays back then were just beginning. CT scans and MRIs and chemo were in the future. Of course, they are very valuable today, and we can be glad that we have them.

Yes, those were the days when you just had your tonsils and adenoids removed whether you needed to or not. They claimed that it was best to get that done while you were a child. I can remember being told that if I had my tonsils removed, there was a good chance I would not contact polio!

As a child we were told that a cough could easily be cured with good old Vicks VapoRub, and a large variety of cough drops that we loved so much were more like candy than a medication. I loved Smith Brothers wild cherry cough drops.

Today, we seem to delve into antibiotics for most everything, as doctors and parents want a cure for their patients and kids right now.

The biggest fear in the 1950s was polio or infantile paralysis, which did cause death or being crippled for life. But along came Jonas Salk, who created the Salk vaccine in the 1950s and defeated this terrible disease.

Diseases that were so common in the 1950s were whooping cough, mumps, measles, chicken pox and even scarlet fever. We thought that they were all gone, but it seems that measles has reappeared in some regions of the U.S. I did have whooping cough, measles, chicken pox and even scarlet fever, which caused our home to be quarantined.

It is so hard to even compare health care in the 1950s with today when insurance costs have hit the roof, and many without health care are burdened with even the thought of getting ill.

House calls have long gone. I remember quite well when old Dr. Milliron of Kittanning, Pa., visited our home when my father contacted pneumonia. We were so glad when he appeared.

I also remember a great triumph in the mid-1950s with the creation of a vaccine for the Asian flu. Can you remember?

Yes, there was also something new in the drug world in the ’50s. They called them tranquilizers, which seemed to reduce anxiety and tension, and became really popular — maybe too popular — as people craved their “happy pills” with prescriptions that were sometimes abused by doctors.

At last, our old friend television began an advertising medium for over-the-counter drugs claiming cures for many illnesses without proof. People purchased them anyway.

A lot of things have changed since the 1950s, and most of us do live healthier lives, while others yearn for the old days and fewer doctor visits and fewer worries of health care and insurance premiums, which in today’s world are big priorities.

What do you think?

Offer your thoughts to Whited at olebert1@aol.com.


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