By Thursday evening Skye had been ill with the flu for 6 days. I had spoke to the Dotoressa on the phone who had instructed me to give her sciroppo for the cough and a mysterious medicine to be administered in the form of a suppository if the fever gets too high.
I had been giving her a trusted British childrens paracetamol, two pills dissolved in a glass of water, but by Friday evening when she was showing no signs of getting better Carlo decided that it was time to use the suppository, which all Italians trusted and knew to work.
“My mother always says to measure a childs temperature at eight in the evening, and to give the suppository which will calm the fever. I am going to get the medicine, my brothers wife will surely have some.” And he set off across town to pick up this wonder-drug from his brothers house.
He arrived back half an hour later with this miraculous bullet shaped drug that he placed reverently on the table.
“Are you going to do it or am I?” He asked me, obviously hoping that I would do it.
“I’ll do it, give it here, no, hang on...let me just explain to Skye where its going to go...”
I’m sure you can imagine the look of panic that came across her face when I explained to her where this wonderful medicine was going. If she had been well enough she would have run a mile. However, after a small struggle and lots of clenching of buttocks, I popped it in and guiltily sat back and watched her scream in outrage. Then she went quiet for a while. Half an hour passed and she blearily turned to me and asked, “ Mummy, can you take it out now please?” I explained that it had all gone by now, melted away by her fever but she didn’t believe me and was clearly quite traumatized by the whole experience.
So what was in this wonder drug anyway? I picked up the leaflet and inspected it further. To my dismay I realised that the suppository was only paracetamol, and EXACTLY the same amount as the two pills that I could have harmlessly dissolved in water and made her drink. Why do the Italians have so many medicines that have to be taken in the form of a suppository?
And why would anyone want to administer a medicine to a child via their bottom when it could be drank?
However, by midnight her fever had broken and the next morning had gone. Carlo shrugged and said smugly, “well, of course she’s better, it was the medicine I got for her of course!”