Friday, April 3


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!”


  1. Very odd indeed, what is the difference...I know which I would prefer to give to my child/children...poor Lila..

  2. I stopped using the suppositories on Dylan at about six months old. Now we do the Tachipirina sciroppo, and it's the same thing! And it must taste good because he drinks it down. In fact, he has a fever now. You basically divide their weight in half in kilos and give them that many milliliters of syrup. Dylan weighs 12 kilos, for example, and thus gets 6 ml of medicine. Next time tell the Italians you are using the same 'wonder drug' - just in syrup form!

  3. I haven't given suppositories to my kids since they were babies. I suppose that you are lucky she didn't prescribe needles - another favourite there.
    My son got sick too today with fever. I'm leaving at 6am tomorrow! Have to fit in a doctor's visit here rather than risk the town one !
    See you there? Need to buy some Crema di Limone and crema D'Arancia soap!

  4. When Marina was little she would literally throw up any medicine I gave her! And she used to get really high fevers. Suppositories were the only thing she couldn't vomit and they worked so fast to help her fever. Now adays it's a good thing she can swallow a pill, she still gags at any medicine that comes in liquid form including cough syrup.

  5. I think that this is the ever-popular Tylenol (brand) or acetaminophin that we use in the States. We have it in liquid and tablets and gel tabs and lozenges. . . but I don't think I've ever seen it as a suppository. It perhaps one of the most popular over-the-counter drugs available & is recommended for a slew of ailments including fever. We buy it in bottles of 100's of caplets.
    It's good to know what to ask for in the farmacia should the need arise.

  6. Nellie said,
    Fevers are the bain of we mothers , they make us fret and second guess tries and true methods we'd used before.
    I am glad all worked out, my daughter Serena used to be quite affronted that I would use a suppository, once she said to me mommy can you do first.
    I declined.
    All's well that ends well, enjoy your weekend.

  7. Getting Alexander to drink any kind of medicine apart from cough syrup was a constant struggle because he couldn't stand the taste. Suppositories are SO much easier to deal with!

    Now he's big enough to take pills though - he learned in Italy by the way, by taking motion sickness pills - but if he's got a stomach flu or a sore throat he still asks for the suppositories.

    So relieved to hear that she's doing a little better!

  8. So pleased to hear she's on the mend - but what a good job you didn't give her the tablets AND the suppositories. The only time I ever had/used a suppository was when I was pregnant and being violently sick. The doctor said it was the safest way (for the baby) to give a medication for the problem.


  9. So glad to hear that she is better,what a relief!

  10. Don't tell Luca (or Lila!!), but her fever would have broken just the same had she just swallowed two more pills.

    Suppositories are generally given when one is too nauseated to take oral meds.

    Either method is equally effective though...glad she's feeling better!

  11. Thanks for stopping by. Love the contrast of photos between stunning Italian scenery and romantic English ones.

    I love the crochet dolls too, did you make them?

    By the way dogs aren't all they're cracked up to be. Alfie is very noisy like a potbellied pig and he eats literally everything! Disgusting boy.


  12. The dreaded SUPOST (forgive me if i didn't spell it correctly) all i know is my little boy runs off when he sees it. But its true it is what the doctor prescibes here. it works.

  13. Blimey, there is no way I would want to put anything up a bottom, not even paracetemol! Though having a few Italian friends I do know they are fascinated with what comes out as well, it's a measure of health.

    Hope your little Lila is on the road to recovery, have a lovely and settled weekend,

    Nina x

    ps. 'The House for Smack Boys' is something to do with trainee/apprentice fishermen on the 'smack boats' apparently!

  14. How scary that she was sick for so long! Glad Lila's fever broke. Hope she is back to her normal self soon.

  15. This is very educational - thanks! So if my crazy paediatrician tells us we have to do the suppositories I'll just say "yes, yes" but ask the farmacia for some nice tachipirina syrup (unless she's barfing of course!)

    I've long wondered why Italians feel the need to use the most painful, least pleasant mode of getting drugs into people-when other cultures just use pills or syrups. I've been pretty shocked when the doctor has told me to do injections- surely it can't be safe the way Italians are always sticking eachother with needles? And definitely not necessary (with very rare exceptions).

    My theory is that many Italians feel that if they and/or their kid has been traumatised by an injection or a suppository rather than a pleasant tasting syrup the medicine is 'working better'.

  16. Hello

    I hope you are ok and haven't been affected too badly by the earthquake ?


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