My old pediatrician, Dr. Kholenbrenner, was brought up in conversation the other day. Throughout the years, my mother would bring up his advice for different ailments that ultimately nothing could be done for. He was my doctor from my birth, probably until my family left Chicago when I was 14.
The other day, it hit me- Dr. Kholenbrenner just pulled random things out of thin air to tell my mother just because she didn't know better, and he wanted to shut her up. To this day, she still believes that if you de-fizz a soda, it will settle an upset stomach. (An upset stomach just has to resolve itself unless it's been too long). I'm surprised he didn't prescribe skittles, although maybe he did and I just don't remember.
I laughed at my mom the other day and said, "Mom. Dr. Kholenbrenner pulled things out of his rear end just to shut you up."
She retorted, "He saved your life!" This is true- I had appendicitis at age 6, and the surgeon described it as "red hot and ready to go".
But, still. Now that I am a grown up with some 20 years experience, I know what he was doing. I just wish I had those skills. His skills of strait-lacedly telling parents to do xyz even though there's really nothing to be done is something I definitely could use. He was 78 when he died in 2001, which I guess would make him 94 now? If he were still around, I'd ask his secret.