I am in the midst of an epic battle against an enemy that just will not die.
Every time I think I have successfully eliminated this formidable foe, it returns, bigger and bolder, and with equally hideous and aggressive friends and relatives.
I am in a war, my friends. A war with warts.
Not my own, this time. No, these warts have set up shop on my 6-year-old daughter’s precious little hand. They have been there almost two years now.
It started off with just one near her ring finger. That guy really must have thought he had found some prime real estate because he has subsequently shared this info with about four of his friends who also moved in, and they now have a sprawling community located in the valley stretching from her ring to middle finger.
We tried all of the usual stuff — the liquid, the patches, even the “at-home freezing wand,” to no avail.
My friends who have been on similar missions against this enemy have shared their battle plans. They suggested apple cider vinegar, essential oils, aloe and banana peels, among other things. Trust me, if we’ve heard about it, we’ve tried it. But her cruel warts just laugh at us, callously, like they don’t even care. “A banana peel, really? That’s cute,” I swear I heard one say.
Another friend absolutely swore up and down by duct tape. Unfortunately, where it was located on her hand we couldn’t keep it on long enough to “duck it,” so we had to say, well, you know.
So we headed to our pediatrician, who gave it a few freezes before sending us to our dermatologist, who did the same. Each time they froze it off, it came back more evil, and with friends. Our dermatologist referred to it as “the dreaded ring wart.”
On our last visit to him, he said he wasn’t going to freeze it again and prescribed what he said was a “novel therapy” to eliminate this hideous wart family from her fingers, something called “squaric acid.”
We have started the treatment, but I am not hopeful. These warts like their home and I don’t think they are going anywhere. I think one just bought a new flat-screen TV for football season. I mean, if you can’t obliterate them with an evil ice gun, is an ointment really going to do anything?
Unfortunately, I think she gets this honestly. I had a similarly stubborn wart on my thumb when I was about her age. My mom tried the full line of Compound W products, too. But when those didn’t work, she had another trick up her sleeve. One I unfortunately do not have.
I know this is going to sound crazy. Because it is.
I grew up in rural Clarke County. Even though I lived in the “city,” it was still the sticks. So when my wart wouldn’t go away, my mom took me out to an even more remote part of the county known as the Winn community to see a woman who could supposedly remove it.
The lady, whose name was Mrs. Juanita, walked out and met us as we pulled up.
She examined my wart with a careful eye and then walked around and looked at the rocks in her driveway, as if she was looking for something very specific. Unlike Bono, she finally found what she was looking for and called me over.
To my surprise, this woman, who looked like a regular ol’ Southern grandma (because that’s exactly what she was), spit out a foamy glob of her saliva onto the rock and then rubbed it all over my wart.
I really can’t remember if I was completely horrified by this or just thought an old woman spitting on a rock and then rubbing it on the human papillomavirus on my thumb seemed like business as usual.
But in any case, I swear, the wart went away in a week or two.
Apparently, Mrs. Juanita performed this “service” for many people in the area.
As someone who absolutely does not believe in sorcery of any sorts, I now wonder what it was that made it go away. There has to be some science behind it. Was it the type of rock she chose? Was it some sort of antibody in her spit? Was it the combination of both? Was it just some sort of placebo effect? Who knows, but it worked.
I wish I could take my daughter to Mrs. Juanita now, but she died a long time ago, and when you Google “wart charmers in Mobile, Alabama” nothing comes up. Go figure.
However, if you look up all of the methods mountain folk and witch doctors have used over the centuries to treat these pesky little wartholes, you will most definitely want to throw up a little in your mouth.
It seems people (mostly from Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri) have a lot of different “remedies.”
Apparently, you can steal your neighbor’s dishrag, rub it on the wart and bury it in the backyard. That seems easy enough, and legit! Better hide your wife, your kids, and your dishrags, neighbors! I’m coming!
But they really seem fonder of dead things.
One popular treatment method is to disembowel a frog and wrap its intestines around the wart. You can also murder a black cat and take it “freshly killed” to the cemetery and place it on the grave of someone who died the same day — the “more wicked the person, the better.” Um-kay. That seems like a lot of work!
If slaughtering live animals is not your thing, no problem. Just go into the woods, find a decaying animal, remove one of its bones and rub it over the affected area. You may smell like a dead animal, but no more warts!
Some believe if you take a dead person’s hand and rub it on the wart it will go away.
And for those really “hungry” to rid themselves of these nuisances, the mountain folk say if you take a bite out of your wart, chew it up and swallow it and then spit back on what’s left, it will go away. Bon appetit!
Somehow I feel like my 6-year-old isn’t really going to be into any of these methods. Wonder what is more expensive — dermatology or therapy bills?
Hopefully this squaric acid stuff will work. If not, the frog that lives in our mailbox better sleep with one eye open.
Here, froggy, froggy, froggy.
August 15, 2018 – August 21, 2018 | LAGNIAPPE | 13