I recently read an article about the rising costs of health care. Anyone who has health insurance knows that if you have a family to pay the premiums it won’t take long to run out of all your paychecks.

After reading the article, I began to wonder how my parents got through all eight kids without going broke and paying for health care. Back then, I remembered that these were easier days and we didn’t run to the emergency room every time someone had an illness.

It seems that in addition to the many great talents my mother had at the time of being a cook, seamstress, maid and many other things, my mother also had quite different skills in terms of home remedies that fine me and my siblings brought whenever we had an injury or an illness.

I found a lot of games as a kid. One that I enjoyed the most was being a bee fighter.

Though it sounds pretty dangerous now that I look back, at the time I thought it was fun to stand by a beehive and wage war, as I would beat the bees like Babe Ruth if they flew in and out of the beehive .

One of the lessons I learned from this was that sometimes you only have one shot in life. If you miss, consider yourself stung.

In my family, when you were stung it always meant rubbing bleach on it. To this day, when I smell bleach, I immediately ask, “Who was stung?”

Whenever someone had a cold in their chest, my mother would fry some onions and place them in a towel to draw the fluid out of their lungs.

I don’t know how it works, but we would be back up and running in no time after our onion treatment. Since I was always ready for a delicious meal, the smell of the onions cooking would grab my attention right away. I ran to the kitchen to see what a wonderful treat my mom was cooking, only to find it was just a sick sibling. How disappointing.

My family also had their own dental care system. Everyone knows the old trick of tying a string to a doorknob and pulling the tooth out while someone opens the door. In my house, however, we were better equipped than just a string.

We had the most effective dental tool known to man or referred to. Papa’s tongs. These weren’t just any old pliers. They were needle-nose pliers with red handles that were smaller than average and fitted snugly in your mouth to pull milk teeth straight out.

Whenever the tooth was still hanging, my mother would give us an exam and then make her diagnosis; “It’s time for daddy’s tongs”

Sometimes when we got a splinter and my mom brought out her surgery kit, which was nothing more than a sewing needle, and after you guessed it with you, guess bleach, the surgery started.

Every time I ignored the advice to get out of the sun and I got sunburned, my mom soaked paper bags in vinegar and it magically pulled the heat right out of me.

While our medical procedures are getting more advanced, I can only hope that they work as well as our old home remedies. I just hope they remember the bleach.