Thursday, September 30, 2010

The green stuff

Medicine is such an interesting concept to observe in another culture.

I don't think I have written about chicken pox on here before.

But before I get into that story, I must acquaint you with a staple of Russian first aid: the green stuff. It's a popular antiseptic here that is BRIGHT GREEN. In fact, its Latin name translates literally "Brilliant green." And it doesn't wash off right away. Before I knew this, I thought Russian kids really liked to play with markers...

I didn't want to embarrass anyone I know by taking a photo, so I swiped one off the internet...

And that brings me to the chicken pox. A friend of mine (a college student here) recently became infected, and we went to visit him after church, since we'd all had it in childhood. Hospitalization is more common in Russia, but our friend also lives in the dormitory, so that made it even more necessary for him to be quarantined. continue/-

The hospital is one of the bigger facilities in town, and instead of being divided into wings, the wards are all in separate buildings, probably built at different times over the years.

We had a fun time finding the ward where our friend was staying...

We didn't have to show ID, but we did have to have shoe-covers and were not allowed to enter the ward wearing a coat (although one could carry said coat over one's arm).

When we finally made our way to the right place, we saw our friend, and he Most of his face and neck and then selected spots were covered in the green stuff.

But he wasn't the only one! A few older guys were shuffling around, with sections of their head and scalp dyed green by the ointment! Think rock concert meets nursing home.

We sat in the hallway for awhile hanging out and playing with balloons leftover from Sunday school, when the nurse wasn't looking.


  1. Oh, I love the green stuff! Imagine my surprise when we arrived to adopt our beautiful daughter, to find her face spotted with green! That was my first intoduction to "Zelioni". And, instead of get those long-desired photos of her little bed and dormitories and classmates, we were rushed not only out of the orphanage, but out of town before we could be put in quarantine. Later, I thought perhaps the quarantine wouldn't have been that interesting reason to stay in Russia longer. Unfortunately, our "team" in Russia is a) used to American parents who wanted in and out as swiftly as possible, and b) really good at what they do. So we took our polka-dotted daughter and were off to Moscow.

    As a very tiny girl I remember my mother putting something that I think was called merchurachome or methiolaid on my ouchies. One of them burned, and the other didn't, as I recall, but both were red, in the same way that Zelioni is green....a red that didn't come off right away and indicated HEALING!

  2. Ha ha, you love everything Russian! :) Well, our "patient" is out of the hospital, so it must have helped!

  3. In general Brilliant green though also dye, but quite approved in Russia of antiseptics not by hearsay though also its influence isn't defined in the scientific way. Well, not esthetically, well also that, the main thing helps!-)

    I apologize for my English, I badly know grammar :( But I hope all has truly stated :)

  4. I did actually read that it can be used as a dye.


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