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Life Chez Dee Episode #25: TCP

TCP. The mother of all antiseptics. Quite old fashioned I’d say, and not used by that many … certainly not many people that I know.

I love it. Swear by it. I really trust it and if I’ve got something I really think needs attention and assistance in the antiseptic department this is my go to.

Nothing lives in this stuff, it clears up spots, bites, grazes, ulcers and all manner of ailments and complaints. Even if time plays a part and the wound needs to heal, that’s ok, you know you’re covered from your wound getting infected.

But like with all great things, there’s a flip side, there always is. TCP stinks. Really stinks. Its pungent smell can be overwhelming, and it doesn’t seem to wear off either. Its smell is very distinctive … everyone recognises it; everyone knows you’ve been using it.

I don’t mind the smell actually, and yet I do feel obliged to apologise to people for the smell. You stand near them and notice the twitch of their nose … they’ve noticed alright.

Why am I talking about TCP? Why on earth would I think to be writing a blog about it? What a strange topic for a blog you might say. Well I thought I’d write about it, as I’ve been using copious amounts of the stuff recently.

I have been bitten to death by the mosquitoes which are out in force this year. They're everywhere. All that heavy rain, then all that lovely sunshine .... such perfect conditions for these horrid creatures. I know there are loads of mosquitoes this year ... articles which pop up for me to see on social media; newspaper articles; I've even heard it being talked about on Radio Lancashire this morning. To be honest, I've not been bitten as much as some others I know, but I do react really badly to being bitten, and this year is no exception. I read that some people react badly ... an allergic reaction it seems. The bites have turned red; really angry red; they’re very inflamed and swollen; they’ve blistered, and they’ve caused swelling and stiffness in my joints. My ankles have quite a few bites on them and I have found it incredibly painful these last few days to even walk, let alone put up with the awful itching. The bites feel like they’re burning, with pain with every movement of my foot, and I’m counting the hours until I can take another anti histamine tablet. This morning I resorted to covering the bites with a plaster soaked in TCP. I’m hoping it will help with the pain and the itch; I’m hoping it will dry and reduce the bite; but I feel as though I’m protected against the bite becoming infected, if nothing else.

We’ve always had TCP in our house for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to swear by it too. In fact, my Dad uses it far more than I do I’d say. I know my Dad even gargles with the stuff if he has a sore throat, to stop a throat infection! Not sure even I could bear to do that though.

He’s always talked about when, as a child, he was climbing over some iron railings and slipped, ripping his forearm open from wrist to elbow. He said a lady saw it happen, rushed out of her house, and poured TCP into his wound …. I have no idea why this wasn’t stitched, or maybe it was, I don’t recall him mentioning this, or me even asking for that matter, but anyway, he lives to tell the tale albeit having a rather large scar.

I have vivid childhood memories, many of them, where the TCP would come out. Dad would use it when either I or my sister had cuts and grazes. He’d soak the plaster in it and patch us up. So much so that my sister started to refuse and protest at Dad’s plasters saying that they hurt …. rather than realising that it was the TCP that was probably stinging the wound. Strangely I never found that it hurt …. If anything, I’ve found that it numbs the pain somewhat.

Pimples, splinters, ulcers …. All sorted with a dab of this liquid. So powerful is it, you don’t want to be getting in on healthy soft tissue! Oh no! For mouth ulcers a cotton bud dipped in the liquid and applied directly and controlled … you can almost hear the noise of it being zapped. Zzzzzz straight on that menacing, painful ulcer … working it’s magic … annihilating any infection …. BOOM!

Why don’t people use TCP any more? Is it too powerful? Too potent? Too pungent? Is it seen as too old fashioned. I know I’ve used it on the boys when they’ve had cuts and infections, but probably not quite as often as I’ve dipped into the Sudocrem pot …. which I would add is also pretty fabulous stuff, but just isn’t in the same league as TCP.

So apologies to all who have had contact with me this week and who have been subjected to the smell. For those who haven’t seen me, you may have smelled me, and caught a whiff as I’ve walked past you. Sorry if you don’t like it, but I don’t really care; it’s great stuff and it works.

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