Thursday, May 03, 2007

Drugs, Flu, Doctors, and Pharmacies

Nothing quite as alienating and isolating as being sick in a foreign country where one does not speak the language (I don't even know how to say "I am sick and quite possible dying" in Czech).

I'm not a big believe in taking lots of medicine. I know that the only cure for a cold or the flu is sleep, hot tea, and more sleep. On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of suffering through a cold or the flu... so I decided yesterday that I should find the Czech equivalent of "Thermaflu" (a mixture of decongestant, pain-reliever, and sleep aid--I especially need the sleep aid as I have not actually been able to get much sleep recently). So, I commenced my search.

I remembered from France that OTC drugs are not the easiest things to find in Europe. I also remembered to look for the green cross. I ALSO remembered that drugs are not actually sold in drug stores in Europe (I think I can avoid commenting on this at the moment). So, yesterday I found a green cross and went in the store... only to discover that everything was behind the counter. I tried to find a box that I recognized... but quite frankly, it all looked like diet pills. Fine, I'll try another store.

Today I went into a different green cross store (can't call it a drug store, remember). I actually got up the nerve to try to talk to the guy there (he spoke some English). I described my symptoms and hoped that the word decongestant was the same in Czech. He said he could only sell me some herbal remedy--for anything stronger I would need to see the doctor.

Now, herbal remedies are fine and dandy--for some people. The thing is, I've been raised in the US, with US drugs. Our drugs are pretty powerful, so chances are my body is not going to react when faced with a piece of a plant. In other words, chewing on some willow bark is not gonna do anything but give me a few splinters.

But of course, I don't see the point in visiting the doctor for a cold/the flu (I'm pretty sure it is the flu at this point). The doctor is just going to say that I need rest and beverages. Or, as I have a tendency to not actually run a fever when I am sick (not completely true--I either don't have a fever at all, or I have a fever of at least 103.. but usually closer to 105), the doctor will decide I am malingering and yell at me (happened in the Army--right before I collapsed with a (surprise) >104 temp. And for some reason, when I think of Herr Comrade Doktor, I think of the military... go figure). So, yeah, I figure I just need to make it through my classes tomorrow, then I can get home and figure out how to make myself sleep.

Meanwhile, I'm drinking a lot of ginger tea and I've nearly finished my small stash of Motrin.

5 Comments:

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

Hope ya feel better. Soon.

Very soon.

And at some point I'm probably going to "borrow" that blurb about herbal remedies vs. strong U.S. pharmaceuticals vs. chewing willow bark. That was classic. :)

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Hilary said...

Poor little D.
Man, that's a bit different from the UK--I was having trouble sleeping when I was in London, so I marched my insomniac ass into Boots and bought me some codeine. That's right, over the counter.
I hope you're feeling better soon too!

 
At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about the fever issue. A normal temperature for me is 97.5-97.7, really, so when I'm up to 98.6, I already have a fever, but the doctor never believes me when I tell him I feel feverish. I don't usually get high fevers, but I was up to 102 a couple of years ago - man, did I feel like a big ol' pile o' sh*t. :-)

 
At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Shari said...

Doh - that last one was me. I forgot to put my name.

 
At 2:05 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Yeah... the whole experience with Pharmacies made me think of Canada... and wonder why I'm not looking for a job up there.

Anyway, I asked one of the other teachers at the school for some help. She knows Czech, so she wrote a little script for me and I took it to a different Pharmacy (my third in three days). The chick there read my script and offered me about six different boxes of medicine. In Czech, English, and a little bit of German we got through our transaction and I bought a box of "Coldrex" (mainly because it had the word "cold" in it... figured I couldn't go too wrong with that).

Anyway, I took some yesterday--and managed to take a nap (I haven't been able to take a nap since I arrived in the CR--generally I'm the Nap Queen--so my inability to take a nap is very unusual). I also managed to get some sleep last night (went to bed a little after midnight and woke up at 6am... I pretty much can't sleep past 6:30 here).

But I feel a lot better today... my head feels a little less like it is going to explode, I can actually breath out of my nose occasionally, and my body feels like it is on the road to recovery after being hit by a truck. My mood is a bit better too (when I get sick I tend to question just what exactly I'm doing here... being sick definitely increases my sense of isolation and makes me wonder why in the world I am here instead of being surrounded by family and friends who can take care of me.)

Anyway, today I am just relaxing. I even have some Saturday morning cartoons (I raided my roommate's Scooby Doo collection).

Anyway, happy Cinco de Mayo everyone. Think the roomie and I are going to make Chicken Enchiladas (super yummy). She can make flour tortillas (I am soooo lucky) and I have some Mimolette cheese (cheap alternative to cheddar--it is orange and rubbery, but it has a slightly cheddar-ish taste, so...)

 

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