Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Men Who Knew Too Much (Part I)

Men with too much knowledge of your life -- no, I don't mean the ex-boyfriends or the male best friends you've had in your lifetime. I'm not even talking about male gynos -- but close (and maybe even on par with).

I'm referring to pharmacists.

Apparently, you're only supposed to have one - one regular place you go to all the time to get your prescriptions filled, chat about the upcoming potluck dinner you'll be attending and whether you should make that bacon and organic chives potato salad or should you just bring a fruit platter since everyone's all health conscious these days and so forth. I, on the other hand, have about five different pharmacies that I frequent because I'm impulsive and don't have the patience to wait till I get home to go to my neighbourhood pharmacy. Or so I tell myself.

This one time, after an evil stressful three months working for an evil stress-inducing troll-like witch of a boss, I woke up to find a small, itchy burning patch of skin on my thumb knuckle.

"It's no big deal, you're just making a mountain out of a mole hill," Daddy reassured me, and kissed the itchy burning patch. He's always anti-going-to-the-doctor's and thinks everything will "go away on its own in due time".

"No, really maybe I should go check it out. I'm getting worried, it should've been gone by now if it was a minor thing," I responded. It had been three days since the discovery of the red patch and it wasn't getting any better.

A quick clinic visit later, the doctor sent me off with a prescription for some pills I had to take for two weeks straight. And it was expensive. Like, I-had-no-health-insurance-and-could-barely-afford-birth-control-pills expensive.

"Do you have extended coverage?" The doctor asked, after diagnosing me with shingles. Yes, shingles. Apparently it was from all the stress at work that was causing it. He even provided me with a doctor's note to stay away from work for a few days to recuperate from my boss's bitch wrath.

"Hold on...who gets shingles anyway?," I exclaimed. "Isn't it some kinda ancient disease like chicken pox!?" I cried. "And no. No I do not have health coverage," I added bitterly.

"Uh, well it's not uncommon and my guess is you never had chicken pox so you don't have a natural immunity to it. It's okay though - I'll prescribe these meds to you, take them for two weeks and...oh wait, you said you have no coverage? Well, there are some other options..."

"Like what?" I asked, hoping I could score some free samples from the locked cupboard in the room. Maybe the cure is behind those doors and I won't have to pay for a single thing, I secretly hoped.

"Well, there's the cheaper, I mean, less expensive medication but it won't make it go away faster. You'd have to take them for a whole month,"

"Ok forget it. Just give me the best stuff, I need these gone ASAP. I'm starting to feel like someone with leprosy," I whined.

So off to the neighbourhood pharmacy I went, dropped off my Rx to the head pharmacist -- Denny, a middle-aged Asian guy whose picture was plastered all over the pharmacy's direct mailing pieces that ends up in my building's junk mail box every week -- and was told to return in 10 minutes for pickup.

"Thanks!" I chirped. I was back in a good mood, knowing that I'd soon be ridding myself of this ickyness.

I returned ten minutes later, a mini tub of ice cream and a tabloid magazine to check out along with my Rx.

Denny whipped out the box of pills, the three full pages of what seemed like disclaimers and instructions on how to take them, peered out forward from behind the counter, eyes darting back and forth looking around to see if other people were around, and once the coast was clear, in hushed tone of voice asked, "is this for...down there?"

"Uh, what? Down where?" I asked, horribly confused. I looked down at my feet -- am I supposed to get the next patch of shingles on my foot? Perhaps he'd gotten my Rx mixed up? It happens a lot and so many people just naturally trust their health professional and don't ask questions and then they take the wrong stuff and end up dying or developing some weird growth.

"Well, it's the most expensive medication pharmacies have on hand. It's for herpes zoster."

"HERPES!?!" I cried. Realizing I had just shouted something inappropriate and caught the attention of a young couple passing by, I peered forward on the counter and whispered the H-word once again.

"Yes, well, herpes zoster is -"

"Can we not use the H-word out loud please," I cut in.

"Sorry. I was about to say, it isn't what you think it is, per se. What this medication is for treats the aforementioned virus above [and he pointed to his mouth] and 'down there'. I was just asking which one it was so that I could give you the appropriate directions for this," Denny finished.

Breathing a huge sigh of relief, but still confused I kindly informed him that he must be mistaken because all I had were shingles, not the disease of douches and hoes. Then he told me that herpes zoster was also responsible for shingles. Then it all made sense.

Then he showed me the bill. And then I immediately understood the importance of having a job with extended health coverage. And I tossed aside the tabloid magazine.

"Oh and, you probably shouldn't have any dairy while you're on this stuff. It might aggravate your condition."

I reluctantly gave up my small tub of cookie dough ice cream.

And I don't think I've ever been back to see Denny ever since that pleasant little experience.

1 comment:

  1. I do know what Herpes Zoster is, but I can imagine how I would freak out if someone said that to me and I didn't know. Too bad about the ice cream. :)


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