One of the things that I always took for granted when I was in the US was the easy access to drugs. Over the counter drugs that is. In just one trip to Walgreens or CVS you could come home with things to cure a cold, allergies, migraines and the like. Sometimes you could just add these things to your weekly shopping list and pick them up at Publix.
I had brought some basics with me when I first moved, but it didn't take long before I had to make my first trip to "la pharmacie".
I went in with Cornel and I could see the all the colorful boxes that lined the shelves. Above the boxes there were signs to help point me in the right direction.
I quickly scanned them all:
Where could it be? I turned and faced the other wall and tried to quickly scan the signs.
Before I could finish reading, I was approached by the pharmacist.
She mumbled something in French and I knew she was asking me what I was looking for.
I mumbled back in one of the few phrases I knew to let her know I was just looking.
"Just ask her..." Cornel grunted.
"I don't know what's it called in French. It's fine, I'll just look for it"
"Let me just ask." He was obviously annoyed to be running such an errand with me.
My face turned bright red as he approached the pharmacist.
"Excusez-moi madame nous cherchons Midol" (Excuse me we're looking for Midol)
It was official, I was going to die of embarrassment. Did I mention that the pharmacy was small and filled with people?
The pharmacist looked bewildered, obviously she had no clue what we were looking for. I wanted to just walk out - abort the mission.
It only got worse.
When the pharmacist asked exactly what we were looking for, Cornel blurted out in his perfect French:
"She has pains from her period and needs something" as he pointed in my direction.
I gave her a quick smile hoping she'd find us a box and it would all end there.
She let out a big "Ahhh" and walked us over to the pain medication area.
She then rambled on in French as she picked up boxes and put them back.
Cornel quickly translated. "You have to be careful what you take because some of these might make you bleed to death". Lovely.
She found us some pain medication which wouldn't kill me. We paid for the box and left as quickly as we could.
After I finished that tiny box of hyped up Tylenol, I never went back to that pharmacy. Instead I suffered month after month until my next trip to the States. I made sure to stock up on as many pink boxes of Midol I could fit in my suitcase while still keeping it legal.
I also think twice before I make a trip to the Pharmacy.
What over the counter medicine could you not live without?