We’ve been to the pharmacy five times this week. I blame our children because, like all children, they are germ-infested cesspools neatly concealed beneath irresistible cheeks, plentiful kisses and generous snuggles. Their charms are beguiling and their illnesses relentless. None of it has been anything more than run of the mill fevers, coughs, sore throats, runny noses, stomach aches, rashes, and a swallowed marble. But it’s been all of them. Forever. We’ve been so consumed with our own aches, pains, and ailments that when I glanced out the kitchen window yesterday, I was shocked to see there is still an entire city that extends far beyond the five block radius of home, pharmacy, grocery store, and school.
So many things here require taking a number, waiting, paperwork, and a government-issued ID number. But not the pharmacy. No, that is a small, bright, friendly place well-stocked with remedies not requiring a prescription or a wait. Describe your particular ailments (or those of your child or the child who just gave your child a mucus-coated kiss goodbye) to the pharmacist and before you appears the recommended brand of the recommended medicine. There is no time wasted figuring out the best price or whether now is the time to make the switch to gel-caps, when all that’s really needed is to get home to lie in bed swaddled in self-pity.
Since I’m already exotifying and romanticizing the pharmacy, let me tell you about the packaging of the medicines. About three colds ago (also known as three weeks), I sent Nathan off for something like Vick’s Vaporub. He came home with a small, gold, metal container covered in writing. It looked like something I would have found buried in the back of my great-grandmother’s guest bathroom. My ibuprofen here comes in foil-backed blister packs of 400 mg pills. We could have gotten fewer packed loose in a white envelope. I can’t scientifically prove the packaging impacts the effectiveness of the medicine, but I’m pretty sure it does.
Are you still reading? Because that was more than 350 words about how we’re sick, feeling pathetic, and so we go to the pharmacy and buy medicine. Stay tuned to this space next week for more exciting updates about our glamorous time in South America. If you’re lucky maybe I’ll share how we pay our bills or ride a bus.