Saturday, March 12, 2011

How do you spell relief?

Even though we've lived overseas for 13+ years now, I am still sometimes struck by the differences in the culture I presently live in. Buying painkiller is one such difference.

In America, if you want to buy a painkiller you just go to your local store and choose what brand you want off the shelf and chuck it in your shopping cart. I like to buy the big bottles of the store brand that will last me a long time.

Yesterday I needed to buy ibuprofen. The only place to buy it here is at the pharmacy. There is literally a pharmacy on every corner in this city. I went to the one next to my favorite little grocery store since I needed to pick up a few things there as well. Which this little supermercado deserves a blog post all on it's own, but that's a story for another day.

I stood in line behind 4 people and waited my turn to talk to the pharmacist because everything in the pharmacies here is behind the counter, even band-aids and baby spoons. When it was my turn I asked the pharmacist for ibuprofen. He asked me if I wanted pills (as opposed to liquid) and I said yes. He grabbed two boxes off the shelf and showed me two cards of sealed pills. He said, "This one is from Turkey and this one is from Portugal." Both contained pills that were 400 mg each. The ones from Turkey were big and pink, the ones from Portugal were shaped like capsules which I thought would be easier to swallow. (We get medicine here from many different countries. We have been warned by medical professionals as to which countries to avoid, so I guess that's why he told me where they were manufactured.) I picked the ones from Portugal (based on their shape, only) and asked if I could buy two cards - each card contains 20 pills. Then the pharmacist tells the cashier girl who is about 5 steps away how much to charge me (156 Mts = US $5). I paid her then went back to him to get my pills.

It just seemed a little complicated to buy painkiller.


Debbie said...

And I whine because I have to go into the store to buy pain medicine and can't have it handed to me at the drive-in pharmacy window while I sit in my car. *wah*

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Wow. I should probably quit complaining about Walmart. It's a pain to go there, but for you, it's probably the stuff of dreams. :)