Now!Here Column Post 4

A continuation of the healthcare theme, this time relating to consumer policies for medicines. Gettin all fancy-schmancy serious for a bit!


My throat hurts–what should I do? Oh ok, great mom, I’m sure gargling

with salt-water will solve all of this. All of it. Instantly. Yeah but I want medicine. Should we go to the doctor? I don’t feel like going. Let me try to swallow–yup, it’s getting worse, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing. Swollen, painful throat, heavy head, muscle aches, fever. Strep throat, probably. I guess, I mean, I’m no doctor myself. Although I could go on WebMD and diagnose myself. Or is that even effective? That’s dumb, I’ll end up diagnosing myself with a bunch of other illnesses too. Ok mom, I think we should go to the doctor.


Are you sure he doesn’t have any slots open? Fine. Lemme take a painkiller at least. Crocin? Where did all the Tylenol or whatever from America go? Anyway, here’s Crocin. Why is the wrapper tinged blue? These strips of tablets are really not effective–it’s so easy to break one out, you can’t really carry it if you’re gonna move around a lot. Althooouugh…..I guess it prevents cross-contamination of the other tablets, so I guess that’s good. But then you can’t really have large quantities in one strip. So yeah, here it is, I kinda like to break the silver covering it gives a nice, streamlined sensation to the fingers. Water. Well, first glass. Nooo all my nice mugs are in the sink. Oh well, here’s a steel glass. Water jug is nearly empty, as usual. Ok. Should I break this in half? Hmm….I really don’t want the bitter aftertaste. I’ll try breaking it. Nope, putting pressure on the wrong area–my thumb is too big for this. Nevermind, I’ll risk it.


Mom, I think I need antibiotics. It’s been two days and it’s getting worse. It’s almost definitely strep throat–no fever or any other symptoms. And the doctor prescribed something the last time. I don’t remember the names of the medicines, but you must have the prescription somewhere. Or maybe she doesn’t, it must be at least a year old now. But if I can at least remember the names of the medicines we can get them. Let’s see if there’s been any progress. Did you find it? Then can you go and get them now? Yeah, both of them. They worked the last time, and this will only be the second time I’m using them, so they should still work. Ok, I’ll come with you. Finally. At least now I know what to do about strep throat.


Yeah, I feel almost normal now. The pain’s almost gone. Yes, I’m sure I don’t need to go to the doctor. The medicines worked perfectly.


New York:


Fuckin’ cold-ass, shitty day to have to walk to Duane Reade, and I have a dumb-ass cold. Walking in the cold while having a cold. Sounds like it should be a perfect combo. Nope, not when the cold just worsens your cold and gets in your ears and makes your throat feel like it was built specifically to be a goddamn stupid wind tunnel. If I could just not hear any noises for a few hours, that would be great. Even my mind’s voice is making my head throb more. Hello? Could you stop talking/thinking please? She says while thinking about stopping to think. Anyway. Look at all these…..people. Who aren’t sick. Who can breathe this evilly crisp air. And who’re walking so slowly in this temperature. Get outta my way, show-offs. Ugh. People. I wonder if I look like I’ve just cried or something. Not that anyone can see anything in this near-darkness. And not that that would be any of their business. Maaaaan, my face is just shutting down right now. I should wear a ski-mask, except that I’m worried I’ll look like a burglar. But I’ve seen people wearing ski-masks in the dead of winter. Mmmmaaaaybe I shouldn’t though, I don’t know if I’ll be risking deportation or something. Balaclava. Much more sinister word for a ski-mask. Also much more suitable.


Yes, at last. Down the stairs to the medicine aisle. Oh my god, there are so many brands of cold medicine. Airborne? Maybe I should take that during the winter for immunity. I wonder how much it actually works–pretty skeptical about it, but I’ll try it for a bit. Especially while living so close to so many people. It better work though, after spending so much money on it. Extra-strength cold medicine or normal? Normal. Cheaper. Smallest size. The Walgreens brand is the cheapest. Nah, I think one level up from Walgreens is probably the best bet. Tylenol. Tylenol….here. I really like the color of their cold and flu tablet packaging. So susceptible to even the simplest marketing techniques. Must overcome that. Aaaaannd, something to relieve the nasal congestion quickly–I’ve seen people use Afrin. So Afrin it is. Back up the stairs–protein bars! Some of them taste quite good. Maybe another time. I’m still wearing my hood and earmuffs?


Why do I always feel really uncomfortable standing in line for the cashier? There isn’t even anyone behind me. Oh, ok. Hello. Did I forget any groceries? Sorry? ID? For OTC medicines? Weird. So putting my ID in my coat pocket finally came in handy. Here. What? It’s not a valid ID? Well, what else does Duane Reade expect me to have? And why do colleges make IDs that are hardly valid outside the campus? Why don’t they include our birth dates on them? That seems like a vital piece of information to put on an identification card. No, I don’t have a state license. I don’t drive in New York City. Or a social security card. Am I supposed to carry around my passport everywhere? Will they accept a passport or do they need a U.S-issued ID? The fuck do I do now? It seems I can’t buy simple medication. But I can buy Afrin and Airborne? Yeah, I’m sure nooo one has tried to get high on Afrin before. I mean, it’s inserted into your nose, for goddsakes. Fine, I’ll just buy the other two. Even though the main thing I came here for was the Tylenol. Thanks.


Nearly useless trip. Let’s see if I have some remnants of any other painkillers for the headache at least. Vick’s, that’ll be useful later, Crocin, maybe, if nothing else appears, hey what’s that purple box? Oh looky here–Tylenol Cold and Flu. Which I bought in the non-ID era of last semester.



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