Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ma pharmacie

The other week I noticed baby’s nose was running. In typical new mom worry mode, I decided a dash to the pharmacy was in order. So out we went at 6:30 p.m. to pay yet another visit to my friendly pharmacy. I was almost ashamed to show my face there again since sometimes it seems I’m there three times a week. What with prescriptions for myself or baby or just general questions like that one. On that occasion the kind pharmacy lady who has two young kids herself recommended the “mouche bébé”- a high tech system of blowing baby’s nose for her by aspirating it (cotton filter prevents you from ingesting it!).

In the two years that I’ve lived in this city, this little pharmacy has become a cozy and helpful place for me. Since I only fill my prescriptions there, they know my drug history and I can talk to them easily. They saw me pre-baby, pregnant and now post-baby. When I took baby there after getting out of the hospital, it was sort of like showing her to “family”.

But when I first arrived in France I was rather surprised or even disappointed with the system here (and there are still things I gripe about). Back in the good old US of A you can buy aspirin at a quick mart. Here it is only available in pharmacies and more often than not it’s behind the counter so you have to ASK for it. Don’t even think about the Wal-Mart generic bottle of 500 pills. And heaven help you if you need to buy something like Immodium. You’re gonna have to ask for it and thus openly admit that you (or someone in your household) needs it. As if it’s not bad enough to just have to take these types of things to the cash register. Add to this limited French skills and not knowing the brands here and having to explain symptoms…

But the French government thinks that if they sold aspirin in supermarkets that people would misuse it. That we need a real pharmacist to sell it to us to avoid intoxication. Never mind that nine times out of ten when you buy it at a pharmacy you don’t even ask about the side effects or say why you need it.

But I suppose the longer I live here the more I get used to these little idiosyncrasies that are La France! And it’s mostly the warm staff at my pharmacy that make it so pleasant to go there. I even told them with regret that I’ll be moving to a different side of town so would have to change pharmacies. They tried to tell me a diagonal way to get there, but it would be a longer trek. No, I’ll just have to break in a new little pharmacy. They’ll be seeing a lot of me!

No comments: