Many years ago, I was in a queue at the chemist's when I overheard the lady in front of me tentatively ask the pharmacist whether it was safe to drink alcohol whilst taking her tablets. The pharmacist drew himself up to his full height, and pronounced for the whole shop to hear: "Madam, I regard alcohol as a contra-indication for ALL medication!" The poor woman slunk away, humiliated (and of course none the wiser from a strictly medical perspective).
I was reminded of this when the other day I had to collect a prescription for antibiotics to deal with a minor infection in, let's just say, a certain location. I'm not sure which was worse: the memory of that awful piece of unprofessional bigotry; or the tiny smile of sympathy that my pharmacist slipped me as he handed me my prescription.
So when I got home, of course I immediately read the leaflet carefully, three times. Thankfully, the word 'alcohol' didn't appear once. The dosage instructions were a bit tricksy though. 'Take four a day, evenly spaced, with food.' I thought about it. I normally eat three times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. But that's not a problem - I can easily sneak a snack of some kind in there to make it up to four. So: 8.00am, 12.30 pm, 5.00pm, 8.30pm - job done!
But then I began to wonder what they meant by 'day'. Is it my normal waking day (which can vary significantly in length); or is it a twenty-four hour period? If the latter, then I'll only get six hours' sleep before I have to get up and have a meal.
At least the list of possible side-effects wasn't too bad. There's a probably apocryphal drug which takes you through just about everything from itching to beri-beri, and ends with the word 'death'. After that there's the usual instruction: 'In case of any of these, consult your doctor immediately.'
I've settled for plan A, and it seems to be working.