Friday, 22 July 2011

Prescription drugs

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.


  1. "a cocktail of drink and drugs" .... A Tequilla Mockingbird?

  2. Forget the drugs, there are thermal mud springs near here which apparently do wonders for certain locations. Among the first to recommend them was Toulouse-Lautrec.

    I don't know who and in what circumstances first discovered this. Far from remaining a place of private ease and comfort, it has now become a spa, particularly favoured by the French military.

  3. Rather off the point, but 'evenly spaced' reminded me of that cartoon of a puzzled chicken reading a recipe for meringues. It started "separate two eggs." She had carefully placed them some way apart and was wondering it was far enough.

    When I couldn't sleep because my hip was hurting (I've got a nice comfy new one now) I bought some painkillers that were supposed to work for twice as long as normal ones. Then I read the instructions, which stipulated no alcohol. I didn't take them.

  4. Oh, ha ha Z, I remember that one! And you understand chickens far better than I do.

    Cocodamol or something, was it? I am totally against all sorts of drugs, medicinal or otherwise. (Except alcohol of course, and the odd toke at a party ...). Call me old-fashioned if you like.

    Can you get me some new knuckles in my right hand, though, please? Should be a doddle after a hip.