I came back to Mauritius after our whirlwind of travels with a nasty cold and a sore throat. I was struck down in Key West and it just never went away.
Maybe it was the all the fly time in the various airplanes or perhaps my body had just lost it’s ability to fight off the American germs after having not been back on Yankee soil in over 14 months. But whatever it was and however I got it, it just wasn’t going to go away on its own.
Last week I made a reluctant trip to the clinic to see a doctor. I went to one of the clinics that treats many of the tourists that come to the island. The examination rooms and equipment are not modern, the nurses still wear those little white hats and the smell of disinfectant is enough to make your eyes water; but it’s clean and organized. They only ask for your name, address and age. Then, you see the doctor.
I was asked to open my mouth. The doctor looked. The doctor wrote down a prescription.
We chatted for a few minutes because I kept asking him questions. And then it was over. I paid the fee of 700 RS and took my prescription for five days of antibiotics to the pharmacist down the road.
The pharmacist filled my prescription with six days worth of antibiotics, not five as was written. I thought of it as a free bonus gift – buy 5 get 1 free.
Yesterday, after finishing my prescribed five days of antibiotics, I still wasn’t feeling the groove 100%. The Frenchman called his doctor in France to ask for advice. The French doctor said to go back to the clinic and have them check out my throat and if my tonsils were still swollen, to have them prescribe three more days of the antibiotic. That should do the trick.
I returned to the clinic and saw the same doctor. I was asked to open my mouth. The doctor looked. The doctor said he would not prescribe more antibiotics because five days should have worked.
He then explained that the pain I was still feeling was because my tonsils were like a wound and they would hurt for a bit while they continued to heal. O.K. I’m not a doctor and haven’t the foggiest, but coming from the mouth of a doctor this sounded like it could be somewhat reasonable.
But, then, in this particular chatty moment, he said some additional things that made me question his ‘wounded tonsils’ theory:
- “We could have taken a swab of your throat when you first came in here and we probably should have, but we didn’t.”
- “Don’t blame me if this comes back just because I didn’t prescribe more antibiotics.”
- “The new female, French gynecologist down the street isn’t really competent, but you didn’t hear it from me. Men make better gynecologists.”
- “You know, you don’t need a prescription to get antibiotics here.”
- “Anyone that comes in here with symptoms of H1N1, I’m giving Thermaflu. No, we aren’t testing. You can’t test everyone.”
Huh. After our first meeting during which I did most of the talking and asking of questions, he now decides to spill out tons of information, a random fully-loaded opinion and what felt like a thinly veiled threat. I had left the comfort zone.
As I left the office, I was seriously wondering what the heck I had been taking for the past five days. Luckily, this quick paranoid fear left as soon as it had opened the door into my head because I remembered that the French doctor had confirmed that what I was taking was the correct stuff to be prescribed for my condition; however, it seems that the dosage was not what he would have prescribed.
But, by some tiny Mauritian miracle, the radical pharmacist had actually done me a two-punch favor. Not only had he given me a free bonus of one extra day of pills, but the original prescription was for 1 g/day and he had actually prescribed 2g/day and 2g/day is what the French doctor said should have been prescribed.
The decision was made to put the non-H1N1 testing, female-gyno bashing doc out of my life and to head directly towards the pharmacy to follow the French doctor’s advice.
At the pharmacy, I slunked down the concrete stairs to the tiny ordering room and made eye contact with the pharmacist. Oh yes, I thought as I arched my eyebrows up and looked him in the eye, I’m back. And you, Mr. free-form pharmacist, totally know why.
Hoping to not appear like some crazed antibiotic junkie, I calmly said, “I’ve come back for more. Three days…I mean, two days because of that bonus that you…nevermind. I need two more days worth of these,” and placed the squished empty pill pack on the counter.
He nodded. No discussion necessary. No prescription necessary.