Thursday, August 28, 2003

Sensitive eyes look away now

The wonders of modern science. They create these ENORMOUS tablets which we take, twice a day, with food (well, as much food as we can eat when our throats feel lined with razorblades and every swallow is an agony). These tablets, we are told, kill bacteria. And bacteria is what has caused the sore throat.

Yaaayyyyy! Good for the tablets.

Booooo! Down with the bacteria.

Except, not all bacteria is bad. Oh no, definitely not. Except someone forgot to tell the tablets. They just go at it like a postman with a gun. Go for everything in sight. And I am woman. I NEED some bacteria. Else, well, it just gets downright UNCOMFORTABLE.

Yes. I am talking thrush. Vaginal thrush. Yeast infection. Call it what you will, it is a bloody nightmare. I have only had it once before. Funnily enough the last time I was on antibiotics. At least that time it waited until my course of tablets was over. Not so this time - I still have 4 days left to take. What a dilemma - treat it now? And risk it coming back? Or wait?

And of course - the treatment. In jolly old England, off you pop to your local Boots, ask the fresh faced Saturday girl what she can sell you for thrush, hand over your cash and leave. Or even better, visit Asda and browse the aisles, pick up what you need along with your bread and beans.

But I am not in England. I am in America. I have no idea what medicines I can buy over the counter. Nor where is the best place to get them. I am planning a trip to my local supermarket - can I get them there or will I have to pay a visit to CVS (more like Superdrug than Boots). My friend is no good - gloating that she has never suffered from it, but to look near the tampons. So, to the tampon aisle I head. Past the Incontinence pads. Past the sanitary towels. Past the itsy bitsy panty pads. Ahh, here are the tampons. And, the shelf above looks promising. Hmmm. Vaginal lubricant. Vaginal douche. Vaginal soap. Vaginal shower gel. Vaginal deodorant. More vaginal deodorant. Nothing for thrush. I go back again. Vaginal deodorant. More vaginal deodorant. Vaginal shower gel. Vaginal soap. Vaginal douche. Vaginal lubricant. Definitely nothing for thrush. Ok, maybe the next aisle, which has medicines. Headache tablets. More headache tablets. Even more headache tablets. Backache tablets (at this point I wonder why, if they can make tablets that can distinguish between backache and headache, why can't they make tablets that can distinguish between good and bad bacteria? But I already covered that.....). At this point, I am getting a little desperate. Still wobbly on my feet from lack of food and being ill, I bite the bullet. I can hear Nancy. "Go forth and be British and charming" she cries.

"Er, excuse me, this is really embarrassing, but I have, erm, well, erm, a yeast infection and I have no idea what I am looking for here, nor where to look for it, because it is all so foreign to me, and so different to how we deal with it in England", while I try to hide my trolley with my obvious 'here for a long time' goods like 12 pack of toilet rolls, washing powder, 12 pack of bread rolls. The woman I have stopped looks very sympathetic, seems very helpful, and then yells "Mom! This lady needs something for a yeast infection, where can she find it?" across to the next aisle. By now, my apologetic, highly embarrassed British act is no longer an act. I want the floor to open up and swallow me. They hold this big discussion about what it is called, then the younger woman starts running up and down the aisles, with me in tow, looking for it. Eventually, I manage to get away by saying I will ask at the help desk, I am sure they will tell me where to go. So, I escape to the queue - not that long, maybe 5 people. And 2 people behind the counter. Each taking an age. So I decide to finish the rest of my shopping, and come back when there are less people to listen to my embarrassing question. As I am walking away, the very kind people who were helping me spot me. "Monistat" yells the older one down the length of the aisle, "that's what it's called". Oh god save us from Americans!

Well, finally got my Monistat, now have to decide when to use it. I might wait as long as I can, because at $15 for a one dose treatment, I am buggered# if I am going to treat it more than once!

# for 'buggered' read 'too cheap'

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