Friday, August 19, 2005

don't trust your pharmacist

my lastest illness turned into your basic cold. the huge pharmacy nearby looks like something from america in the 20's. the old gothic building houses old tall wooden cabinets with ovaltine ads etched in the glass panels, something from the days of british rule to be sure. these cabinets are crammed full of drugs of all sorts, seemingly haphazardly. i half expected to see mortars and pestles and someone muttering incantations. i added myself to the queueless hordes (not so fun being jammed together with sick poeple) and eventually found a space at the counter and a man who would help me. i told him i needed cold medicine, and he went off to rumage though the cabinets. after a few minutes he returned with a few sheets of pills. note that pills almost always come in those little tin foil sheets, as putting them in bottles would invite drug counterfeiting. note also that these sheets are often cut up into smaller sheets to the point where you can't read the ingredients or its MRP (retail price) or expiration date, unless you are lucky enough to get that part of the sheet. Also, dosages are never indicated on the drug as they are to be indicated by a physician. Anyway, he brought me a sheet of multi-symptom cold medication and a somthing-cillin. i asked what the something-cillin was, as the "cillin" suffix sure sounded like an antibotic to me. He confirmed it was indeed an antibiotic. he said i'm supposed to take the antibiotics along with the cold medicine. I looked at him with horror, and told him you're not supposed to take antibiotics for a cold. they are useless against viruses, i said. my rebellion was unexpected. another pharmacist backed him up. i told him i didn't want the antibiotics, purchased the cold medicine and walked home in the pouring rain. once home i realized i didn't know how many of the pills to take or how long they lasted. oh well, i would have to experiment.

anyway, somebody needs to tell indian pharmacists to stop giving antibiotics to cold sufferers or somebody needs to explain to me why i should have taken them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

sick again

god knows what kind of weird virus i have this time. i'm sweaty and i desperately want to sleep. maybe i should go home.

lumpy and me and pee

i've had a strange lump at the base of my neck for a few months now, so i finally decided i'd get it looked at. the doc poked and prodded and squeezed and teased my neck nodule, then pronounced it harmless. i could get it cut out if i liked, but he didn't recommend bothering with that unless it gets bigger or infected.

total charge for doctor visit: $0. he said he didn't need to treat me, so it's free. i never filled out a single form or gave anyone my name. i walked in (sans appointment), saw the doctor, and walked out. so easy. screw you US health care system, you bastard.

since i'll be living with this lump for a while (perhaps forever), i've named it bernard.

as bernie and i headed home, i witnessed my first female public urination since college.

Monday, August 15, 2005

happy independence day!

indian independence, that is.

it's one of the big indian holidays. everyone has the day off and the flags are flying... this is a very patriotic place. i've mentioned to several indians the common independence day bond we have, both of our countries having booted out the brits and united as democratic nations. surprisingly, this almost never fails to elicit surprise. in fact i've been told twice that i'm mistaken. i guess western history is given about as much study here as eastern history is given in the USA.

i was going to go to the freedom jam--a massive outdoor music festival, apparently the biggest in india--but the event was cancelled due to security concerns (i.e. terrorists). once again the terrorists have won, and i'm at work instead.

the party

well, B and V finally came though. the party was well attended and a success. this was truly an international event. here's the breakdown (ordered by skin color--light to dark):

1 swedish male (B)
1 swiss female (J)
1 american male (Me!)
1 italian male (V)
5 indian females (Y, M2, J, R, K)
1 indian male (P)
1 guy from dubai (M)

i was expecting something closer to 3-6 people, as B & V, until now, have always overpromised and underdelivered.

more fun facts:
1. at one point in the evening Y grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into the bedroom. she pointed at R lying in a heap on the floor. it took me several moments to process what was going on. R had fainted. her eyes were half open and lifeless. i carried her limp body to the bed. i checked her noggin for blood or a massive lump she might have received hitting my very hard floor. nothing. as i was contemplating my next move she regained conciousness and apologized for fainting.
2. 4 people spent the night (not including me), the final stragglers finally leaving on sunday morning. the event began on friday, mind you.
3. those of us remaining on saturday went shopping for indian wedding wear for me. no, i'm not getting married (the party wasn't that good). i'm invited to a wedding. M2 seemed to relish her role of dressing me up like an indian prince. i drew the line at perfume and jewelry, though surprisingly i liked the glittery long scarf she insisted i wear.

i took some pictures. maybe i'll post them. (i just did.)