The U.S. Has The Best Drugs

*** Warning: What follows is a rant from a tired mom struggling to get over a virus that has kept her and her two children house-bound for 4 days.***

In general, I appreciate Scotland’s stance towards doing things in a more “natural” way, even though it means I have to grocery shop at least twice a week due to short shelf lives and lack of pesticides. I love the purposeful integration of nature into daily living and the emphasis on recycling. However, this appreciation does not extend to their views on medicines.

When my children or I am sick, I do not give a damn about being natural or letting things “run their course.” I want to feel better right damn now and I’ll take any cocktail of things prescribed in order to feel that way.

Brooks, Mia and I have been struck by a horrid virus involving very high fevers that last for days and a jagged cough that shakes your whole body. I know that these are viruses. I know that antibiotics don’t help viruses. I also know I’ve been prescribed cough meds – like Bromfed – for times like this so my little ones and/or myself can get some much needed and healing rest.

With this knowledge, I called our “surgery” – the doc’s office – to get appointments for Brooks and Mia. Naturally they don’t have two together. Mia’s was during Brett’s lunch break so he was able to race home to spend the hour with Brooks so I didn’t have to drag both kids and my sick self out into the cold.

When you make an urgent, meaning day-of, appointment, you just get whatever doctor is free. So don’t think that you’re going to be seeing someone that you can build a relationship with or any kind of trust or craziness like that. They don’t even wear the official white coats or anything. Just like regular office clothes. You never really know if you’re talking to a doctor or a receptionist. April Ludgate or Leslie Knope.

Round One

Moira was our doc for the first go round.

Moira half-listened while I rolled through Mia’s symptoms, clearly already having decided what she was going to say. I threw her a little when I asked for Bromfed though. She had no clue. She had to Google it. Then came the shock of my life. THERE IS NO PRESCRIPTION COLD OR COUGH MEDICINE IN THIS COUNTRY. What in the hell nightmare, medieval country are we living in?!

So I asked her what she suggested I do since nothing over-the-counter seemed to be having an effect on the plague that settled itself in our home. She proceeded to Google some more eventually deciding that the things she’d been thinking of had been discontinued. She then proceeded to tell me to bring Mia back in if things got worse and she’d see about her then.

I was just so sick and tired myself and of the kids being sick and of her general attitude and lack of helpfulness that I might have reacted…uhhhh…strongly. I said a little something like this:

“Well, MOIRA, can you tell me at what day you will deem it worthy to treat my daughter for something? We’re on day 13 (I might have exaggerated) of a 2 year old with fever who had a peak fever last night approaching 40C. Can you tell me EXACTLY WHAT IT IS YOU’RE WAITING FOR?”

She responded saying that she’d write a prescription for antibiotics. I reminded her that not 5 minutes ago she said they were worthless and she just looked at me defeated saying it was worth a shot.

I took the script and left.

Round Two

Again, I know that this is a virus. I also know that Brooks’ skin will not clear up when the virus vacates. When he deals with illnesses like this, his skin takes it the hardest.

This time I have both kids and the appointment is right when Mia should be taking her nap. You can imagine the crying, snot filled ball of Mia that I’m dealing with. Brooks has had enough ibprofen at this point to where he’s antsy and purposefully doing things to push Mia’s buttons so it is just a constant stream of crying, snot, manic giggling/denial of accusations and screaming from all three of us.

I’m so done with the whole day by the point that I don’t have a clue what the doctor’s name is. I explain the situation and watch as she visibly recoils at the sight of B’s eczema’s spots. I discuss with her the usual course of action: antibiotics and steroids. For the past three years, I have evidence from two different doctors that show the effectiveness of this treatment – one a specialist and one his pediatrician. The NHS has all of their notes in his files.

Does she look at them? Nope. She pulls out some kind of reference book – but not like a fancy cloth or leather bound book that looks like it weighs a ton – like a little desk reference book – shiny cover, oblong shape. She decides on a different antibiotic and refuses the steroid.

Me: Even though this has been proven successful for the past three years? Even though you have evidence right there from two different doctors?

Then she asks me if he’s ever had any topical steroids.

I couldn’t help it. I laughed.

That stuff is like regular lotion to him now! Child’s play! I rattled off his list of topical steroids. She’d never heard of most of them. She prescribed something else that hasn’t made a bit of difference.

I pushed it a bit further asking if we could come back in a week if the treatment hadn’t proved to be successful. She looked pained but said yes.

Mind you, this entire conversation has been happening while Brooks and Mia fight over the iPad while jumping up and down on the scale and pulling all of the paper off the examining table. The paper is on a a huge roll that just keeps going. Who’s grand idea was that? On the bright side, it’s the first time that Mia had laughed all day…even if it was an evil laugh.

The Pharmacy

In college the first time I got sick I went to the Student Health Services Center, got my prescription – PROBABLY FOR BROMFED – and was subsequently appalled to discover that you had to take into the pharmacy yourself and then go back to pick it up when you were done. I couldn’t believe the injustice that was forced upon people who were clearly sick! There were drive thru’s then – it wasn’t the dark ages – but I was without wheels and was thus regulated to the CVS on Guadalupe. Roger’s Pharmacy in Victoria would deliver your drugs to your door before 6 PM! I also didn’t – and still don’t understand why anyone wants a bunch of sick people all milling about in the same place but I digress…

What I would have given this week for a drive thru.

I drove to the nearest car park from the disaster doc visit and pull out Mia’s stroller. She’s too much of a loose cannon to allow her to walk on the narrow sidewalks in Cults. The fight started immediately. Girl likes her independence! I don’t know where she got that from… First she refused her jacket and tried to take off her shoes to thwart my efforts to get her out of the car.

After using all the strength I had to get her buckled, we started off towards the pharmacy – her screaming the entire way and Brooks talking nonstop about something while occasionally turning around to yell at her to be quiet.

It was so damn cold. And we were all so damn sick. Every breath of air hurt your nose and your chest simultaneously. Miserable doesn’t begin to describe it.

I handed in our prescriptions and told the chick at the desk that we’d be back. She told us to wait because it would just be a minute. So for the next 15 minutes my children screamed in a pharmacy smaller than the size of some people’s bedrooms. Every time I motioned to the door she motioned for me to wait. But I just couldn’t. It was too small. They were too loud. There were too many witnesses.

I went next door to Sainsbury’s and got them some chocolate buttons. Mia finally calmed down. (And I know what you’re thinking – poor baby was just hungry. No, she wasn’t. She had tons of snacks while at the doc’s office and in the car and there were plenty more that she refused.) Got the meds. Speed walked back to the car. Get there and realize that Mia hasn’t eaten her chocolate buttons. She’s just been squeezing them in her hot little hands and she’s now a hot chocolately mess. She saw what she’d done and wiped her hands on her jacket and promptly started screaming about her ruined jacket.

So far NHS, I’m NOT a fan! (Minus the whole thing where I don’t have to worry about going bankrupt to pay for medical care. Oh and even though there aren’t many medicines, at least the ones that are here are free!) While I’m here I think that I’ll go ahead and get my MD degree because all you need to know how to do is GOOGLE and use a desk reference!

Get your shit together, NHS! My Canadian friends say that this is not how healthcare is there so figure something out and for God’s sake, get some prescription cold meds!

Rant over. For now.

I have no fun pics since we’ve been quarantined this week but I have watched The Aristocats a million times with Mia – or as she calls it, “The Titty Movie.”

Mia watching The Aristocats