Philippine Island Times Adventures of an American expat in the Philippines

December 10, 2008

Scut Monkey*

Filed under: General — Donald @ 7:43 am

scut-monkey.jpg

The ice picks in my face had to go. I had waited two weeks for my cold to pass, which it seemed to be doing until a couple of days ago when it got worse again with a vengeance. Time to consider seeing a doctor. One of my guiding axioms is that people are basically incompetent; you’d better know enough to check their work. That goes for docs like anyone else and doubly for docs in places like the Philippines. Everything I read made it seem very likely that I had a bacterial sinus infection and that a penicillin-class antibiotic and a non-drying decongestant were the appropriate first line treatments, so I decided to bypass the doc entirely and self-medicate. With self service you get what you pay for.

The antibiotic was no problem. In the Philippines any primate with a few pesos and a simple lexicon can walk out of a pharmacy with amoxicillin. Pseudoephedrine is a different story. The three pharmacies I tried told me 1) we normally carry it but it is currently out of stock 2) it has been phased out and is no longer available 3) it requires a prescription. This affirms a corollary to the axiom of incompetence: If one person doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, ask someone else. Eventually I gave up and got a different, less effective alternative. The meth (shabu) labs seem to have cornered the market on the good stuff. I also picked up some acetaminophen by asking for paracetamol, as I had learned to do on an earlier expedition. Not only the brands but the generic names of medicines are often different here, which can be trying. On a related note: If you’re ever in a Philippine pharmacy, resist the inclination to approach the youngest and cutest girl behind the counter. Her older and dowdier colleague is much more likely to understand what you want, medication-wise.

The final step in my treatment plan is getting out of the city and back to some fresh air. Next bus pulls out in two hours.

*Newbie med student.

4 Comments »

  1. Breathe deeply of the mountain air. Do you have an address where we can send care packages? If you need anything we are happy to serve!

    Comment by scott — December 11, 2008 @ 1:57 am

  2. As are we back east.

    Comment by Chuck Tassoni — December 14, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  3. A few days back in Siquijor has done wonders for my mood. It really is unbelievably nice here; sunny, breezy, moderate humidity, about 82 degrees today. I’m still deaf in one ear but the amoxi has my bugs on the ropes. Speaking of which, did anyone catch Paquiao-De La Hoya? I watched a pirated copy with some friends a couple of days ago; Pacman fought one of the most perfect fights I’ve ever seen. Most people here assumed I was rooting for De La Hoya, since being from Michigan means that I am Mexican. Thank God I wasn’t or I’d have to leave the country.

    Thanks for offering care packages. I’ll send around my address so that when I really need them you’ll have it. Takes about three months to get one here, so you’ll have to divine my needs.

    Comment by Donald — December 14, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

  4. You have come a long way since you started blnogigg. I started along the same path although I have to digress along the way since I have to maintain the integrity of my blogs against the wishes of some ad companies for me to make gambling paid posts. I would be compromising the integrity of my blogs if I did that. I was blacklisted by them. Well, that’s life. Thanks for the post. God bless you always.

    Comment by Liaquat — December 17, 2015 @ 3:10 am

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