Buying drugs

After my visit to the doctor, I checked on Maps for a pharmacy. There’s one just around the corner. My regular readers must have noticed that there is a lot just around the corner… And there is! But I must also admit that I moved apartment about two weeks ago, so since then of course it’s another corner.

I took my prescription and my health insurance card and headed to this pharmacy. It’s a small one and not the typical pharmacy like I’m used to from Switzerland. There’s just one small shelf with things to buy and the rest of the room is counters on one side and a waiting area on the other side. I was the only customer. I gave the prescription and card to the woman behind the counter. She took it, looked at it, gave me a form to fill in and explained something. In Japanese. I didn’t understand a word. So embarrassing. She quickly realised but didn’t speak English herself. So she showed me to the waiting area. I sat down, looked at some leaflets and waited. Not long afterwards, two women ran out of the pharmacy. Some time later, one of the women came back with an elderly man. He came to me and apologised for not wearing a white coat but assured me that he was a pharmacist. All in very good English. Apparently he used to work for a Japanese drug company and often travelled to Basel for his job. I don’t know if he’s working for this pharmacy now or if he just lives in the neighborhood.

He helped me to fill in the form, which was quite similar to the one I had to fill in at the clinic. Name, address etc. but also the reason for needing the drugs, my medical history and any allergies and intolerances. Then he guided me back to the counter where to woman took the form. From there I was led to another counter, actually more a desk with a chair. He was joining the woman behind the desk putting on a white coat. The woman showed me the drugs she had prepared and he explained to me what I got.

I expected just pain meds and was surprised to receive three different drugs. Not knowing the brand names, I asked what they were. One was indeed an anti-inflammatory pain killer (Loxoprofen), then I got a muscle relaxant (Tizanidine) and – compared to nutritional requirements – an extremely high dosed vitamin B12 product (Mecobalamin).

Unlike in Switzerland, where we get the original packaged product including a detailed enclosed patient information sheet, here I received exactly as many pills as I got prescribed and some short information how to take everything. The rest you can find on the internet anyway…

Bill for the drugs and the advice received by the pharmacists

Now, a week later, after 7 days of diligently taking the pills three times a day, I went back to see the doctor. My arm feels better but the pain has not gone away. I just don’t feel it as much because of my daily cocktail. On the other hand, I often feel sleepy and slightly sick to the stomach. I expected a referral to a specialist or a physiotherapist, but no, he just prescribed me another 2 weeks of the same cocktail. I guess, I have to be patient.

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