Friday, September 16, 2011

A Visit to the Chemist

It's no fun being sick.  Especially when you are in a foreign country, miles and miles away from your mom.  In the two short months that we've been in Australia, both Andrew and I have been sick.  I caught a head cold from Andrew's boss' kids shortly after we arrived when we had a welcome-to-Australia dinner at their house.  Now Andrew has a cold, probably passed along to him by his office mate who also has school-age kids.  (I see a theme here...)

So where does one go to buy medicine in Australia?  The answer is a chemist.  It's pretty much the same thing as a pharmacy in the States, but with a few differences.  For most of the usual cold and first aid medicines, you don't need a prescription; however, you do have to ask the chemist for help as they keep these items behind the counter.  At first, this seems like it would be a pain.  Can't I just look at the medicines myself and decide which brand I want?  

For Andrew, it would be a bit of a bother.  He was a pharmacist's assistant for 6 months after graduating college and so he has a good idea of what drugs interact with each other and what the best type of medicine is for each ailment.  I, on the other hand, am grateful for the guidance provided by the chemists. 

Today, I stopped by our local chemist to pick up a few items.  On my list were cough drops, Sudafed, contact solution, toothpaste, and a pain-killer that was available over-the-counter in the States.  I had to ask the chemist for the cough drops though these are kept on the regular shelves in the grocery store.  Sudafed with pseudoephedrine is a controlled substance here just like it is in the States so I had to show my driver's license to buy that.  The contact solution was also held behind the counter which I found odd.  I haven't been able to find it in any grocery store—perhaps it is a controlled substance here, too?  The toothpastes were on the regular shelves so I was able to browse and compare prices at my leisure.  The pain-killer that I bought regularly in the States was not available at all.  The chemist informed me that I would need a prescription for it. 

All in all, it was a successful trip and now we have enough medicine to make Andrew comfortable for the weekend.  I also learned a little more about our adopted country.  Going to the doctor, though, is a whole other thing that we haven't figured out and I'm hoping that a trip isn't necessary for awhile. 

Time to go make another pot of tea for Andrew.


  1. May you be healthy from here until eternity. xo.b

  2. Oh no! Glad you are feeling better and I hope Andrew feels better soon. Do you feel lots of pressure to decide quickly with the pharmacist? Ick.

  3. Thanks for the get well wishes, everyone! :)

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