Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Sickness and in Health

For the third day in a row, I'm home sick.  I'm laid low with some kind of virus.  On the one hand, I was kind of glad to know something was actually wrong and I wasn't just a wuss.  I had plans last Friday that I had to cancel because I couldn't seem to stay awake.  Whatever the heck I have hit me Saturday evening.  It started out as a sore throat, then morphed into attack of the killer sinuses before settling in my chest.  Overall, yuck.  But I've learned something.

First off, in Doha, pharmacists come out from in back of the counter and prescribe (more or less).  After muddling through without any drugs the first day, I got dressed and headed over to the Boots at Villagio yesterday morning (another fun fact:  at 10:00--which is when the mall opens--the oh-so-scary Villagio parking lot is quite navigable).  After standing there a bit blank-eyed (I later learned I was running a fever of over 100--I think I deserve a little slack!), a very nice pharmacist came out to ask me if I needed help.  I assured her I did.

"If I was in the States, I'd know just what to buy.  But here...I haven't a clue."

"Are you running a fever?"

"I don't know.  One of the things I need to buy is a thermometer."

She handed me a box of cold-flu meds, a throat spray and a thermometer.  The meds were from Denmark; the throat spray was made by a Swiss company out of Cyprus (true!).  I thanked her and went home.  Or tried to.  I took a wrong turn on what should have been a ridiculously easy route back.

I told you.  I was running a fever.

My alternate route required that I navigate the ever-frightening Decoration Roundabout (Have you noticed that most of my fears these days seem to revolve around driving obstacles?).  After doing a 360 round the roundabout, I returned, took my meds and laid around, feeling sorry for myself.

When 5:00pm rolled around and my fever was climbing, not falling, I called our Wellness Officer, Mary.  She is a true superstar and had checked in with me earlier in the day to see how I was doing.  I asked her if she thought I needed to see someone, as the pharmacist had said that if I wound up having a fever and it didn't go down after a couple of doses of meds (and I'd taken two rounds by that point), I probably needed anti-virals.  Mary, a former nurse, made me read her the ingredients of my current meds.

"There isn't enough there to bring down your fever.  You need Panadol!"

And with that, she showed up at my door less than an hour later with three boxes of meds (day, night, sinus) and nasal spray (saline, because you can't anything else without a prescription).

A Wellness Officer who makes house calls!

Oliver, I don't think we're in Baltimore anymore.

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