Sunday, August 10, 2008

Reminder to All Patients: OTC means OTC!

Yesterday, I went to E-Mart to the pharmacy to get some Epsom salt and peroxide. In this country, you have to ask for any kind of pharmaceutical product, not just the stuff of which they want to control the sale, or reduce the theft, such as Sudafed or Plan B. Once, I needed some aspirin. I had to go to the counter and ask for it. I did not know if the pharmacist would know what I was talking about when I said aspirin, but he understood just fine. I later learned that Koreans do say aspirin. Yesterday, when I went to the pharmacy, I took the cell phone that I rented because it has a dictionary on it. I showed the pharmacist the word for Epsom salt and he was looking at it for quite a while. I don't know if they had it there or not. He was saying something to me in Korean. I don't know if he was asking if I was going to ingest it or if he thought I wanted regular salt, but I did not get any Epsom salt. I was able to get the peroxide though. I showed him the word for peroxide on the phone and he got it for me. Having to ask for everything at the pharmacy has made me hope that I do not need medications much here. It's not because I get things that I'm embarrassed to be buying; it's the language barrier and the fear that they are going to tell me that I need a prescription for something that I could buy over-the-counter in the United States.

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