Monthly Archives: March 2015

The pharmacist doesn’t have the exact prescription in stock…

In the morning, Marisa and I promised to meet again in the States and parted ways. I headed to the pharmacy and she headed to work. My bus departed at 10.30 and I had a major errand to run.

I had briefly considered waiting until Chile to fill the medication but I figured as a precaution both in terms of my health and the legalities of filling prescriptions across country borders, to take care of it in Argentina.

I had trouble understanding what the two women at the pharmacy were trying to tell me. I figured it had to be important because one of them told me to stay and she returned a few minutes later with an English-speaking woman who owned a nearby shop.

My new translator explained that, “the pharmacist doesn’t have the exact prescription in stock so she’s giving you something close.”

What?! In the States I can’t change from pill to liquid at the pharmacy even when it’s the same medication and here I’m getting “something close?”

This sentence was so out of the ballpark of anything I could have expected them to say, it was no wonder I was having trouble translating.

I left with one prescription and one OTC medicine that the pharmacist recommended. The prescription was a powder; just add water and no refrigeration necessary. Score.

But, how the hell am I going to finagle taking this on a bus?


I seemed to time it so that I would be departing major cities, by bus, on Friday afternoons, in the summertime

I was still pretty panicked, probably because of the injury, the blood and the mate (and all of its caffeine, I had enjoyed earlier with Rafael) so I couldn’t even enjoy our lovely meal on the house. I’m pretty confident that Marisa was equally as nauseous by all the blood we had seen, and so we agreed to call it a night and head back to her place.

Back at Marisa’s, once comfortably in pajamas (which was all we really wanted to do anyway), after presenting her with her new wok (which she loved), I checked email and saw a note from my friend from New York, Cara. I knew we would be meeting up at some point in the Santiago / Valparaiso area and now was my chance to make plans, with a solid internet connection.

Cara shared with me the name of the hostel she had booked in Vina del Mar, a beach town just shy of two hours from Santiago. I emailed to make my own reservation not knowing how long it would take or what time I would be arriving. If anything, Cara was going to alert them that I was coming so I’d be guaranteed a bed. At least now I knew I would have a place to stay the following night (even if I didn’t realize how much energy it would take to get there).

I was sensing a pattern.

I seemed to time it so that I would be departing major cities, by bus, on Friday afternoons, in the summertime.


If you are keeping count, that’s two countries and two doctors. And I was only on day 16 in South America.

Let’s just recap the situation to let it all sink in.

  • I’m in a fancy hotel in Mendoza.
  • I have injured myself in the most ridiculous way possible.
  • I have a doctor who carries a Caboodle.

Because of this situation,

Could I make this any more difficult?

I left with a prescription for an antibiotic, shared my thanks and headed back to Marisa at our table.

If you are keeping count, that’s two countries and two doctors.

And I was only on day 16 in South America.

If a tackle box and a Caboodle had a baby

The doctor and nurse enter the ladies room almost immediately after the manager and I arrive.

The doctor is dressed in blue scrubs looking like he’s about to go into surgery. The nurse is wearing a white nurse outfit. Like one you’d buy in a shop at Halloween. Not because it is short and slutty but because she is even wearing the white paper hat you would imagine comes in the set. Almost out of an old movie.

I am introduced to the doctor and nurse. The doctor proceeds to set down on the bathroom counter what looked like if a tackle box and a Caboodle had a baby. The nurse opens it, sets up the levels and takes out a flashlight that she hands over to the doctor. He used it to inspect my arm. But, that might not have worked so well because the next object she pulls out of the tackle box/Caboodle is a microscope.

My translator, the hotel manager, confirms that there is no glass in my arm.

Next thing I know I’m getting painted with something that is stinging the crap out of my skin. The bleeding, if any, was minimal at this point but there were bloody tissues all over the counter from the doctor trying to clean me up.

I didn’t need a translator to tell me that I was getting a prescription for something. No faster did the doctor take out his prescription pad that I was asked if I had any allergies and what medicine I was already taking.

I have trouble swallowing large pills so I asked how big the pills would be.

Again, no translator needed. The reply, that I translated, was “very big.”


Now I had to let them know that not only would I need a liquid medication but I would be traveling on a bus the next day for 10+ hours. So I couldn’t take anything that needed refrigeration. Oh, and I would be crossing the Argentine border into Chile so I would need medicine that wouldn’t be confiscated at the border.