Monday, October 19, 2009
Now and then I get quite fed up about living in France. One of those times are trips to the chemist. You lot in the UK take so very much for granted*. You can buy things at supermarkets for which us lot have to visit the chemist or get on prescription.
The anti-histamines available here are all the first generation ones that make you sleepy. I honestly do not know how the French person suffering from hay fever could ever hold down a job. I've now worked out that if I take an anti-histamnine at 2pm it will also act as a sleeping pill; it just means that the morning sneezing and itchy eyes have to somehow be endured.
You cannot get any analgesics at the supermarket. The medical sections in the like of Carrefour or Intermarche are devoted to condoms, plasters and mouthwash. Forget about picking up a packet of paracetomol - for that you have to try and find a place to park outside one of the two pharmacies in the busiest part of town.
The pharmacists have been a little worried here lately. There is some movement, some fiendish plan afoot to try and deregularise a lot of the things that only they are licensed to sell. Oh no, they say, it will affect our livelihood. We couldn't possibly let customers buy things at supermarkets instead of coming to see us trained professionals*.
Well I say I don't need the French pharmacies because I've discovered Chemist Direct. I much prefer shopping online anyway. I would willingly never visit a shop again if I could buy everything that I needed with a click of a button. I do rather think that I'm on a list of people whose parcels are opened and investigated by customs though. So much is arriving with the yellow tape of La Poste around it, opened - it is claimed - because it was not very well wrapped. The thing is though that I just don't believe them.
*On a similar note, there is nothing over here like Vision Express or Spec Savers. If you want to get some new glasses you have to book an appointment with an opthamologist with approx a two month waiting list. He (and it is still usually a 'he' over here) will then test your eyes and give you a prescription which you will duly take to a spectacle shop. Yes, living here is somewhat reminiscent of olde worlde times.