Mom and I have not been able to kick this disgusting, hellacious flu or whatever it is. Today is day NINE. No fever. Just coughing our fool heads off, nauseous (so we couldn’t eat but did I lose an ounce? NO.) Headachy off and on. And so tired. So weak. Coughing coughing coughing. I’d be up a day, then down a day. Then up an afternoon. Then down two days.

I don’t get sick. Ever. I did have emergency surgery once. I guess I save up… Anyway, this had gone on for too, too long. I was emailing a local friend (who I’ve never laid eyes on – we met in the blogosphere) and she mentioned that she’d had IT. She gave me the name of her pharmacist. You call the pharmacist, she asks you some questions (like what color is your mucus which I consider quite personal), then she….

You are not going to believe this. If you live in the states, you will be certain I am hallucinating.

… she drives to your house from her pharmacy because you live near her and she delivers the drugs to you. She tells you how much to take. She makes sure you have her cell phone number in case you have any questions (I did twenty minutes after she left and she answered her phone). She doesn’t…

You are so not going to believe this.

… she doesn’t charge you any extra. When she leaves, she says, "Call anytime if you need anything." And you believe her.

Here’s what she delivered: a cough medicine (Clembroxil┬«, manufactured in Costa Rica), $9 for 120ml; an antiobiotic (Denvar┬«, made by Merck) $35, 5 pills; a very strong NSAID pain reliever, 8 pills for $9; and some dramamine for the nausea, 5 pills for $1.50.

So $55 for home-delivered drugs and no doctor in the middle. As you know, any mother on the planet could basically have diagnosed what we needed… the fact that here, it is legal is flat-out cool.

When Panaceia got here last Thursday late, Mom was in bed and I was mobile, feeling pretty good, so I didn’t take the meds. In 24 hours on the drugs, Mom was great and I was a mess. Plus Saturday am I woke with this low-grade headache that just wouldn’t go away. I started with the antibiotic and cough syrup and 1mg aspirin twice a day (how does aspirin know where to go?) Made my ears ring but the headache went away. And the meds worked! I feel great after my first 24 hours on the drugs. WHAT A RELIEF.

As my friend, Isabela, says:

"Without writing you a book on the subject… here the owner of a farmacia [far-MA-see-ah, pharmacy] has to be what they call in the U.S. a "Dr. in pharmacy." For me, this is one of the biggest perks of living here and I think the U.S. system could take some notes here and do much better with health care.

Anyhow, the way it works is so simple…you get sick, you call or go to the farmacia (without an appointment) and (for FREE) tell your symptoms to the Dr. in pharmacy and they can tell you what you need and you just buy it. They can inject you on the spot and even prescribe drugs that need a prescription. Most drugs don’t.

If you have something wrong with you they don’t know about or is a warning of something more serious, they recommend you to see a doctor in his office. If I get anything I call my Doctora in farmacia first."

So, here, in my developing nation, a goddess of healing appears at my door and heals me. Talk about your common sense approach. Guess what else? Today I went to my local pharmacy – the biggest chain drugstore in the country – to get more antiobiotics and cough syrup (my Panaceia’s pharmacy was closed). They had the pills but not the cough syrup in the same size bottle. So they gave me three little bottles. Gratis. [GRAH-teece, FREE]. Can you ever see that happening in a Walgreens? 

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