Ever since pseudoephedrine went behind the pharmacy counter, I’ve been trying to do everything I can to not buy it. There are a couple of reasons for this, the primary one being that I don’t want to be on some list of people who take a particular drug . . . and therefore suspected of running a meth lab. The other reason, which is sometimes even more important than the previous one, is that pharmacies are not always open (unless you happen to live near a 24-hour pharmacy), and that makes the purchase of pseudoephedrine difficult when your head is congested at 1 AM.
I understand that, in this less-than-perfect world, the government is trying to do something about the meth problem, and I’m willing to help. I know many people have a problem with the “war on drugs” and this particular law regarding the retail distribution of pseudoephedrine. I respect that, and share some of those concerns. But I’ve got more pressing issues to deal with, like when I figure out that I’m having pretty severe sinus problems at 11 PM. I’ve been to the nearest 24 hour pharmacy for Sudafed before when other pharmacies weren’t open. Those pharmacists/techs treat me like a full-blown addict, even though I’m standing there sniffling while holding a tissue up to my nose to try to keep the runny nose at bay. So I do all that I can to avoid that.
I’ve tried the phenylephrine products and I can’t even tell that I’ve taken any medication. Then I find out that the efficacy of phenylephrine is in doubt. No wonder it doesn’t work on me. I’ve talked to others, and mostly they say, “It works for me.” I walk away feeling like my body is abnormal and doesn’t respond correctly to medicine. But now I am vindicated. It doesn’t work for everyone. I just happen to be one of those people. So I am giving up on phenylephrine. I’m done with buying a product that doesn’t work.
I gave in and bought some Mucinex D today, which is just an OTC version of a decongestant my doctor has prescribed for me successfully in the past. I walked up to the pharmacist and asked him for it by name, and I quickly located it on the back wall visually. The pharmacist, who I had interrupted while he was reading, began to tell me to look on the shelf, when he said “D – oh that’s back here”. He condescendingly asked me which size box I wanted. I asked for the larger box, hoping that I won’t need it all, but preparing for the possibility. He brought the box to the counter and asked if I was 18. Me. I’m eleven years past that. I know I look young, but I seriously don’t look that young, even if I am dressed only in jeans and a t-shirt. At this point, I feel like he’s just trying to make me feel uncomfortable to creep me out if I am trying to get it for meth. I shove my driver’s license at him, and he doesn’t make any more remarks. I pay and leave.
Most of the time when I buy my pseudoephedrine products at this particular pharmacy, I get sympathy from the employees. This is usually because, like I was today, I’m sniffling, sneezing, have a red, irritated nose, and in general look like I need medicine.
I happily comply when people of authority ask for information from me. I don’t want to be suspected of anything and I have nothing to hide, so I see no point in putting up a fuss. But the funny part here is that pharmacists (and others employed by pharmacies) are supposed to help people get well and keep them healthy. Now that they are law-enforcement as well, they (sometimes) turn into this kind of suspicious, cranky controller-of-pseudoephedrine. My point: I shouldn’t feel like an outlaw for buying the only OTC medicine that will help my condition. And if you’re going to make me go to a pharmacy to get it, you should make all pharmacies 24 hour operations. Period. No exceptions. Medical conditions don’t read clocks. They don’t care about business hours. And I should be able to make myself feel better with legal medications whenever I need them.