I bring this up now because on Friday I finally broke down and went to la farmacia (farm-uh-CHEE-ah) after feeling not-so-good for a few weeks.
It started with a virus, but then every few days I’d get abdominal pains and was just generally rundown.
Why not go straight to the doctor?
I hate going to the doctor, and I know I’m not alone in that. The biggest part of the annoyance for me is having to wait around with a bunch of sickies who may be sicker than I am and/or with different problems, and possibly catching what they have on top of whatever I have.
But Italy lets me avoid that ever so slightly because here the logical first stop is il farmacista, the pharmacist, who can also diagnose your symptoms and give you medications that require prescriptions–and you only pay for the meds, not the advice.
My pharmacist is here every day but Sunday (he’s even here some Sundays as pharmacies are required by law to rotate so that one is open every Sunday in a given area), so it’s also rather convenient as he’s just a few steps down the Corso.
Once I’m there, I describe my symptoms, and he lets me know if I should go to the doctor or hospital or if he can provide something to help along the healing process.
Best of all, I live in a village of about 350 people. I’ve had to wait in a line (of one person ahead of me) precisely one time in five years.
Read: no shouting your symptoms across the desk in a room full of people. So that’s nice too.
Now, granted, something *very* annoying about the pharmacy system in Italy is that you have to *ask* the pharmacist for just about everything medical you can imagine–think vitamins, regular strength painkillers, cold medicine, yeast infection meds (ladies, I know you hear me on this). I’m spoiled as my mom sends me these things, but that’s more because many of these things are also ridiculously expensive here.
Anyway, I am happy to report that since my pharmacist gave me meds on Friday, I have felt so amazingly better that I have resolved to stop complaining about having no drugstore where I can buy everything over-the-counter, without describing of symptoms or asking anyone for help in the unlocking of cabinets that hold controversial items like tampons, lipstick, and shampoo.*
And that is why I love il farmacista in Italy.
*For the record, we can buy tampons, lipstick, and shampoo in places other than pharmacies, thank goodness.
Have you dealt with il farmacista?
What say you?