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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Corner Drugstore

The pharmacy where I get my prescriptions is a local (Puget Sound) chain that's been around for about a hundred and twenty years. It's also got a full-fledged drugstore, with great deals on things like cosmetics and candy and canned goods and Pillow Pets and over-the-counter drugs and the usual pharmacy-and-drugstore items. Like Bazooka Bubble Gum, which I cannot find in grocery stores or convenience stores, but which is available at my trusty Bartell Drugs. We went to the Grand Opening celebration for their Mill Creek store and ever since Lizzy wants to know why we don't get "example cake" when we go to our usual store in Canyon Park. I've been a customer (patient? client?) there for twenty years or so.

I went in today to pick up refills on my regular prescriptions (I have borderline-high blood pressure and have since I was pregnant with Lizzy, four years ago), as well as some things for Abby's trip to stay with her Nana and Poppo (her dad's parents), such as travel-size shampoo and so forth. I went to the pharmacy, told them I needed a refill, and went out into the store to get the other goodies. They called me back to the pharmacy when the refill was ready, and offered to ring up the rest of my stuff too. Great, I thought, I can get it all done at once.

Then I started coughing.

I've been coughing on and off since about Christmas, and a couple times I was actually treated for bronchitis and walking pneumonia and the rest of the time it was assumed by everyone - me, my family, my doctor, etc. - that it was just allergies. It's been a bad spring and summer around Seattleish for those after all, and as an allergy-triggered asthmatic, the Cottonwood of Doom and the sticky yellow alder pollen have been causing a lot of allergic coughs around here.

But I started that dry hacking cough and the pharmacist asked me if I was sick again. I said, "No, I think it's just allergies," and she looked at the bottle she was holding in her hand and said, "You know, two percent of patients on this blood pressure drug have a dry cough as a side effect. I didn't put it together before, because you were sick when I saw you, but that could be the case. I suggest you contact your doctor about it."

Oh, wow, I thought. I've been coughing on and off since December... it just shows how easy it is to discount something like a cough as no big deal. So I have a call in to my doctor, and we'll see what she suggests. Even if she says I need to stay on this medication, just knowing that the cough is a side effect of a prescription will make it a zillion times easier to deal with.

And that's why I love my corner drugstore.