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Adventures at the drug store

My favorite medicines are aspirin and acetaminophen, primarily because they are still cheap, when compared to some drugs people buy.

And they work.

Both are NSAIDs, which stands for Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs.

You don’t need a prescription to take them, although I have had a doctor prescribe aspirin to me in large doses for the pain of bursitis, which I apparently developed by patting myself on the back too often.

Aspirin is a drug that works on many levels. It is said to be a protection against heart attacks and strokes, best taken in small but daily doses.

The reason they call it aspirin is because its real name is acetylsalicylic acid, and you try saying that three times quickly.

Can you imagine the doctor saying, “Take two acetylsalicylic acids and call me in the morning?”

Acetaminophen started out as Tylenol, but then some idiot decided to sneak open some Tylenol packages and dose them with poison ... or at least claimed to have done so, and as a result, we now have to open even the simplest packages with hammers and chisels. That fact drives most of us crazy, but has been a great boon to the industry that supplies packages that are all but impossible to open.

I bought some Nexium the other day at the drug store. The package is within another package. The outer package has to be removed by the clerk, using a steel key that is bolted to the counter. I happened to get a clerk who did not know she had to remove the outer package, and as a result, when I started out the door, a claxon went off and all the clerks, wearing blue vests, knocked me to the floor and took the package away.

Thank goodness I kept the receipt, which was 24 inches long. They eventually found the proof of purchase buried among all the ads on the receipt. I got the Nexium back, not a moment too soon, as I was getting into a state where I needed it.

Nexium, if you don’t know it, is sold to relieve heartburn caused by the stress of trying to open Nexium packages.

One thing they should start selling in the United States is a drug they used to sell over the counter in Canada. It was mostly aspirin, but it had a little codeine in it, and a couple of pills that not only relieved pain, but could make one quite happy. Painless happiness ... ah.

One knew one should not try to get even a small amount of that drug back over the border into the U.S. The border patrol people would grab the bottle, throw it on the ground and stomp it into dust.

This provided little protection for the Americans who wanted to take the pills. But it was a great help to the drug industry.


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