If there is one thing worse for general mood than living alone in a foreign country, it is living alone in a foreign country with a head cold. Everyone around me has had one in the last week, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up with one as well. Yesterday I could feel it coming on from early in the day, so I stopped at Superdrug on my way home before running to yet another work dinner event. (Wait, you ask, Superdrug and not Boots? Yes, I say, they were open a full thirty minutes later. Much like the randomness in any one store’s closing times on a given day, stores in the same block or shopping mall seem to have a wide range of inconsistent closing times.) I looked at all the cold medicine tablets (I found “Lemsip” to be absolutely disgusting so we won’t go there again) and found the inferior new kind of Sudafed. But out of the corner of my eye I noticed that in the back, behind the counter where the pharmacy is, they had other boxes of Sudafed. I casually strolled back there, at which point I proceeded to become my least articulate and most agitated American self:
Me: (sounding like something out of a bad western movie) What do you have to do to get the real Sudafed around here?
Clerk: (laughing) Just ask.
Me: Sudafed, please!
Clerk: Is this for your own personal use?
Clerk: Do you promise to take the medicine as instructed, and to only use the medicine for its intended decongesting purpose?
Me: Yes. I don’t suppose I can get two boxes?
Clerk: No. It’s limited to one
Now let me note that this is a box of 12 pills, and only the 4-6 hour sort, so by tomorrow I’m likely to have to go back for a repeat performance of this little TSA-like question and answer session (it so reminded me of the “Did you pack your bags yourself? Has anyone unknown to you given you something to bring onboard the aircraft?” routine.) If I knew then what I know now, I would go back to my 20-something self and tell her to buy three boxes of the 12-hour Sudafed every time she was at Target. I hoarded the stuff when the new rules of limited Sudafed access came around. Minnesota was early at adopting the restrictions due to the strong presence of meth out in the rural parts of the state. But I swear, I have tried everything, EVERYTHING else that they make for colds and nothing else works. Without Sudafed I’m a zombie. With it I’m sufficiently okay to have even gone to the gym tonight. No, I did not do a heavy cardio workout, but I did lift free weights and some mild cardio. Thanks, Sudafed, and thanks to Superdrug for that little amusing scene, soon to be repeated if I am going to get through this week.