Wednesday 9 July 2008

Job requirements.

Daisy has tonsillitis, poor thing.

She gets it quite a lot. The infection responds well to antibiotics, but her taste buds don't. This is because antibiotics for small children have the nasty taste of the drug disguised with the even nastier taste of sickly sugary chemicals with names (but definitely not flavours) like "banana" and "strawberry". They are unforgivably disgusting, and Daisy won't touch the orange stuff, which seems to be full of the same fake migraine-triggering accident-in-a-chemical-lab crap they put into "orange" Revels. They used to put it in orange squash when I was a kid, and I couldn't even smell the stuff without getting a migraine, so I can't say I blame Daisy. (Incidentally, why the hell not use chocolate flavour? Kids love it, and even rather cheap fake chocolate flavour tastes of actual chocolate.)

The first time Daisy had tonsillitis, she was prescribed the orange stuff and Vic and I had one hell of a fight on our hands four times a day. We tried sneaking small amounts of it into food and drink that she liked, and she responded by refusing to touch food or even drink milk from us for two days in case we tried it again. In the end, we had to resort to having one person hold her down while another forced the stuff into her mouth with a syringe and then clamped her mouth shut. Not fun at all — especially since, when your child's ill, what you really want to do is comfort her, not torture her. That method worked that first time, but it doesn't any more, as Daisy has now taken to simply vomiting if anyone succeeds in getting any of the noxious orange crap into her stomach.

We did try asking a doctor at the time if there were any other flavour we could try, and he told us we'd just have to pull our bloody fingers out and get the stuff into her. This was all the more annoying in retrospect when she got tosillitis for the second time and was prescribed the "banana" stuff, which she decided in the end that she actually rather likes, which just goes to show that that bloody doctor, true to the long-standing traditions of his profession and the NHS, could indeed have done something for us but preferred to be rude to us instead.

Anyway, so, now, when she gets prescribed antibiotics, we make a point of telling whichever doctor Daisy sees that she won't touch the orange stuff. Last time, this was good: the doctor knew which drugs were which flavours and so prescribed the banana stuff. This time, however, the doctor we saw didn't know — which is fair enough, as it's not specified by the drug manufacturers for some stupid reason, so it's just one of those things a doctor either happens to know or doesn't. So the doctor, perfectly reasonably, gave us a prescription and advised us to ask the pharmacist before getting it dispensed.

So that's what I did, but the pharmacist apologetically explained to me that the drug manufacturers don't specify the flavour on the outside of the bottle. The stuff comes in dry powder form and the pharmacist adds water when dispensing it. The powder, annoyingly, is just sort of bland grey, so you can't tell by looking at it whether it's going to turn bright yellow or bright orange. This pharmacist even helpfully let me smell the powder, but it smelt of nothing. So I had to just go ahead and try it and see what happened. And, of course, by the time the pharmacist gave me the bottle, its contents were bright orange. By then, the prescription's dispensed and it's too late to change my mind. Bugger.

It was only when we got home that Vic noticed four words on the label of the bottle: "orange colour" and "orange flavour". They had been cunningly hidden in amongst some other words under the heading "Ingredients".

I have to say that I find the idea of a pharmacist who doesn't know that you can find out what's inside stuff by reading the list of ingredients slightly worrying. If you do too, you might want to avoid the Alliance pharmacy in Newtownards.

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