Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Besuch in der Apotheke, aka: visit to the pharmacy

Yesterday, after DH and I had finished with Herr Doktor and gotten some lunch, I went to the Apotheke (pharmacy). Actually, first I went home because it was CD 1 and I hadn't taken anything for the pain yet. I got home, took three Advil, called the MTF pharmacy to see if they had the medications (They didn't.), and then headed back out to the Apotheke.

The Apotheke I went to is not in my town. It's not in a town that I have ever been to before for any reason. Now I've been there twice in two days.

I follow the map I've been given by the Tricare office and make it to the general area. I see two Apothekes on my way in, so I find parking and grab my prescriptions and other paperwork and attempt to find the correct Apotheke. I'm looking for Rathaus Apotheke. (The Rathaus is the town hall.) The ones that I see are Center Apotheke and Turm Apotheke. I can't find the Rathaus. My map says that the Rathaus Apotheke is just behind the Rathaus. I'm stumped.

I go into a building that says "Information" on it. I ask the gentleman inside where Rathaus Apotheke is. He points, but all the windows are covered up and says a lot of things in German. He points toward the Center Apotheke, but Turm Apotheke is that way to. Hmmm.... I thank him and go back outside.

I try the door of Center Apotheke. It's locked. Ooookay. I head over to Turm Apotheke. Also locked. And this one looks like it's been locked for a while and may never reopen. So, back to Center I go. Still locked. Then I pull out my map and realize that there is a phone number for Rathaus Apotheke on here. Wonderful! I call the number, and am treated to an answering machine message in German. The only thing I understand is "closed". I hang up. Studying my map closer, I notice it has the hours for Rathaus Apotheke as closed from one p.m. to three p.m. Ah...I forgot about the lunch hour. Germany.

It's about quarter til three, so I go back to my car and read until a little after three. I walk back to Center Apotheke and go in. When I'm called to the counter, I practice the little bit of German I know and tell the woman, "I need medicine," in German. I hand her my prescriptions and she tells me that they have the progesterone, but not the FSH or trigger shot, at first speaking in German, then switching to English when I show her my deer in the headlights look. That one always works. She tells me that I should go back to my town to get the medications because they don't have them there and it will be easier for me. I explain that I was told to come here. I show her my map. She tells me I need the Rathaus Apotheke; this is Central Apotheke. Uh huh.

She kindly shows me which way to go. It isn't far. I thank her profusely and resume walking. I find the building that she said is the Rathaus. It's a school. The building next door is the Rathaus. The Rathaus Apotheke is supposed to be behind the Rathaus. I walk all the way around. No Apotheke.

I walk back the way I came and then a little further down the street. There's a side street I notice. It even has a sign! (This is a rarity in Germany. It's all well and good to have a map with street names, but when only half of the streets are marked, it doesn't do too much good.) It's the street that Rathaus Apotheke is on, according to my map. Sure enough, I walk around the corner, and there it is. Hooray!

(I'm reminding myself between finding the doctor's office and finding the pharmacy that I only have to find them for the first time once. Next time it will be easier.)

I go in and give them my line. "I need medicine." They ask for my papers and I hand them over. We do the routine with the German, deer in headlights look, and then English. They have the progesterone and give that to me. They do not have the FSH or trigger shot. Those will be arriving at 6:15. It's about 3:30. I can pick them up tomorrow if that's more convenient. Great!

Then I ask how to take the progesterone. "Didn't the doctor tell you?"

"Well, he told me to take it and when to take it, but not how many to take or if the time of day when they are taken mattered."

"Let me see your paper." She wants to see the paper I got from the doctor. I hand it over. There's information on there about the FSH and nothing else. She seems a little panicky.

"Do you have the doctor's number?"

"I have it at home."

"Let me give it to you." She's writing it down off of the prescription. I protest a little, but let her do it. I'll see the doctor between now and when I need to take that med, so I'm not worried about it. Okay, great. My meds are on the way, and I'll pick them up either tonight or tomorrow morning.

The next morning:

I putter around since the Apotheke isn't open until 8:30. I head out and get there around 9:15. I park in a closer location and put up my parkschein. (It's a little blue thing that shows when I got there. When you park on the street, you put that in your window instead of having a parking meter next to every space.) I try to go put money in the ticket machine so that I will be legal to park there. My coin jams in the slot. I try to push the button to get a free ticket for thirty minutes. It asks me to "Please numbers". I know what these words mean, but I do not understand. Whatever. I just leave it and go get my meds.

My meds are in. Again, not much information here. I ask if I need to clean the area before injecting. Yes. I buy some alcohol swabs and I'm on my way. No ticket on the car either. Success! I haul ass outta there.

When I get home, I open up the boxes. I've never seen any sort of medication dispensing pen like this before.
There are needles and a vial of medication and the pen thing, but I don't know how to put it all together. And the information packet with it is all, you guessed it, in German! Whatever, I'll get to it later. I head out to the library where I volunteer a couple of times a week.

At the library I ask if the German guy is there today. No. Does anyone else read German? Yes, H and J do. I explain I have some medication that is injectable and I'm not sure how to set it up. H offers to help me read the packet and put the thing together. She asks what it's for. I never know what to do in this situation. I don't want to tell everyone that I'm going to start jabbing myself with medicated needles at home to try and get pregnant, but I really don't know how the hell to put this thing together. I tell her it's personal, and that seems to be okay. To be honest though, I felt really rude.

After I finish at the library, I run home and grab my stuff. I run back to the library where H tries to help me. She's totally intimidated by the language because it's all technical medical stuff and advises me to go back to the pharmacy. I decide to go in the back and see if anyone there can help. M's "gentleman friend" is back there and has spent time nursing an ailing parent. I introduce myself (we've never met before) and ask him to help. He kindly does. I thank him profusely and leave.

Now I'm at home watching videos of follistim injections. I'm totally freaked out. DH offered yesterday to do the injections, but I'm going to be at a retreat this weekend, so I need to figure out how to do it on my own. Tomorrow is the first one. I'm nervous, but I'll try to keep the end in mind.

What a day.

CD 2

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