Take ? Every ? Hours

Today on the bus home from work, five employees of the transit system got on to check passengers’ tickets. There were at most thirty-five people on the bus. Wasn’t a team of five a bit excessive? Did they think they would need back-up?

I’ve been sick for most of the week. Getting sick never fails to remind me how difficult it must be for people who have a chronic or long-term illness or disability. After only four days, I am impatient to get better and regain my energy. I am tired of feeling rundown at work, wanting to crawl into bed at 7pm, and waking up overheated in the middle of the night.

I did learn a few interesting things while sick, though:

•   I had no idea what the French equivalents are to the medicine I take in the States.
I had brought some painkillers and cold medicine from the States, but I realized that they would quickly run out with one bad cold. After some inquiring texts to friends here, I now know the different names for these medicines.

•   Directions on how to take medicine aren’t always on the back of the box here!
When I look at a medicine box, I expect to see dosage and instructions in a concise line or two. The pain reliever I picked up at the pharmacy today had none of this, so I asked the cashier, who told me to take one pill at a time, three times a day. Outside the pharmacy, I opened the box and scanned through the little folded up paper inside—you know, the one with warnings and side effects and small print. Halfway down the page I found the instructions for usage. I wonder how sick tourists who don’t speak French figure out what medicine to buy and how much to take? Granted, I didn’t look at the other boxes in the pharmacy; maybe some had instructions on the back.

•   I’ve got some cool friends here.
I knew that already, but it takes time for friendships to be tested. What I mean by that is the longer you’ve been friends with someone, the more opportunities you’ve had to go through different types of situations together, good and bad. Most of my oldest friends are not here, and among them I know who I can depend on. I remember who was there for me during hard times, who let me crash at their place last minute when I needed to, who met up with me during my short visits to the States despite their busy schedule, who tried to help me find a job, who I can call at any time of night.

Over here, there are a lot of people I have fun with and consider friends, but fewer whom I would not hesitate to ask if I needed something. This week, a couple of friends checked in to see how I was feeling, one offered to share her stash of American medicine, and another offered to buy what I needed at the pharmacy and drop it off at my apartment. It was a reminder that the next time I feel like an island, I should remember that there are other people on it who care about me.

It is finally the weekend, and I have cancelled all my plans. Well, admittedly I made substitute plans that only involve me walking across the street and drinking a Shirley Temple—I couldn’t help it, my instinct is to say “Yes” to seeing people. Hopefully next week I will no longer be downing boxes of Ricola and scaring my colleagues with my sniffles.


11 thoughts on “Take ? Every ? Hours

  1. Hope you are feeling better! I found Canadian cold medicine (i.e. Advil or Tylenol) super strong when I first came here. One pill and I was high. So I guess the French medicine I was used to wasn’t as strong!

    There are always a bunch of “contrôleurs” together because as you probably noticed, French love “resquiller”, i.e. the fine art of fare evasion 😉

    • Thanks! It’s interesting because Tylenol directs you to take 2 every 4-6 hours, whereas the equivalent here directed 1 three times a day, which would lead you to think it’s stronger here. But you have a wider sample selection than me– once I found what I needed, I got out of there. Now you got me thinking, though– in the U.S. I don’t always take the full dose.

      I love that there is a word for it– you have added to my vocabulary. Really, though, there were only two doors to the bus, there was a low risk of “resquiller”!

      • French really have a word for everything 😉 I found “fare evasion”, the expression used here in Canada, was so proper! “resquiller”, “frauder” is more casual.

  2. If I were there, I would wrap you up in multiple blankets, fill a few thermoses with tea, and wheel you out to the Luxembourg gardens, where you could convalesce in the sunshine.

    (I’d also force the weather to be warm and sunny.)

    Feel better!

    • I’m not so bad that I need to be wheeled out! But I’d enjoy that with you anyway.

      It IS pleasant and sunny today! You changed the weather. Thanks for making my friends here look bad.

  3. It’s definitely great to figure out who you can count on and who you’re comfortable enough to ask for help. My Tours friends were great with my move, total hero points to my friend who drove me all the way across France and then did the return trip alone. Here there are a couple of people who have said “if you ever need help…” but I’m not sure I’d be okay taking them up on it. I need to know people quite well before I’ll ask a favour!

    • Yeah, that is an awesome friend!

      I’m the same when it comes to asking for favors. However, there have been times when people I didn’t know well went out of their way to help me. So you never really know until you make your needs known who will step up. That’s cool that you already have people there who have offered.

  4. I hope you are feeling better! I was also sick last week. It was terrible and definitely makes me feel thankful to be as healthy as I am. I’m glad you have people you can count on in Paris!

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