Cultural Context


I am in the throes of my annual sinus infection. I thought I’d managed to avoid this year’s thrilling science experiment. I’m not that freakin lucky!

This one is worse than previous years and I’m on an antibiotic. Thus far pretty standard stuff.

Except that as I’ve gotten older I appear to be developing a sensitivity to some antibiotics.

I took the drug as prescribed on Friday.  After not sleeping and being in really serious pain.  (achey joints, cramping, all the long muscles hurting and a blinding headache.) Saturday morning, I called the pharmacy.

These symptoms were not present on Thursday, and only began to show up as Friday evening wore on. 

Things went down hill from there.

The pharmacist spoke English mostly. His accent is so heavy I could barely understand him.

He wasn’t listening to what I was saying. Then without thinking I used an American colloquialism “I feel like I’ve been in an auto accident


The pharmacist told me ”drink more water and eat something when you take the pill” which is exactly what he told me on Thursday, and exactly what is printed on the instructions for use.

It was only after I hung up that I realized he probably didn’t understand the americanism.

Depending on what shit hole 3rd world country he came from, it was likely that he didn’t have a car until he got here, and therefore wouldn’t have the common experience of being in an auto accident during the 60s, 70s, or 80s.

Come on… if you’re over a certain age, didn’t all your friends have at least one small accident? Didn’t their parents?

But if you were in a 3rd world country you probably didn’t have a car, and if you did you likely were never driving more than 40MPH because the roads were bad.

Given that, there was no common ground for him to compare to.

But there’s another issue that sometimes happens with 3rd world individuals in professional situations. They really don’t listen very well except to each other.

I suspect this is a vestige of the old caste systems and if someone came to America to break free of that system, they tend to be a little dismissive. It makes sense in a weird sort of way. You see similar effects with the “new rich” regardless of where someone comes from.

In technology development situations this can be a problem but it’s easily monitored and corrected. 


In a medical situation…

Theoretically it could be fatal.

For example, the symptoms I was complaining of are now reducing instead of increasing. The pain had become debilitating by last night. So this morning, I decided to forego the scheduled dose.

It’s been greater than 12 hours since I took the last antibiotic. I’m still weak, and achy, but I’m feeling much better than I did.

I still don’t trust my reaction times to be fast enough to handle driving, so I’m canceling my plans for the evening.  I’m waiting to have a chat with my doctor and from there we’ll decide how to proceed.

I’ve also started a journal that describes the issues I’ve had with various drugs. 

From here on out, I’m checking the list before I leave the Docs office.

Apparently, I can no longer rely on my local pharmacy for advice.