Tuesday, 31 January 2012


At the Chemists I am now a familiar figure. The shop is really just another waiting room with make-up and perfumes on the wall, a privatised branch of the NHS where you hang around until your number is called. At this point you once had to hand over cash but now, this being wonderful Wales, you don’t. I’m there collecting the usual shedload of Prednisolone, Omeprazole, Calcichew and Alendronic Acid. Boxes, packets and tubs. For reasons I can’t quite explain the extra Vitamin D I’ve been told I need don’t come on the prescription and I have to buy them myself. But the rest is uncharged, courtesy of Aneurin Bevan, praise be his name.

Usually I get presented with the biggest bag the Pharmacists have and stagger out under its weight but today I’m beaten by the woman in front. She’s wearing a sort of dinner lady’s coat and has a series of dirty looking plastic carriers hanging from her arms. The bag she’s given is so big that it looks as if it might contain everything from oxygen cylinders to a spare artificial leg. There’s a clanking rustle and gush of cold air as she tries unsuccessfully to negotiate the door to get back into the street. I assist. I’m an old school gentleman. I get no thanks, not that I’m asking, just a slight smell of stale dog mixed with wet coat. She ought to bring her wheelie trolley, says the assistant behind the counter. Free NHS forever. I nod.

I’m offered the new we fix it for you and sort your GP deal – complimentary for me and for anyone else that wants it for that matter. The Pharmacy will call my GP monthly and order my drugs. They’ll collect the prescription and then make it up. All I need to do is be at the end of a phone when they call to ask how many tablets I need and then be able to walk round to their shop and actually collect the stuff. So slick. A wonder. I sign up.

But sometimes these things go wrong. Back in my pre-Steroid days when my slight eczema, about the only thing I had wrong with me, was controlled by tubes of DiproBase. I was once prescribed cream but given ointment by mistake. This came in dozens of small tubes which are still stacked in my cupboard upstairs. I should return them, or throw them out. Prednisolone’s one great advantage (other than its main function as a PMR suppressant) is that it appears to sort out itchy skin. But I’d have that back any day.

Back on Newport Road, my main drag, the land where it’s pretty hard to spot a permanent resident, the world rolls on. Up near the funeral home the immigrant Eastern Europeans are standing leaning on their garden wall, cigarettes lit and cans of lager in their hands. It’s a hard life and it’s not yet 10.00 am. The push chairs are rolling and the Africans pass me on their bikes. East Cardiff centre of the world.

Songs with Prednisolone in the title: none

However you can listen to The Steroids, DJ Steroid, The Steroid Kiddies, Steroid Freak Pussy, A-Steroid and Steroid Maximus on Spotify. You can do it anytime you want. My guess is that those bands’ steroids are to do with enhanced performance rather than moon faces.

But back to the blog. You can tell this is an up day, can’t you? I must take advantage. Some days have more black dogs than others. Not all days are the same.

1 comment:

  1. You make me laugh even if at times I feel I shouldn't be! - Lynne Rees