Saturday, October 15, 2011

I've got the 'gripe'

Sick, sick, sick.... It's terrible to be sick.  It's great if you're faking it to get a day off work but as usual, karma bites you in the ass and then you really get sick.  I don't know what I have exactly but anyone in Brazil will tell you that if you're sick, you've got gripe.  Technially it means flu, and I could have the flu in this case, but even if I just had a sore throat, or a sniffle, I've got the gripe.  To me, it sounds like I've got the clap.

Side Note****In case that sentence wasn't 100% clear, I do NOT have the clap.  I just think that I've got gripe sounds like I've got the clap....

One thing I miss about Canada is being sick.  'Say what??', you ask?  It's true.  In Canada (with its mostly uninhabitable plains, where people live in ice and snow year round*) it's really common to get all kinds of sicknesses.  They come in with the chinook winds**.  But this means the pharmacy is always stocked up with all kinds of cold and flu medicine.  With CLEAR images and descriptions on the box to verify if what you got is what this medicine will cure.

Brazil doesn't have the same cold-and-flu season popularity as Canada does, so when I walk into the pharamacy it generally takes me a long time to figure out what I HAVE first, then I can decide what I need.  It doesn't help that, to me, Brazilian medicine all looks exactly the same.

What I have found in terms of over-the-counter medicine is that they generally will treat cold & flu symptoms like:
Runny nose: Coriza
Fever: Febre
Nasal congestion: Congestão nasal 
Headache: Cefaléia
Body Pain: Dores Musculares

Ok, that's fine.  But every single over-the-counter med does the exact same thing.  Where's my all in one medicine for a sinus and chest cold?  Or, in my specific case this time, sinus and sore throat?  In Canada they got this covered.  But I guess the common cold is to Canada what dengue is to Brazil?  I'd like to see them come up with a quick diagnosis for dengue in Canada.

As a final observation - something that is very common, potentially dangerous, but at times super convenient - is the ability to buy prescription medication from the pharmacist without a prescription.  For me, this was kind of awesome because I have always suffered from terrible sore throats.  I always visit the doctor during these episodes and they always prescribe me amoxcicillin.  I've had them so many times that I can completely tell when one is coming on and how bad it's going to get.  It's pretty handy to just walk into the pharmacy and ask for my amoxcicillin without going through the hassle of visiting the doctor's office.

Now, I know that I takes my meds responsibly and I take them until the end.  I can't speak for the rest but I can definitely take a guess that this generally isn't true for many others.  Now they are really tryin to crack down on prescription meds only with prescription.  Hell, we even tried to buy some last night and we got rejected.  Now I'll have to find a rogue pharmacist who can support my habit - er - my basic needs.

Probably won't be so difficult.  We are in Rio after all!

* Sarcasm doesn't always translate through the computer.  Canada is NOT like this but the other day someone asked me how much of Canada is inhabitable.  ??  100%.  (but fair enough, the far north probably isn't desirable for everyone)
** Another 'dumb Canada question.'  But chinooks are real and they are only in the flat plains ie. Alberta, Saskatchewan and parts of Manitoba. 

Thanks for playing "How Little Do I Know About the 2nd Largest Land Mass in the World!"


  1. Feel Better soon!!

    The gripe, hahaha sounds like a horror movie. "The Gripe- in theaters October 30th."

  2. We have a friend who makes regular trips to Paraguay - talk about rouge medicines! Anything you need, baby!

    Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Try by phone. I always order pxs for my boys on the phone and the delivery guy never asks for their copy.

    Get well soon!

  4. I also thought the term "gripe" sounded pretty nasty. Hope you feel better.

  5. Cool! A blog from someone living in my country... I will love to read your experiences! Do you already read/speak Portuguese? If yes take a look on my blog... ;)

    Hope your get better from your "gripe" soon... And I'm REALLY sorry about what happened with your bike! =(

  6. I know! Gripe is a terrible name!

    Rach, totally ordering pxs by phone from now on. TOTALLY.

    Jim I may be calling you next time your friends go to Paruguay if by phone doesn't work hehehe.

    thanks for the well wishes guys. I'm feeling all better now!

    Thanks Luana, yes I speak and read portuguese. I'll take a look at your blog!

  7. The herbal remedies are the best.

    Propolis is great for a sore throught, but it is nasty tasting a burns. If you look you can find a honey/propolis/guaco mix that is great for sore throats and conjestion. Guaco in general is good for sinus stuff. You can make a tea out of it (which, when mixed with acucar queimado, is supposed to magically cure any "gripe").

    I have guaco and boldo trees in my back yard. Let me know if you want some leaves.

  8. Lindsey,

    If the delivery guy and Paraguay falls thru, let me know and I will ship you some great pxs from New York's Chinatown! Totally legit! We have our connections here too ;)



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