Note: This column appears in the 5/13 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/14 issue of the Peoria Times
Parenting is a crash course in many things. Changing diapers, feedings, understanding the bizarre brilliance of “Yo Gabba Gabba,” just to name a few. For me personally, parenting has become an important lesson in a field that wasn’t mastered even during college: drugs and pharmaceuticals.
I personally try to go to the doctor about, well…never, so my knowledge of ailments and their respective remedies is lacking indeed. Because children are, generally, a disease-ridden species, being a foster parent and now (hopefully) a parent of my very own child has afforded me the opportunity to learn many things about the wonderful world of sickness. But this newfound knowledge really just involves the basic, technical methods necessary for treatment. For example, I can draw a plastic syringe like a cowboy –- sometimes I wear them on my belt just to show off -– and I can also give a child a breathing treatment with one hand and surf the MLB channels with the other.
But when it comes to the medicine itself, or what is actually wrong with the child in question, I am oftentimes willfully ignorant. Sometimes I will ask my wife why our little one is still taking a certain medicine and she will ask me, in a frustrated manner, what was going through my head when the pediatrician was explaining everything and I was nodding intently. The answer is probably baseball, but I don’t say that.
This ignorance has manifested itself several times recently. Our little one has been battling acid reflux, and I was put in charge of refilling her prescription of Zantac. Now, last year I could not tell you the difference between Zantac and Levitra, but amazingly I somehow knew that she wasn’t taking Zantac per say, but its generic or some alternative form. My mistake however was not checking the bottle before the pharmacist got on the phone, and assuming that I needed to be exact and technical when refilling the prescription said: “Yeah, I need to fill her prescription of (just now looking at the bottle, squinting)…ran-a-tititidine. I mean, rana…titididdidi…Zantac.” My wife looked on in bewilderment and then broke out in laughter when I hung up. Also, the name of the drug is ranitidine, but in our house, to my dismay, it now goes by the name I gave it.
Just last week our little one –- surprise! –- became sick with a bad cough and my wife took her to the pediatrician. She called me on her way back and told me the doctor said she had croup. Over the phone I heard this as “trupe” and, not having any clue what that was or what she was talking about, did that thing that I like to do where I pretend I know what she’s talking about. (It should also be mentioned that I had never heard of croup either. It sounds like something that 17th century American colonists cured with boiling water and pig urine.)
When it came time for me to pick up her prescription I took it upon myself to ask the pharmacist this question: “So, is trupe contagious?” She looked at me strange, so I elaborated by spelling it out. “Ya know, t-r-u-p-e, trupe?” Amazingly, for a pharmacist, she did not know.
Because she had forgotten to ask the pediatrician this question, I thought my wife would be impressed that I had asked the pharmacist, even though she didn’t know the answer. “Wait, what did you call it?” she said.
I am no longer in charge of filling prescriptions. I can still work the syringe though. I can draw 2 mls of trupe juice, as its now called, in no time flat.
Troop knows what I'm talking about