Small c: drugstore embarrassments

As I prepare to go under the robot on Monday, I’ve found that the process includes drugstore embarrassments. They’ve only just begun.

It starts with Viagra. As I’ve explained, a man’s plumbing doesn’t do the two things it’s supposed to do for at least some time after the prostate is taken out. In the hope of fixing one of those functions, doctors now prescribe low-dose Viagra even before the operation.

So I had to go to the drugstore and buy the little blue pills. But I don’t need them, I wanted to announce. Medical reasons. Really.

The doctor had prescribed 10 of the little blues but the pharmacy gave me only six. That’s evidently as much whoopee as my insurance company will pay for. But this isn’t for whoopee, I told the pharmacist; it’s for cancer. No matter. I could buy the extra pills for almost $20 each. Jeesh. In my day, erections were free. No more.

A few days ago, I sucked it up and dealt with the other missing function. I went to the drugstore’s incontinence aisle – yes, it’s a market niche – and took a pack of pads and another of full-size, pull-up, absorbent underwear to find out what I’ll need. Thank goodness at least that the guy behind the counter was a guy, I thought. So I asked him. He turned around to the two women pharmacists behind the counter and said to the cuter one, in front of everyone: “Does he need the underwear?” He might as well have gotten on the mic and asked for a price check for pull-ups for the guy who’s peeing in his pants. Jeesh.

But the pharmacist was nice. “You won’t need the diapers,” she said. Good news. Except why did she have to call them diapers?

Four more days.

  • JHMcFadden

    Ha, ha! Glad I decided to read the blog tonight. Classic. Absolutely classic. I’m trying to figure out what present I should bring to you at the office tomorrow…so many ideas, so little time. Laughing with you, not at you. OK, maybe a little at you.

  • And by doing this, you help reduce the anticipatory embarrassment that makes many men not even get checked for this — good on you. Which feels somewhat self-congratulatory, since i blogged just a few minutes ago on getting your colonoscopy done, linking the already classic Dave Barry “17,000 feet of hose” column – – but the point is: it isn’t exhibitionism, it’s being a lifeguard on the edge of a hazardous beach. Sure, you can have a vain, egocentric lifeguard, but not just because they’re standing there pointing out where the riptide is. People need to hear that this kind of stuff happens,and can be lived with and even lived through.

    Again, thanks for your transparency.

  • Hmmm… When you were standing in that aisle, did you think:

    “What Would Google Do?”

  • You’re weren’t really embarassed, were you? About two female pharmacists in the store learning about your condition when you freely share so much with so many more people (women included) here? It’s brave and it’s eerily amusing.

  • Well, your post is the funny way to be serious…
    I am a pharmacyst and I am a woman, and in my career (I am retired now) I had more male customers than women.
    I always thought a woman can do better… even understanding…

  • Funny stuff (i’m ashamed to be laughing, because that could be me one day!).

  • Glad you wrote about this. I still get more email and thanks for writing about my cataract surgery than anything I’ve ever written.

    Meanwhile, wishing you the best. Visiting your blog to read some of your harrowing accounts of 9/11 — amazing writing!

  • Tansley – Addendum

    It happens to many of us, Jeff. I had to buy them, too, during my last colitis attack (the diapers…ugh…) It wasn’t my first choice, but at least I got them at a discount store where nobody asked any questions. And they later proved to be worth the investment…

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