Monday, February 27, 2012

Embarrassment at the Farmacia

What's " too much information" to write about? Probably this, definitely this, BUT, I'm gonna anyway. I've been holding back, I have to admit. Trying to keep some sort of decorum on this blog , this blog that I'm not the best at up keeping.

I've passed on writing about the fact that Italian toilets have a VERY low water level which affects the plop of the poop, I've passed on writing about a trip to the GYN , AND, I've passed on writing about how vafaculo is not a proper substitute for the word fuck ( which after this I may attempt). Anyone offended should probably stop reading now.

Writing about the food, the art, the scenery, easy.This not so much. Not to belittle those things, all lovely and I love reading about it all. That said, I wrote a while back that life is the same no matter where you live and therefore you deal with the same crap, it just somehow seems funnier to me dealing with normal life occurrences in a foreign country and in a foreign language. In this case more embarrassing. So I'm going to be a fearless writer and go for it.

I woke up yesterday morning with an itch, an unmistakable itch, an itch I haven't had in maybe 15 years. Some women are more prone to these things, I never have been, but I am female so I have experienced it a few times in the past as every woman has. It's a fact of life as a woman. Even so,  I thought to myself, Noooooo! Can't be! There's no reason for this! Especially no FUN reason! I ignored it, but as the day went on it was clear, YEAST INFECTION!

Omg, I can't believe I just typed that! 

I couldn't decide what was more unsettling to me, the discomfort or the discomfort of having to go to the farmacia for this. I couldn't remember the name of the creme in the US so I googled it. Monistat 7, yeah, now I remember. I wondered if they had that here. Was it on a shelf ? OR worse, was I going to have to ask the pharmacist! In Italian!  The horror!

I emailed both my friends Laura and Arlene and asked what's the stuff for such a situation called here. Laura, who I then remembered is gigging with her cello somewhere never got back, Arlene, who is a lot more adult than I am when it comes to bodily functions wrote this:

"tell them you have an infezione vaginale and they'll hook you up"

I yelled back at the computer screen "it's not a VAGINAL infection!!!! Ew! It's your run of the mill yeast infection." NO way, No freakin way! CANNOT! I cannot walk into my farmacia where I have gone before for a cold sore only to have them say aloud HERPES, with me in English saying, NO! No herpes!! Cold sore, from the cold weather!!, and ask per qualcosa per infezione vaginale! I'd rather eat 5 gallons of yogurt ( which I hate).

Here's the thing, Italians are very matter of fact about all things body, no matter how embarrassing it may be to this American 14 year old stuck in a woman's body. I tried to keep that in mind as I walked the 2 blocks to my farmacia. You would think I was going to a job interview or taking a driving test for the first time my heart was beating so fast. I was sooo nervous and hoping there wasn't any other people in there. No such luck, the place was packed and I could feel my face turn purple.

Now at this farmacia there is an old woman who speaks no English and her husband who speaks pretty good English. So it's the man I now have to ask for something for my vagina. It's all so poetic.

It's my turn , I approach the counter, but the guy is busy so the old woman with the 8" high bun on the top of her head held in place by no less than 158 bobby pins, that stands about 4' tall ( probably the reason for the bun) asks if she can help me. I ask in Italian for a pen, I say I don't know how to say it in Italian. I write one word and one number, MONISTAT 7. I hand her the paper and ask do you have this? She looks at the paper, has no idea what it is, I knew she wouldn't but thought I'd take a shot, and then asks," What's it for?" OH NO! That's the question I was dreading.

UM, what's it for? What's it for? There was no way the words infezione vaginale were going to come out of my mouth. I tried, my mouth wouldn't say it. Immature? YES! ABSOLUTELY, in this case. Just couldn't do it. I just shook my head and as I did she handed the paper to her husband who promptly got on the computer to find out what Monistat 7 was. He found it, I could tell. Then he lifted his head and asked aloud for all the patrons to hear per infezione vaginale? There ya go! No escape, HORRIFIED!

He explained they didn't have that but something else. The woman says AHHH, ok! They look in the drawers where they keep the meds and shows me a box. He says it is not a creme but a pill. I'm thinking great! No muss , no fuss, pop a pill a few times, done. EXCEPT, when I ask how many times a day do I take it he says," NO, not for the mouth". Not for the mouth? For the ????? OHHHHHH!! NOOOOO! Why Why Why? This is what I am thinking as the 70 year old Italian man is making the charades motion of sticking the pill up one's va-jay-jay.

Yes, This is how I spent my morning. In fact ,they have a creme, they were out of it ( so I guess I'm not alone) but could have it at 4:00 pm. The worst part is, now, I have to go back. At least this afternoon I can quietly hand him the piece of paper that says something in Latin that I can't read and hope he just quietly hands me the package back and that no one reading this is at the farmacia :)


  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! So sorry, but I am on the floor laughing! I had a similar experience in have no clue what women go through! :)

  2. Too friggin funny Andrea, I would've loved to have been there when the pharmacist had to tell you where the pill would go! You just made my day with the biggest laugh.......

  3. OMG ... hil-ar-i-ous!! Not laughing at the predicament you were in, of course, but the way in which you've relayed your experience. Your descriptives are a hoot ("Italian toilets have a VERY low water level which affects the plop of the poop"); you crack me up! Life in Italy may be embarrassing at times, but it sure makes for great stories. Keep 'em coming!

  4. HAHa! Thanks you guys, yeah just as embarrassing to write about it but I thought people, especially anyone who knows me would get a laugh.... so, happy I brought a giggle to your day! :)

  5. Ha ha ha!! This is hysterical!!!! I TOTALLY understand! Mamma, the woman with the 158 bobby pins - DYING LAUGHING. so so so true! Next time, write this down and take it to him - no parole to speak! "Cleocin".

  6. LOL, probably should of asked you first !!!!! :)

  7. Andrea,
    Just discoverd your blog last entertainment...enjoying all the stories of your life in Italy.

  8. The things we learn ... lol