Hay Fever Isn't a CrimeRecently, when all I wanted was to purchase a blister pack of legal decongestant, I ran up against the roadblocks the state of Georgia placed in my path. Perhaps you have found that you can take one of the many medications left on the shelves that don’t require interrogation, but I am not so lucky. Moreover, I’m not sure why I, a model citizen, must be treated like a criminal in order to gain access to a medicine I’d bought for colds and allergies for years with no hassle.
Yes, I understand that certain legislators are concerned that some people use these pills to create other illegal drugs, namely methamphetamine. But I am not procuring a hundred boxes. All I want is a twenty pack, so I, too, like the rest of my fellow Georgians, can breathe through my nose during hay fever season. Ask anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, and they’ll tell you that the pursuit of our happiness is tied directly to our sinuses.
Oddly enough, other over-the-counter drugs which cause an equal or worse amount of harm remain easily accessible and are prominently displayed from grocery to convenience store shelf. People can even throw them in their cart and buy them with the rest of their groceries. I wonder if what I’m facing isn’t just overreaction to some people abusing my favored decongestant, but perhaps discrimination against those of us with over-stimulated nasal passages. The only thing worse than throbbing, plugged sinuses during hay fever season is being made to feel like a criminal.
In order to get unplugged, I must now schlep my grocery cart and the little card with a picture of the medicine I want over to the pharmacy drop off desk. This card, by the way, sits next to the wide variety of pills that either don’t work for me or that have cough suppressants or some other ingredient I don’t need added to them. I could blithely toss a pack of these “good” pills into the cart with my milk, eggs, and a three-pack of economy-sized tissue, and, believe me, I would if they worked. Once I gain the pharmacist assistant’s attention, she glances at my card and tries to pawn another medication off on me. I then have to explain that I am certain I want the twelve hour Sudafed. I know it works. She claims XYZ will work just as well for some people. But I am not some people. I want to ask her why I should be coerced into spending money on something that probably won’t work for me when I’ve done nothing wrong. I am tempted to rant about the last decongestant they took away from me, twelve hour Tavist D, may it rest in peace, which was pulled from the market because a handful of people had strokes. But all I say in a firm tone is that I prefer the Sudafed. It doesn’t end there.
Next, she asks me if I am sure I want twenty and not ten caplets. Like I want to come back any sooner to go through this again? I want to scream, “Don’t you see the pollen outside? Don’t you know I’ve got another month of this crap to get through?” I merely say, “I need the twenty pack.” The assistant then asks for my driver’s license, which I hand her. She takes it to a desk, looks at some list which indicates perhaps who is allowed to buy this medicine and who isn’t. When she returns with my license and the clipboard I have to sign in order to receive my perfectly legal decongestant (People, we aren’t talking oxycotin here), I am compliant. I walk around to the pick-up desk about twenty feet away where I must now write a separate check for the medication. I’m not sure why but suspect our legislators are afraid that some drug addict posing as an allergy sufferer might steal the Sudafed from my grocery cart before I get to the main checkout registers; these decongestant bandits will then, perhaps, turn my twenty pills into an illegal drug. Even though I’m admittedly irritated and embarrassed, I don’t cause a fuss. After all, it’s not the pharmacist assistant’s fault that our lawmakers are forcing us into this silly dance.
What’s next I wonder? Will crafters have to show their drivers’ licenses and sign on the dotted lines to buy glue because some people sniff it to get high? Will we place cans of spray paint behind counters at the hardware store and create a spray paint registry database of known spray paint purchasers? Will this ridiculousness end soon, or will I be standing in some room of hayfever and cold sufferers saying, “Hi, I’m Maureen, and I like to breathe through my nose”?