July 2nd, 2007


minor disaster narrowly avoided

On Tuesday, I went to see the new nurse practitioner at my GP's surgery for an asthma check. I obtained a new prescription, took it to the pharmacy, and exchanged it for three inhalers. This is very important in the story which is to follow.

On Wednesday, as I was packing my bag, I found myself entirely too low in spoons to estimate how many of each particular drug I should pack for a 10 day trip. (Some of my pills are once a day, some twice a day, some three times a day, some as and when required - way too many different variables to work out on not enough sleep.) So I overpacked everything - if I thought I'd need two strips of tablets, I packed three. In particular, I thought it was likely that my sodium cromoglicate nasal spray would run out halfway through the trip so threw another one into the bag, and I knew that my Flixotide inhaler was going to run out, as I take 4 puffs a day and it was reading "15". To put my mind at ease, I grabbed one of the new inhalers and packed it in my other bag, so that I'd have a Flixotide in each one in case one of the bags went missing. This is also very important to understand.

Last night I got back from the wedding and noticed the Flixotide I'd been taking was reading "3". By the time I'd actually taken it, it was down to "1". I was too exhausted and brainfried to figure out where the other inhaler was, but I told Richard to remind me I'd need it in the morning. Then I went to bed. For some reason, the room was hard to breathe in, despite it being supposedly a non-smoking room. We figured the airconditioning unit was dirty and/or blowing air from the smoking rooms into the non-smoking rooms, and opened the window instead.

This morning I woke up with my nose, ears and sinuses completely blocked, and head all foggy from not breathing properly. I spent 15 minutes clearing my nasal passages out with Olbas oil and saline and rebreathed my own exhaled air to get my carbon dioxide levels up. It was really important that I got all my allergy and asthma medication in correctly. Well, you can guess what happened. Couldn't find the new inhaler in any of the damn bags, and it's prescription-only, and I didn't even know for certain if the drug was available in Canada. Argh.

Cue the expertise of zedrikcayne's cousin Lorenzo, who is a local, who drove me first to a 24-hour pharmacy, and then to a walk-in clinic. It turned out to be the work of minutes to actually obtain a prescription for the inhaler (called Flovent in Canada) from a Canadian doctor. However, vast amounts of waiting around were necessary to get to that stage. It cost me CAN $50 for the doctor's time, and $41.06 for the inhaler, none of which I can claim back on my travel insurance, as it doesn't cover pre-existing conditions. And I was so lucky to have had access to a local with a car, because I'm not sure the hotel staff would have been able to help much at all. But we missed hanging out with nooks, annb and Henry, and caused inconvenience to geminigirl and zedrikcayne, and all kinds of inconvenience to Cayne's cousin, who was a total stranger.

I am eagerly awaiting getting home, so I can find out whether that spare inhaler is in fact sitting proudly in the middle of the living room floor, or if it did go missing in transit. Because if it's the former, I can kick myself, but if the latter, it's really not my fault.

driving on Canada Day - just say no

For future reference: Do not attempt to go anywhere by motor vehicle on Canada Day!

Today we drove from Hamilton to Niagara Falls. According to the Canadian who was driving, it should take half an hour with no traffic. He estimated that with Canada Day tourist traffic, it'd take around an hour. In fact, it took 2 hours - an hour and a half to get from Stoney Creek to the edge of Niagara, then half an hour to crawl 2 miles. Joy oh joy.

As we were already running late, Richard & I did not have time to actually "do" any of the tourist activities in Niagara. While the Rough Guide to Toronto said the Maid of the Mist boat trip is unmissable, I don't get on with boats at all. I am "famous" for my ability to feel seasick in Poole Harbour, which is as flat as a pancake, and less deep in places than I am tall. I did rather want to go on the Journey Behind The Falls (and get very wet), and we both wanted to go and look at the hydroelectric power plant, but we only really had time for dinner. Well, now I can say I have seen Niagara Falls. But it was at rather a distance.

We may try to juggle the things we had planned for the next few days of the trip and go back to Niagara on Wednesday. Have to check out the bus and train timetables. Problem is, Richard is flying out on Wednesday night, and if the traffic of today is anything to go by, we can only make the journey if we leave really early.