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» Misheard and Misunderstood

There's a health centre in Edinburgh which contains two GP practices: the Green Practice, and the Blue Practice.
A pharmacist of my acquaintance had an immigrant from Glasgow in looking for his prescription, which should have been sent to the pharmacy from the health centre.

"Are you with the Green side or the Blue side?" my friend asked, in total innocence.

The weegie was apoplectic. "You don't fucking ask that question," he said. "You don't ask that question."
(Fri 29th Aug 2014, 19:51, More)

» More nice things

I tried to help, and it seemed to work for a while.
A few months back I got a message from Karen [not her real name], a former colleague I'd worked with closely for a few years. We always got on, and worked together well, and stayed in vague touch on Facebook - although we hadn't seen each other for 5 years. She's a few years older than me, and she and her husband have three kids - two of them have flown the nest, their youngest is now 16 and still at home.

The message suggested that all wasn't well, and it took a couple of days for her to blurt out what was wrong. Things had got really bad with her husband of 25 years, and she intended finally to leave him - but he'd taken away her bank cards, and she had no money and no-one else to turn to and nowhere to stay, and could I help her out?

I was a bit shocked by this appeal for help, but this was someone I got to know very well when we worked together, and who I trust completely. For all I hadn't seen her for 5 years, I still considered her a friend, and there was no way I could turn her away. I told her I'd put her up in my spare room if she needed, for as long as she needed. We made tentative arrangements for her to turn up at the weekend, because she didn't want to leave home while her husband was there.

As it turns out, my hospitality wasn't needed. She turned up at my door on the Friday and told me that she'd left home the evening before, after her husband had held her by the throat in the bathroom when she returned from a shopping trip. When she threatened to call the police, he smashed her phone against the coffee table. So she left that night, and was staying with a (female) former colleague. She thanked me for my offer of hospitality, but said that this was for the best - her husband would be suspicious and jealous if he knew she was staying with a man.

At this point she was trying to organise a new bank account, so that her wages didn't go into their joint account (she was the breadwinner of the couple for all the time I knew them). She had no money and no way to access money, so I gave her all the cash I had to hand. I tried to insist that there was no need for her to pay me back, but I knew - and I know - that she will insist on paying back every penny I gave her.

We stayed in contact for the next couple of weeks, while she got stuff organised. She was having a tough time with everything - the kids were coming to terms with their parents separating in different ways, and (understandably) they weren't finding it easy.

It was her 45th birthday two weeks after she left home, so I offered to cook her a meal and have a few drinks with her to allow her to get out of the spare room she was staying in. We watched some films and drank some wine, she slept in my spare room, and I gave her a lift back to her temporary home the next day.

It wasn't until later that she thanked me for being a "perfect gentleman", and then told me that she was attracted to me and hadn't felt like being the perfect lady.

We talked about it, she explained that she'd had the hots for me for a while. I was quite taken aback by this, because I had no idea. We'd worked together for years, but I'd never noticed any suggestion of sexual chemistry. I tried to let her down as gently as I could, and said that even if there was a mutual attraction there (which there wasn't), the time to act on it was not 2 weeks after she had left her husband of 25 years and was relying on me for help.

She accepted it well, and we agreed to keep our relationship on a "friends" basis. I put it down to emotional stress and confusion on her part, and the fact that she might misinterpret someone showing her some kindness after many years being starved of it.

I backed off a bit after that, which might have been a mistake on my part. She needed my help, but maybe I wasn't able to help as much as I could have.

She got a flat a few weeks later, and I helped her out with the deposit and helped move her stuff in. Everything seemed to be looking up: she'd got all the financial stuff sorted out, she'd been meeting up with all her kids and talking everything through, she'd got her own place. Her husband was being a complete uncooperative arsehole, but you can't have everything. I went over to her flat after she moved in, she cooked me dinner, we had some wine and we talked about everything.

A couple of weeks later, she texted me to tell me that she was sorry she hadn't been in touch but she'd had a lot going on. She'd ended up talking to her husband for three days, and then she ended up in hospital after taking an overdose. She'd lost the deposit on the flat because she'd only been there a few weeks, and was back at home (with her husband) because the doctor didn't want her to be on her own. In the same text, she said she felt she'd let me down.

I replied that the last thing she'd done was let me down - I'd let her down, because I had always thought of her as being so strong that it had never occurred to me that her situation might be so bad that she'd get to the stage of taking an overdose.

I tried to be nice to someone who came to me looking for help. I don't think I would change anything I did, even knowing what I know now, but it didn't work.
(Sat 22nd Nov 2014, 0:55, More)

» Corruption

I was best friends with Sean at school. After we left, our lives took different paths, but we still found time to catch up every so often. We'd get stoned and watch the X-Files, and talk about conspiracy theories.

Over the years, we grew apart. I gradually stopped smoking weed, but he embraced whatever drugs he could get hold of. He got more and more paranoid. In hindsight, he obviously had serious mental health issues, but I was too close to see this clearly at the time.

He became a roadie for a rock band, and started hanging around with the drummer, James. This guy James was even more out there than Sean was. It was starting to dawn on me by this time that Sean's mental health was getting worse, fuelled by the drug culture he was immersing himself in. I felt that I should be trying to help him, but didn't know how.

Anyway, Sean invited me backstage after a one of the band's gigs. I'd never seen anything so decadent. It was pretty debauched, lots of half-naked people getting wasted. Sean and James were smoking god-knows-what and talking about the New World Order. I realised pretty quickly that there was no point in trying to talk sense to them - they were off their heads, and ranting about how the corrupt, powerful elites did each other favours while shafting the rest of us.

I drifted away from them, and had a nice chat with one of James's sisters, who seemed quite normal, and was very pretty. And flirty. As the evening wore on, I was fancying my chances of getting somewhere with her.

I went to the toilet to get some condoms from the machine, and opened the door to find Sean curled over the bowl while James fucked him triumphantly up the arse.

That was my first true glimpse of Corr up Sean.
(Mon 7th Jul 2014, 22:29, More)

» Shit Holidays

I've lived in Scotland most of my life.
I've never been camping in Scotland, and I don't know anyone else from Scotland who's ever been camping in Scotland.

I'm beginning to think that tourists are fucking idiots.
(Tue 19th Aug 2014, 21:22, More)

» False Economies

Generic drugs
I'm a pharmacist in real life, and I'm going to answer this question wrong.

Whatever you think of the morality and ethics of large drug companies (clue: they don't have any), they invest massive amounts of money in developing new drugs. Most drugs never make it to the market, and quite a few of those that do are withdrawn somewhere down the line when unfortunate side-effects come to light.

To protect that substantial investment in research & development, there is an extended patent on each successful drug, so the company that developed it is the only one allowed to market it. They make the most of that by charging as much as they like for it, so they can recoup those costs and make a tidy profit before the patent expires (after 7-10 years, usually). Then any drug company can manufacture it.

An example of a drug that recently came off patent is sildenafil. Until it came off patent, any pharmacy that dispensed a NHS prescription for sildenafil was reimbursed for the branded product, Viagra. When the patent expired, generics manufacturers started making it. Because they hadn't spent decades investing in research and development and clinical trials, they could charge a hell of a lot less for it than Pfizer does, and the price the NHS pays for sildenafil was substantially reduced as a result.

So, the generic version of a drug is a lot cheaper than the branded version. The NHS likes generic versions to be prescribed, so that it costs a lot less to pay for drugs prescribed to patients. The generics are identical, and subject to the same tests and quality assurance. They're just cheaper.

Sometimes, patients insist that they have to be given the brand.

Very occasionally, there might be a clinical reason why someone needs one particular brand of their medication. Perhaps they have an adverse reaction to one of the other ingredients, or the formulation (e.g. they can't swallow one brand which comes in round tablets, but they can cope with another brand which comes in oval tablets). This, however, is true in a vanishingly small number of cases.

Usually, it's some cunt with a massively inflated sense of entitlement - who is almost invariably very well-off - who insists that they have to get a particular brand of medication because they've twigged that the other one is cheaper, and therefore doesn't work.

They're wrong.
(Wed 25th Jun 2014, 18:37, More)
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