I am not one to take medication unless it is absolutely necessary or unavoidable. Actually I am very lucky insomuch as it is rare that I am ill, but when I am, I AM!
Before I moved back to Dorset (pre Hubby days), I had worked for a company for over 5 years and never had a day off sick. In short succession I went down with chickenpox (I was 32) and then a bout of depression put me off work for 6 weeks.
The latter and the year following it were not a good time for me, but I had a brilliant GP and a boss who stood by me. I was on a variety of medication, all different colours and shapes, so many that if you cut me open, I would have resembled the assembly line in a Smarties factory.
Since then, I have been loath to take so much as paracetamol, and it was with great relief and pride when Hubby and I flushed all my pills down the loo (staining the porcelain in the process) on January 1st 1990 after I had weaned myself off them.
Over the past few months, I have been suffering not only with my hands and feet, but my knee, hip and back. I have tried to keep active and mobile by walking the dog and to the shops, and the locks on our trip to Stratford Upon Avon provided one of the best workouts ever.
However, things were getting worse and I had no choice but to go and see the doc.
She confirmed that I definitely have arthritis in my hands (the joints are swelling and I have trouble gripping things) and I already knew I had it in my back thanks to a couple of X-rays a few years ago.
From what I described and the way my hip and knee felt when she manipulated them, she believes that it is indeed arthritis to blame, and has arranged for me to have X-rays on both to see exactly what is going on.
I’m doing the right things though by exercising, and for pain relief I can take paracetamol or ibuprofen if I need to. I also have some pain relieving creams I can apply, but obviously these remedies are an either or, not all at the same time.
My gripe is cost though and I walked out of the shop in disgust.
I can buy 500mg paracetamol tablets in a supermarket at 19p for 16.
Likewise, I can buy 16 x 200mg ibuprofen tablets for 25p.
Please explain to me why a chemist therefore wants £5.99 for 24 or £10.49 for 48 400mg ibuprofen.
Incidentally, their charge for 16 x 200mg tablets is almost a pound!
I am not daft enough to double up on dosage (1-2 tablets up to three times a day, but no more than 6 tablets in any 24 hour period), and Ibuprofen especially is only meant to be taken in the short term.
There are also purchase restrictions for such medicines here in the UK.
The higher strength can only be obtained by asking at the pharmacy counter (higher still is prescription only), and packs of the lower ones are limited to 2 per customer, though the same customer cannot purchase 2 packs of each at the same time.