Friday, February 12, 2010

things that happen to travelers

So my spouse busted out of the great white north and is off to visit her family in Wisconsin. (How funny is it that she went SOUTH to Wisconsin?)
We have been nervous about her going to the USA since she became a Canadian resident, but we made the giant leap and sent her off. In the process of getting her ready we neglected to pack a bottle of medication.
We knew that being seven days without it was not an option and so I got a hold of a phone number for a pharmacy there and spoke tot he pharmacist and explained the situation. What we needed was 7 pills. Let me insert here that these are not pain pills, not narcotics, not anything she could sell on the black market (is there a black market in Wisconsin?) and we were going to have the doctor here fax the prescription to the pharmacy there. Well the pharmacist said that they would not fill a prescription written by a Canadian doctor because he was not licensed in the USA to write prescriptions. I understand this in "theory" but "practically" it makes no sense to me. I get it that our doctor is not an American, but how is it possible to buy drugs online between countries? I don't think it was an outrageous request to ask for seven days worth of a medication. Are we the only people in the world who travel and accidentally leave medication behind? What about people who lose their luggage while traveling, has it never happened in the history of the world that someone would lose a medicine and need a temporary refill?
It really brings home to me how far apart we really are - Canada and the USA that is. I know many people think that the countries are very alike, in fact they are more different than similar. Crossing the border IS like going to a foreign country.
We managed to get everything worked out, got her in to see an American doctor who was nice enough to take her word for it (she does have all her travel documents and we could get a fax from our family doctor here) but even when she went to get the prescription filled - paying cash for it - she virtually had to sign her life away. They wanted all kinds of information about her and I have to ask - for what? All's well that ends well I suppose, but what a pain and a lesson learned.

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