A Stuffed Head & 5AM Wanderings

I. Am Sick.


This is incredibly inconvenient, as had planned to attend event at Foyles this evening, but no longer feel up to it. There was also an event earlier this week that I’d been hoping to attend there, but still more body issues got in the way of that. Anyhoo, for the past week or so, my horrible propensity for violent sneezing, itching, plugged ears, and a tidal wave of mucus in the Spring and Summer has reared its ugly head.


But because my confidence in my body’s ability to deal with such things is ridiculous and excessive, I hadn’t bothered to buy medicine. Last night/this morning, I reached my breaking point. I did not sleep — I couldn’t — because my head was so full of fluids, I thought my eyes would pop out. I lay in bed miserable, cursing the lack of CVS and Walgreens in London. I think about how much I miss 24-hour pharmacies on an almost daily basis. That’s what I think I miss most about the US: being able to just get things when I want to. Some stores here are open 24 hours, but I haven’t found many. At around 5:30AM I couldn’t take it anymore (“it” = rolling around sleeplessly on a bed of used tp, the contents of my head sloshing about). So I pulled on a sweater, left on my sweatpants (b/c who’s around at 5:30AM?), and went a-rambling.

Yes, yes, this is 2015, so I checked my options online before heading out to see what (if anything) would be open. No pharamacies in my area of course. I was given the option of a 24-hour pharmacy in my online search…that I would have to take a bus, then a train to get to. No thanks. Fueled by righteous anger and a head full of snot, I tramped through the mostly empty streets of Acton. It’s so funny how early the sun comes up. I felt like I was already in the middle of my day when most people were still happily snoozing (with the help of blissfully empty sinus cavities, I might add).

It was kind of nice walking around with so few people on the street; a rare scene in such a large city. My first stop was a nearby, 24-hour “convenience” store. Ended up being inconvenient for me as they didn’t have any medication. This store sits next door to a Lloyd’s Pharmacy…that does not open until 8:30AM. I was…not happy. (Sidenote: one of the perks of being out so early is that you can mutter angrily to yourself out loud and no one will look at you like you’re wearing a tinfoil hat b/c their too busy sleeping).


I remembered there was a Tesco a walkable distance away, and hoped they would be of help as I can usually count on Tesco in times of need. Lo and behold, there it was: a tiny section of medicines for the overstuffed. I bought Benadryl, Vicks VapoRub, Kleenex, immunity fruit smoothies, 2 big bottles of water, chocolate digestive biscuits, and a bag of Jacobs Mini Cheddar crackers, all of which dangled precariously from my arms since I’d only intended to pick up the medicine and hadn’t grabbed a basket. The man at the counter raised an eyebrow at me, then smirked when one of my fruit smoothies fell out of my arms and bounced onto the counter before helping me unload the rest. As soon as I got out of the shop, I popped a pill and waited for its miraculous 15-minute kick-in time, and the subsequent 8 hours of relief advertised on the box. Turns out these meds don’t work as well (for me) as I’d hoped. Glad I bought that VapoRub (which was promptly slathered on as soon as I got home). Finally, after everything, I was able to get some sleep.


I report to you now from a nest of tissues. Doesn’t look like I’ll be making it to Foyles today 😦 Instead, I’ll finish re-reading Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and HP & The Chamber of Secrets, silently cheering every time I’m able to breathe through my nose without imploding. I’m supposed to head to Brighton tomorrow. Let’s hope my nose cooperates!


Have a good weekend, y’all πŸ™‚

5 thoughts on “A Stuffed Head & 5AM Wanderings

  1. Oh, sorry you felt so rough. I’m not absolutely sure, but I think the reason that our “chemists” are generally not 24 hour is because they have to have a qualified pharmacist on board, whereas what we call a “pharmacy” doesn’t require this. Confused yet? If we need fast, non-emergency advice, a pharmacist is as good (sometimes better) than a GP. They study for about the same length of time, and, having done only one year of pharmacology as part of my biology degree, I can tell you, they earn it. I think the reason you couldn’t get everything 24 hours is because we still have laws about Sunday trading (long story) and only our big supermarkets are open 24 hours – apart from Saturday nights and Sundays. Anyhow, hope you are feeling better now.


    • I always learn something from you πŸ™‚ The “Sunday trading laws” explain why my local Morrisons is open until 11PM Monday-Saturday, but only until 4PM Sunday. Also why the Tescos in Guildford was only open 24 hours during the week. The Tescos I went to for medicine wasn’t even a large store; it was the mini-variety attached to a gas station, which is why I’d hoped the convenience store near me would have over-the-counter drugs, but no. Ah well, I’m slowly learning how to live here!


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