Thursday, May 01, 2008

Apteka (pharmacy)

Wednesday is skidky (sale) day at our local pharmacy. We receive a 12 % discount on everything we purchase. Tom usually goes over to the pharmacy each Wednesday to pick up whatever we happen to need. This week he tried to purchase a muscle relaxer prescribed by our doctor for me. They didn’t have the one I needed. Tom came home and told me that they tried to find it but no such luck.

I got out our Russian book of medications and looked for a different one. I wrote down exactly what I needed it for, my symptoms and the names of three possible medications that should be available here. The young pharmacist patiently listened to everything I said and then took my list behind the counter with her to see what she could find. The older pharmacist/manager saw me waiting and said she would be right over. Armed with my list and my description of my symptoms they found an alternative medication for me.

The manager had the younger pharmacist read to me from the paperwork that comes with the medication… what it was for, what the side affects are and who should not take the medication and so on. It was funny because the manager would say “now read her this!” and “this is important for her to know too”. Because of all the reading I had done before going to the pharmacy and the new words I had looked up in my research I understood all of what was being read to me. She did a great job of reading clearly and slowly. Her final piece of advice to me was to receive a round of massages to help ease my pain. She told me "no less than five massages would do!"

Once they were assured that I understood what I was buying I was allowed to purchase it. I came home and looked it up in English on the internet and confirmed that it is indeed a muscle relaxer and is recommended by doctors for treatment of Fibromyalgia.

I know that sometimes, okay maybe often, even Russians complain about the nonexistence of customer service here in Russia. But, we have yet to encounter that at this pharmacy. Because of Spencer’s juvenile glaucoma, my fibromyalgia and Tom’s medical needs we have had many interactions with the pharmacists in this particular pharmacy.

They go out of their way to help us each time we walk in. If they don’t have what we need they will often order it for us… especially if it is one of Spencer’s glaucoma meds. We have been told by our Russian friends that this pharmacy is too expensive and that we should not shop there. The muscle relaxer I bought yesterday was only 9 dollars. I am sure that for some of our friends that is expensive. We will however, continue to be loyal to this store because they are so kind and loyal to us!

And yes, I have already had my first massage therapy session (the cost is only a few dollars per hour) beginning on Wednesday. Arina is one of our teachers at the language school, and she also works as a massage therapist to help supplement her income. She was actually a massage therapist before she began studying to become a teacher. She will come everyday until Monday even though this is a holiday weekend to complete the five sessions. Already I feel so much better!


  1. Oh, the wonders of customer service. Sometimes, it's better to pay a little extra for good customer service, especially when you HAVE to deal with the people at the store. I hope that the massages help you feel a little better.

  2. Wonderful! And how great to find a massage thereapist you know and trust.