Universal Medications

This week has been fairly gruelling health-wise. It’s amazing how something small like an accidental bite to the inner lip can result in a canker sore so painful I have to literally go home after work and sleep. It’s hard to eat, drink, talk, laugh. Sometimes it’s just painful to sit and do nothing. Seems like the “injury” is located at a kind of nerve centre, so the pain shoots up through my jaw and into my ears. GREAT times.

This is just a short entry to showcase the absolute absurdity or universal greatness (depending on how you look at it) that is Medicine in Latvia.

I’ve received recommendations from almost everyone as to what I should do/administer/not do regarding this canker sore. I am not allowed to drink juice, eat fruits, or spicy, hard or abrasive foods. Basically, anything with real flavour is off limits. If you know me, you know how miserable this has made me the past five days.

After realising that obsessively applying a numbing agent meant for teething children (the alcohol in the ingredients may actually be doing more harm than good), I have turned to other remedies. Baking soda, salt water, black tea bags, hydrogen peroxide. Ouch, blech, ouch and nothing.

After my numerous “consultations”, I have decided that doing nothing that will make the canker sore hurt will be the best course of action. I understand that it may take the sore a full two weeks to heal, but COME ON. I can’t do this that much longer.

Now I’m down to using something called “Faringo Spray”, which is basically a mixture of seabuckthorn and calendula oils. Faringo Spray is first and foremost intended to be used as a throat spray for sore or infected throats, but per instruction leaflet extends to uses related to general infections of the mouth and (here comes the absurd/great part) is even listed as being good for outer injuries such as cuts, burns and rashes.

I understand that natural oils have many purposes, but I can’t get over the fact that the spectrum of things this medicine is supposed to heal is SO WIDE. And random. Burns? Seriously.

This morning I stopped off at the pharmacy before work and picked up something called “Kanistad N”, which is usually recommended for people with dental prosthetics to heal mouth sores and irritations. According to my relatives AND the lady at the pharmacy, this stuff is supposed to be ace. I read something online about a kind of paste or liquid meant to heal mouth sores that turns your teeth blue — so I’m glad I wasn’t recommended this stuff.

Another thing recommended (and heeded) was to take Ibuprofen. Since my “big stash” is at work, I picked up a smaller pack for a whopping LVL 0.25 (that’s USD 0.50). I was about to buy more, but this Latvian Ibuprofen has an expiry date in March. MARCH. This medicine will be good for the next MONTH, at best. Which leads me to wonder — what the crap is in this stuff that renders it useless in such a short amount of time?

My grandmother recommended that I simply chew or suck on Tums tablets (many websites recommend swishing Malox around your mouth for a few minutes) to neutralise the pH level in my mouth. I ate my last calcium-fortified Tums tablet over four months ago, but had a pack of Gas-X chewable tablets my mother had sent me. I will say this once: GAS-X IS NOT THE SAME AS TUMS. Oh, God, is it ever not the same. That was a burning, unholy mistake I will never, ever make again.

Other simple at-home remedies include drinking chamomile tea. Which I’m not a huge fan of doing, but let me tell you, was I EVER chilled out last night. Whoa, man. Whoa.

Next time I will write about the whole repatriation business. So until then I’m going to keep trying to nurse my poor mouth back to health with these Latvian wonder-meds.

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