I had been sensing some irritation in my right ear, ever since I ventured into the Port Louis Marina swimming pool with our guests on the day of their arrival, but did not concern myself with it. The pool seemed quite dirty after a number of fellow marina inhabitants plunged in during the day, without bothering to shower before, so Al outwardly showed his disgust for the swimmers and the pool. Rest of us sat at the sidelines as long as possible in the shade, which was not even cool; and went in after all, trying to keep our heads out of the water. It appears that I was not successful in protecting my ear, which is susceptible to infection.
In about a week, the irritation intensified into throbbing in the morning of our planned shopping trip. We stopped in a pharmacy next to the government operated food store at the Excel Mall. I asked the pharmacist if she could give me ear drops for my infection, but of course she would not. Instead she called Dr Michael Radix, and secured and immediate appointment, giving us directions to his office at the Grande Anse Shopping Centre. We know the place inside out, since it is across the street form Scotiabank, my bank. The centre has a fairly big grocery store as well as a pharmacy.
The four of us got into a bus from Excel, and got to the doctor’s office in less than five minutes. The waiting area was deserted; the receptionist got my personal information, and led me into the examination room almost immediately. Dr Radix turned out to be an elderly islander, very soft spoken and laid back. He motioned me to a chair beside his desk, and asked about my problem. I told him I had an air infection, and he accepted to go with that before he sat me on the examination table to look into my ears. He first checked the left one, which was fine, then the infected one. I think he had a hard time thrusting his instrument into my ear, and declared that it was very soar. It is interesting that I never feel the onset of the infection before it reaches the full-blown stage, which usually startles the doctors when they look. That happened several times in my life, when doctors immediately started reprimanding me for postponing seeking help for so long.
Anyway, Dr Radix was not a man of many words, so he just sat at his desk, and wrote a prescription, telling me that his receptionist was going to type it up. The whole experience was five minutes, and I got the prescription promptly, after paying 70.00 EC (around $25.00 dollars). Filling the prescription turned out to be much harder, due to our own incompetence. We were planning on shopping at the Spice Island Mall, where an IGA (Canadian grocery chain) is located, along with some high end clothing and art stores, a small pharmacy and a small food court.
We walked over to the mall, which is fifteen minutes on foot. While the rest of us were shopping at the IGA, I went to the pharmacy and gave the prescription. The lady at the counter brought a pair of ear plugs from the general area, and picked up the phone. After a short discussion, indicated to me that even the third item on the prescription, the ear plugs could not be provided at that location. She assured me that if we tried the Drug Mart at the roundabout, a five minute walk from the mall, through a field, we would be lucky. Al and I set out to go, asking our guests to wait for us at the gourmet with our food purchases.
We got to the Drug Mart, but had to wait at least half an hour before our order was taken, and an equal length of time for getting the antibiotics, without the other items in the list. However, the lady was kind enough to call other pharmacies, and declared to us that the one at Grande Anse had everything else. We walked back where we started, and found the pharmacy in the complex, deserted of any customers, and full of supplies. He sold us the ear drops, and the plugs made of silicone instead of plastic in no time. It would have saved us a trip and needless waiting period, if we had tried the pharmacy housed at the same complex as the doctor (da!), but we needed the exercise let’s say. Al told the pharmacist about our ordeal, and pointed out that his competition was swarming with customers, which attracted his attention. I wonder if he could do something to promote his store.
All in all, it was a pleasant experience; the professionalism of the people involved surpassed my expectations. I have to mention that Al had a similar experience, when he bought his prescription glasses at the optical store at St George’s, across the street from the Cruise Terminal. He had to wait for about a month, but it was well worth it. His glasses are multi-focus, anti-glare, feather-weight etc., etc. and cost a fortune in Canada, only a fraction of which is covered by my government insurance. Here, he paid $280.00 dollars, mostly for the fashionable frames than the lenses. Hopefully, the insurance company will pay $200.00 of it, reducing the damage!