Monday, October 5, 2009

Contentious D

I have nasty allergies, and more often than not, the only thing that prevents me from contracting a hellacious sinus infection is a decongestant. I can buy Zyrtec and Zyrtec D without a prescription now, but if I want the D, I have to sign my life away because it contains pseudoephedrine.

This involves waiting in line at the pharmacy and giving the clerk my driver's license. They write down a number of things from my license and log them in a database somewhere, then I have to sign several documents. I'm not sure why I'm signing these documents, I assume it's something to do with swearing I'm not going to make meth.

However, I've managed to catch a nasty head/chest cold, and I'm taking Tylenol Cold and Robitussin Cough. Neither of these formulations contain pseudoephedrine. Yet, today when I stopped in Target to pick up more Tylenol cold medicine – which is NOT behind the counter, and does NOT require me to provide six forms of ID – the checkout clerk asked me for my driver's license:

“I need your driver's license, ma'am.” the clerk asked.

“Whaaa?” I was in a bit of a fugue from being ill.

“Your driver's license. You're purchasing cold medicine.” she said.

I stared at her for a moment and opened my mouth to argue. This cold medicine doesn't contain pseudoephedrine. Why are you busting my balls? But I handed it over anyway, and she swiped my license. I was simply too tired and sick to give good argument. Besides, I wouldn't have enjoyed it.

Afterwards, the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I became. Have you heard about the grandmother in Indiana that was arrested for purchasing Mucinex and Zyrtec within a week period?

Tylenol cold medicine contains phenylephine, which is just the craptastic replacement for real decongestant. To my knowledge, there is no restriction on purchasing this stuff. What does that mean then? Now that the cold medicine Nazi swiped me for Tylenol, am I on the record for having purchased decongestant this week, and therefore have to wait another week before getting any Zyrtec D, if I need it?

Maybe, but most likely not. That's really not the point though, is it? Either she screwed up and didn't need my license for Tylenol, or now some stores are tracking all decongestants, and we're degenerating into even more of a nanny state.

Ugh. My head is pounding, my throat feels like I swallowed glass shards, and, oh great! I just sneezed out “The Thing From Outer Space”. Now I need a shower. And a nap.