Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vagina Toadstools

Thoughts for a Sunshiney Morning has something very special for you today: a guest-poster, Ivy Wilson! (Found here and here). This post involves Germany, yeast, and mushrooms. Or, as Ivy Wilson deems them, Teutonic Toadstools:

Vagina Toadstools

I’m not a great baker, but I know that bread is supposed to rise.  Now that I live in Germany and no longer have a full time job, I spend more of my day cooking that I did back in America.  When my bread dough didn’t rise, I blamed myself for getting the cheaper of the two yeast brands at the super market.  I promptly returned to the grocery store and purchased the more expensive yeast.  It was made by a well-known, high quality German brand, but it was dead too.

I consulted my most Martha Stewart of German women friends.  “Oh – the dry yeast in Germany is crap,” she said.  “Go for the fresh yeast.”  I don’t know what fresh yeast is, so I said to hell with this nonsense and baked a chicken instead.

But, there was one place that day in Germany where yeast was alive and well.  It had become itchily apparent that there was an overgrowth of yeast in my females.  I’d had a few yeast infections before, and I was well aware of the symptoms.  So – what’s the big deal – you might think.  Surely women in Germany have vaginas that occasionally get a little yeasty.  Surely they have drug stores in Germany.  Just go to one and buy a German yeast infection treatment.  Well, not so fast.  

They have drug stores in Germany, but they are places where you buy your shampoo and oven cleaner.  All prescription AND over the counter medications are doled out exclusively at the apothecary.  They handle over the counter medications very differently than they do in the US.  You can’t just go grab what you need and take it to the cashier.  You have to ask the pharmacist for it.  If you want insect repellant, you have to tell her that you want insect repellant, and then she will ask you where you are going so that she can find you the insect repellant best suited to repel the insects in that place.  If you want something for a head ache or an upset stomach, she will ask you who will be taking the medicine – is it a child, an adult, etc.  She will then spend a few minutes with you and make sure you understand the proper dosage.  When I asked for aloe vera gel for a slight skin burn obtained during one of my other cooking projects, the pharmacist gave me a little talk about how I need to run a burned hand under cold water.  I almost grabbed her face and said, “Listen, lady – I can burn my hand in North America too, you know, I am an adult and I know to run my hand under cold water, I wasn’t born yesterday and raised by wolves in a barn.”  But, girl was just doing her job.

Overall, it’s a really wonderful service.  All my American friends who work in medical professions say it sounds like a really good system, and that it probably cuts way down on accidental overdoses of over the counter medication.  Every pharmacist I’ve ever talked to has been professional, kind, and more than polite about my crappy German.  I’ve never even had to wait in line for more than a minute or two.  

Nevertheless, as I had yeast rapidly dividing in my lady business, I was not in the mood to butcher the German language as I explained to a pharmacist that I needed whatever German Monistat is.  But, as vagina neglect is not my style, and I had been using the German word for yeast (Hefe) all day, I headed off to the apothecary.  Translated into English, this is how the conversation went:

German Pharmacist:  Hello.
Me:  Hello.  I’m new in Germany, and my German isn’t very good, sorry about that.  But (whispering now) what do you have for a yeast infection?
Pharmacist:  A what?
Me:  A vaginal yeast infection
Pharmacist:  A vaginal yeast infection?
Me:  Yes (thinking – ok – come on I know those German women can use the dative case perfectly all the time, and I can't, but they must have vaginas that get a little out of whack sometimes, surely this isn’t the first you’ve heard of this.)
Pharmacist:  AH!  A vaginal mushroom infection!  No problem.

Hold the fucking phone, lady.  Are you telling me, are you really telling me, that there are German mushrooms in my vagina right now?!!  I cannot begin to tell you how unacceptable that is.  Dearest reader, I had Teutonic toadstools in my vagina!! 

 The only person I really wanted to complain to was my Grandfather.  That sounds strange, but since he was an obstetrician and a World War 2 veteran, he was always interested to learn interesting German medical terms for female phenomena.  Unfortunately for me, he picked last week as an ideal time to be dead for ten years.  

All said and done, the pharmacist spoke very slowly and clearly and made sure I understood how to use my German mushroomicide before I left.  It cost half of what an American over the counter yeast infection cure costs, and it worked fantastically.  So in my vagina, for now at least, as the Germans say, “Alles in Ordnung.” 


Anonymous said...

Do you happen to remember what exactly the product was / the name of it in German? I'll need to know what to ask for. Thanks very much!

Anonymous said...

Hi, original poster here. In Germany, you don't really ask for products by brand name, since they have a slightly different pharmacy system. Go to an Apotheke and ask the person behind the counter, "Was haben sie fuer ein Vaginale Pilzinfektion?" And they will bring you a product to take care of it. Feel better!

Easy O said...

Thanks, Ivy!

Anonymous said...

This post is hilarious! Mushrooms. Ha.