Do I really look like a Damian?

Last week, I had to pop into the doctors’ to pick up a prescription. I don’t know about you, but I find the whole subject of medicines in Dubai a little confusing sometimes.

This might have something to do with the fact that you can walk up to a pharmacy here and buy antibiotics, while other medicines (like codeine) that can be bought without a prescription in other countries are restricted.

Anyway, I digress. Back to my prescription. I gave my name, and the receptionist started flicking through a pile of white envelopes. She pulled one out and opened it. A quizzical look passed over her face – the insurance details didn’t match up.

While it is actually against the law to sell antibiotics, most pharmacies ignore the directive. Customers can easily get hold of antibiotics over the counter, and the pharmacy makes a profit from selling them without a prescription. A dose of superbug, anyone?
While it is actually against the law to sell antibiotics, most pharmacies ignore the directive. Customers can easily get hold of antibiotics over the counter, and the pharmacy makes a profit from selling them without a prescription. A dose of superbug, anyone?
She straightened her shoulders and narrowed her eyes. “Maybe your insurance used to be Axa?” she said, pointedly.

“Erm, no,” I replied, shaking my head. She glossed over my answer, and thrust the envelope into my hand anyway.

A little voice told me to check it as I was walking out the door.

And let’s just say I’m very glad I did.

Inside was a prescription and a letter from the doctor – to someone completely not me. Someone called Damian.

I walked back into the clinic. “Excuse me,” I said politely. “The prescription – it’s not mine.”

The receptionist glanced at it. Then stared at me, the same puzzled expression on her face. I tried again. “It’s for someone called Damian.”

She kept her gaze, and with shoulders still straight and her tone easy, she said, “But the surname?” She pointed at the front of the envelope. “It’s the same? Yes.”

“Similar – but not the same. Look – I’m really not Damian.”

She eyed me suspiciously. And I shook my head again. “This is for Damian. Someone else … A man.”

Her eyebrows lifted as I forced a smile, hoping to end the unexpected standoff.

“Nope, not me.”

Finally, she was persuaded, and whipped the prescription back before returning to the pile of envelopes to find the correct one.

As I said, it can be a funny ole healthcare system sometimes.

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