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Traveling with Epilepsy: A Pharmacy in Croatia

LWWE_Croatia02My husband and I decided to do a weekend getaway to Zadar, Croatia. (Sidebar: USA people are thinking, “holy cow a weekend getaway in Croatia!” While the Euro people are thinking, “a three hour flight is way too long for a weekend getaway…” Anyways!) Part of going on vacation with epilepsy is doing the pill count thing. I’m obsessive about it because missing a single pill will ruin my trip; missing an entire day could have dire consequences. So, I always bring more meds than I need just in case a flight gets canceled, there’s a storm, or some type of zombie apocalypse and I’m never allowed to travel home again. Always prepared! Well, en route to our weekend getaway, I lost my medication. Now I’m not so prepared…

An Adventure to the Pharmacy

My relaxed vacation just turned into a pharmacy hunt. The scary thing about being in other countries is they have different regulations. In Mexico, they’d ring it right up. In the USA, you’d have to wait all day in the ER and then pay and arm and a leg. I was hoping Croatia was more like Mexico. It wasn’t…

A condescending pharmacist looked me up down, drilling me with questions. “Why do you take this medication? How long have you taken it for? When did you arrive to Croatia? Where are you from?” In the end, she rolled her eyes and stated, “How does a woman with a serious illness just go on vacation without their medication – that’s just stupid.” I was beginning to despise this woman, but remained calm and respectful.

Eventually she agreed to give us the medication with a doctors prescription, although she informed us that she didn’t know of any doctor’s offices open Saturday mornings. My doctor in Ireland was not open for a few hours but I decided to email her a copy of the prescription I had backed up on dropbox and check back that afternoon to see if that was acceptable.

Staying Positive

You may think I was freaking out but I wasn’t. In fact, it was my husband who was chattering away as his cortisol levels skyrocketed. I had decided that the worst-case scenario was that we hop a flight back to Ireland that evening. It really isn’t the end of the world. And who knows… maybe the crazy pharmacist will lighten up after her coffee.

We returned that afternoon and another man was working. He didn’t speak English so I decided to keep my story short. I told him the meds I needed and that my prescription was in the system. He sold them to me! Can you believe it!? Just like that! I ran out of there as fast as I could, afraid the mean pharma lady would cancel the transaction. 
So, I was lucky. And, I was able to enjoy an amazing weekend of swimming, hiking, and biking in Zadar. Thankfully 🙂

LWWE_Croatia04

Maureen Knorr
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I’m Maureen, and I have epilepsy. You’re probably reading this because either you have epilepsy, or you love someone that has epilepsy. Whatever sparked your curiosity, I am happy to be sharing my experiences with you. From having seizures in foreign countries to begging pharmacists that don’t speak English for medication, I can definitely say that it's been an interesting journey. Hopefully reading about my ups and downs, and my everyday and not so everyday adventures will inspire you too! Welcome to my life of living well with epilepsy!