Into which orifice do I stick this?

In the UK, where I come from, medicine is something you swallow.

In Italy, you cannot leave the doctor’s surgery with a prescription in your hand before asking the immortal question,

“Into which orifice do I stick this?”


Seriously, it could be any one of them. Over the years I have been prescribed things to insert through the back door, the front door, up my nose, in my ears, drip into my eyes and stuff I had to inhale using a vaporising gadget like a hookah. I was even prescribed glass phials along with a box of syringes like turkey basters, which I had to inject into my own buttocks.

The doctor actually intended my husband to do the injecting, but his hand shook so much he injected his own thumb. Boy, was he chilled out that day! My only choice was to rotate freakishly like the little girl in The Exorcist movie and do it myself from then on.


In Italy you don’t have to go to the pharmacy for syringes because they sell them in the bathroom section of the supermarket. Since Sicilians are addicted to inconvenince, they never seem to stack them at waist height, within easy reach of arthritic old people with sciatica. Oh, no. They’re on the bottom shelf, between the Tom and Jerry toothpaste and the Peppa Pig sticky plasters, beside the one-litre bottles of pure alcohol.


picindolor peppa pig plasters

You frequently see an old biddy lurking over her shopping trolley till some hyperactive pre-schooler scampers past, at which point she accosts the kiddo and asks them to pass up a ten-pack of the 5ml syringes marketed whimsically under the brand name “Painless”.

My latest foray into the wonderful world of pushing medicine into holes about my person has been triggered by a problem which needs operating on – again. Meanwhile I have a gynecologist and a GP who want to keep my mind off the mounting anxiety by prescribing things for me to shove into every orifice I own. Painkillers have been a recurring theme.

The funny thing is that they disagree not only on what I should take, but where I should stick it. The gynecologist went for steroid suppositories, among many other things which distracted me from noticing he had sneaked those in. A few years ago, for sound reasons, I decided that my gastro-intestinal tract is strictly one-way.


I clearly (and in some cases shrilly) notified all my doctors about this. I draw the line at anything trying to violate this simple traffic regulation, so I went to my extremely sympathetic GP for an alternative with a different entry route.

It’s funny how the Italian language can make everything sound do erudite and sophisticated. He handed me a prescription for oral painkillers.

“Tell the gynecologist to shove those ones up his own arse” the GP said.

I swear in Italian it sounded as if he was reading from a medical encyclopedia.

So that’s one orifice permanently closed to visitors. Now for all the others…



12 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh my word, that sounds horrendous. To think except for those with diabetes, we in the U.K. can pretty much go from one decade to the next without ever seeing a needle, let alone inject ourselves or deal with putting medications in the end where most of ours would come out of!

    I remember reading last winter how the French have words for illnesses that we don’t even know about or at least if we have them, we’d never consider it worthy enough to go to the chemist for.

    I think if our doctors were like those in Sicily, British men would probably pay even less attention to health than we do all ready. With my flu and asthmatic chest infection I’ve had 6 different types of medicines in the last 3 weeks but despite all the suffering and coughing, I shall now count myself fortunate that not once did I have to think twice how I might take any of them.


    1. Yes, it’s all very un-British and therefore quite traumatic for me!
      Italy has all kinds of medical conditions that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, There is a kind of headache caleld a cervicale caused by being in a draught or under an air condition unit. It is also possible to have a mole on internal organs revlealed unexpectedly by an ultrasound for something else entirely, which then causes lifelong problems. Getting a chill on your kidneys in Italy can be a medical emergency. And so on. I feel another blog post coming on…

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Phil Taylor says:

    Good luck with the surgery whenever that will be. I hope all goes well and you write some funny stories about it after.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! To be honest I am hoping it wil just be boring… funny usually comes out of disasters!!! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. onomatopoeicbliss says:

    Just take the back-door-products, orally. What’s the WORST that could happen?😇


    1. Ha ha! I should have known you would come up with that idea!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cathy says:

    I’m lucky (I think? ) my sister in law is a nurse so I don’t have to do my own injections. Hope the op goes ok!


    1. Hmm, tricky one!
      It reminds me of the blind man, the deaf man and the lame man who went into the healing waters of the Magic Oasis. The blind man could see, the deaf man could hear, and the lame man had a brand new wheelchair!


  5. unwillingexpat says:

    Good on you for standing up to your doctors. I am constantly worried if I am traumatising my little boy by shoving paracetamol up his rear end. I am currently injecting my husband too. Ah the joys of medical care in Sicily 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I worried about traumatising my son too. Shoving stuff up his rear end certainly traumatised me, anyway! After a while I just used to ignore the prescriptions and buy him that syrup instead.


  6. LaCrils says:

    Fino ad oggi ero convinta che i nostri presidi sanitari fossero la “normalità”, grazie per il tuo divertentissimo punto di vista!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Secondo me, le definizione di “normalità” dipende 100% a come siamo abituati sin da piccoli!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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