Have woken with an itch in one of those places you are not meant to scratch. Also have a rather unpleasant ricotta cheese discharge coming from one of those places you are not supposed to mention. I need treatment. At least I don’t have to sit for an extended period of time in a plastic chair in an over-crowded reception, waiting to see a doctor. Thanks to progress it’s just a matter of heading straight to the local pharmacy and picking from the shelf the exact treatment I need.
I’ll just get dressed.
I was in the pharmacy by five past nine. I walked up one aisle, then down another, and then up the next, and then searched along all the walls but couldn’t find the cure. Surely it’s not…behind the counter? My eyes scanned along the back wall of the dispensary and to my disappointment that’s where I saw exactly what I needed. Could I snatch it without them noticing? Not a chance. I’m going to have to ask for help. Why do they make things so hard? I saw a lonely and isolated space at the end of the long dispensary so I waited there for the pharmacist to catch my eye. He was a bit slow to respond (should have worn a stronger perfume) so before his gaze met mine I was joined by a group of male golfers. What on earth do they want? Couldn’t they stand somewhere else? I’ll go and stand somewhere else. Opportunity denied because somehow the pharmacist chose this moment to notice me.
‘Can I help you?’ he asked.
I sensed the golfers turn towards me. It’s just going to be one of those days. Perhaps they’re naive and won’t understand what it is I’m asking for. ‘Oh yes, can I just get some Caneston cream,’ I asked quietly.
He wants this moment to last. ‘Is it for you?’ he enquired.
‘Yes,’ I replied.
‘Is this oral or vaginal?’ he continued slowly and with deliberate emphasis on the words ‘oral’ and ‘vaginal’. He is enjoying this. This small insignificant man elevated above me on his carpeted box. I’m getting the idea by the lessening of conversation between the golfers that they are now well informed of my affliction. ‘Vaginal,’ I say through gritted teeth.
‘Have you had it before?’ he continued.
What does that have to do with the treatment? ‘Yes,’ I replied, as I looked at my watch hoping he’d understand I have somewhere urgent I need to be.
‘When was the last time you had it?’ he continued. Can somebody please come and serve the golfers.
‘What, oh, I don’t know, maybe three years ago,’ I answered quickly hoping to imply I’d had enough of the questions.
‘So this isn’t something that’s recurring?’ he enquired. There was no stopping him; he was on a mission. ‘No’, I answered coldly. And he gave a smirk like he was very satisfied and began his discourse.
‘In treating thrush there are a number of choices. There is a one day treatment where you insert the cream for one night or a five day treatment where you insert the cream every night for five nights,’ he advised, thinking he was being so helpful and telling me things I didn’t already know. He must think I’m an idiot to need such basic information broken down into such simple terms.
‘I’ll just get the five day treatment,’ I answered. Dear God, please make him walk to the shelf, grab the product and hand it to me.
‘The tube that is supplied contains enough cream to treat the vagina for the five nights but some women also complain of itching and discomfort in and around the areas outside of the vagina. There is a product where you get extra cream to smear around the areas outside of the vagina that are also itching if needed. And leaning towards me he asked intently as he looked me in the eye, ‘Do you think you will need the extra cream?’
He’s really enjoying himself. It’s the high school nerd, who, despite auditioning was never given a role in the school musical, so finally he’s having his moment on stage and, an audience.
‘I’ll take the one with the extra cream,’ I mumbled.
He gave a satisfied smile as he turned and casually strolled to the section for vaginal thrush. He put the large and brightly illuminated box in his hands and walked back towards me. He’d better not wave that around in the air. I quickly grabbed it.
‘Thank you,’ I said as I turned away without making eye contact. ‘Thank you’? Why did I say, ‘thank you’? I heard him turn to the golfers who now had plenty to discuss on the course.
‘Oh mate, can I get some Ventolin?’ Ventolin. That’s all they were after. That pharmacist must be so disappointed.
Finally, I was at the counter. A tiny little thing that looked no older than Arabella served me. I gave her the money and she handed me my change. ‘Would you like a bag?’ she asked. Would I like a bag? I was standing there with just a wallet and keys. Where did she think I was going to put that massive box of five-night cream for insertion inside the vagina with extra cream for the outer itchy parts? Did she think I was going to walk around the local shops with the well-signposted box in my bare hands? That pharmacist must have trained her. ‘I’d prefer a bag,’ I uttered feeling totally defeated.
As I emerged from the pharmacy, with no dignity intact, I reminisced about the good old days when treatment for thrush involved waiting your turn in a plastic chair to see a doctor you could talk to privately behind a closed door who then handed you a prescription forcing the pharmacist to silence. Back then we had it oh so good.
And ricotta cheese is definitely off the menu.
But then again, I did promise Carl a mini lamb roast with his favourite seasoning. I will put my own issues behind me, cook his often requested meal, but serve with the lights dimmed. One needs no reminders of the days events.
Mini-Roast Lamb with Spinach, Ricotta and Macadamia Nuts
Served with Baby Asparagus and Potato Chips
Degree of difficulty: 3/5
1 500gm lamb mini roast (I used topside)
150gms ricotta cheese
1 tsp gnd lemon myrtle leaf (available from selected delis) *
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
handful baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup light red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
1/2 cup beef stock
500gms desiree or pontiac potatoes, peeled
2 bunches baby asparagus
Heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Cut a deep pocket in the lamb (or ask your butcher to do this for you). In a small bowl mix the ricotta, crushed garlic, lemon myrtle powder and macadamia nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff the pocket with the mixture, then push in the spinach leaves. Secure opening with a skewer. Pour over 1 tablespoon of olive oil and coat the lamb. Season. Heat a frying pan to high. Sear the lamb until well browned, remove from the frying pan and place on a roasting tray. Cook for 30 mins. Remove from oven. Remove lamb from roasting dish, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 mins. Place the roasting dish on the stove over high heat and heat the pan juices. Add the red wine and bring to the boil. Add the beef stock and reduce until slightly thickened.
For the Potatoes:
Thinly slice the potatoes. Place in a baking tray and and toss in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season. Place in the oven for 40 minutes turning frequently.
For the Asparagus:
Snap off the woody ends from the asparagus and rinse well. Bring a saucepan to the boil with an inch of water in it. Add half a tspn of salt to the water. When boiling, add asparagus and steam with the lid on for no more than 30 seconds. Drain and toss in a little butter (if desired) – it adds a nice gloss!
* If you’re having trouble finding ground lemon myrtle leaf, contact Herbies