Aspirin for $1 a Pill in Brazil

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I am eating a lot of pills right now. I could be taking more, but I’m kind of administering them selectively. Most the time it is working, but when I’m off, I’m really off and I pay the price.

I’ve never been big on taking pills, but this is a completely different scenario than I’ve been involved in before. You need to take pills to kill the pain. And then you have to take pills that counter the side effects of the other pills. I feel like Richard Virenque who after denying taking anything in the Festina Affair, admitted under oath he took something like 1000 injects that year. That seemed like a huge number to me. And now, after the surgery, I have a huge number of pill bottles laying around here.

I’ve only recently started understanding how many different medicines that are prescribed here in the United States. It is unreal. But, that isn’t what this post is about. It’s about trying to get common medicine, at least for us, in other countries.

I went down to Brazil to race a Specialized Catus Cup back in the late 90’s. I took Trudi with me and Todd Tanner, then a downhill rider, went too.

A couple days before the race, we went out to the jungle outside of Sao Paulo to do a photo shoot with a Brazilian MTB magazine. When we got done with the shoot, we were driving on a dirt road and came upon a woman that was walking by herself. We had this translator with us, his name was Arturo. He was was a strange dude, sort of a modern day Renaissance guy. He told the driver to stop and asked the woman if she wanted a ride into the city, which was a few miles away. She said yes instantly.

She got into the car and Arturo asked her what she was doing. She said that she was walking into this very small village to get some Aspirin for her sick kid. The child had a fever for the previous 3 days. This was all in Portuguese, so I had no idea what they were talking about. Arturo out of the blue asked me if I had any aspirin with me. I had my toilet kit and happened to have a medium size ( for the US) bottle of aspirin. He told the driver to stop driving and we went back to my bag and got the aspirin. It was a bottle of 250 or so I’d probably bought at Walgreens for 2 dollars.

Arturo said she would like to buy 10 from me and offered me 10 Brazilian Real, which was just about one to one back then. I thought, what is she talking about. Everything was much cheaper in Brazil then. I told her that I would just give her the aspirin. After thinking about it for a second, I took 10 aspirin out of the bottle to keep and gave her the rest of the bottle.

That is when it started getting weird. She said that she absolutely would not take the bottle of aspirin. I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was adamant about it. I told Arturo to explain to her that these pills were very inexpensive in the United States and that I really didn’t want to fly back with them. He explained, but it was no use.

I can’t remember exactly how it turned out, but she paid me money for some aspirin. I think I maybe convinced her to take a handful and she gave me the 10 R$. The was nothing I could do to not except the money.

I’ve thought about this woman and the encounter lots over the years. I sort of understand it, but probably will never completely understand all the reasons that this woman was too proud to except free medicine from a stranger. And, I’ll never understand why these important pills/medicine, was so expensive for a poor Brazilian woman. Out of all the experiences I had on that trip, this stands out most.

Here are the masses of pills I'm supposed to be taking.  A lot start with oxy, which I can't complain about one bit.

Here are the masses of pills I’m supposed to be taking. A lot start with oxy, which I can’t complain about one bit.

This is how ragged I look, and feel, after consuming most of the pills above.

This is how ragged I look, and feel, after consuming most of the pills above.

This is Brooke, my physical therapist at the Steadman Clinic.  She's really great and super gentle.

This is Brooke, my physical therapist at the Steadman Clinic. She’s really great and super gentle.

I left the hospital with prescription for aspirin.  I've been taking the 81 mg ones ever since I got that blood clot in my leg from crashing last April.  I wasn't positive that they sold the 325mg over the counter still after seeing this.  They do.

I left the hospital with prescription for aspirin. I’ve been taking the 81 mg ones ever since I got that blood clot in my leg from crashing last April. I wasn’t positive that they sold the 325mg over the counter still after seeing this. They do.

I think that this is the tendon that he got cinched back on.

I think that this is the tendon that he got cinched back on.

Here is the finished product.  There are some anchors screwed into the Humerus, holding the sutures in place.

Here is the finished product. There are some anchors screwed into the Humerus, holding the sutures in place.

7 thoughts on “Aspirin for $1 a Pill in Brazil

  1. Mark

    I remember racing a cactus cup in Galina Il early 90s at a ski hill on the mississippi. I had crashed really hard the day before on the down hill under the chair lift,face plant put tooth through my lip. In the xc I was feeling like shit not really racing . I think it was Gene Oberpriller who lapped me right before the finish line then you Steve came by and gave me a piece of that shoulder of yours,I think you we’re pissed to be 2nd. Hope you heal and win chequmegon again.

     
  2. Bernd Faust

    Steve to save energy do not shave your facial hair for the entire recovery program. It will match the hair on your head and you may be able to play Santa Claus this coming Christmas Season…something to look forwadr too……

     
  3. Dave

    Hi Steve,
    I just had lung surgery on Monday…fighting the big C. I just went through the constipation phase after the pain meds (oxy… here too) and it wasn’t fun. Hopefully one of those bottles in the photo is stool softener.

    Thinking about you and wishing you the best in your recovery. I hope we’re both back on the bike as soon as possible.
    –David

     
  4. Martin

    Be careful with the shoulder, even in therapy. You don’t want to pull that repair loose !
    There is a reason many surgeons are very conservative with rehab post -op.

     

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