Day and Night Pharmacy – A Fishy Throw-Up




The fishman, John, divides our clients as did the remain or leave referendum. If I stopped John from parking his van and setting up his fish stall every Tuesday and Friday morning there would be a stinky riot because the man sells splendid fish. Yet there is just about an equal number who complain about the smell that his trade brings to the otherwise friendly Day and Night atmosphere. Luckily we’ve never had anyone puke their guts out onto the ramp or our floors. The other Tuesday a lady with a weary smile hastened to plead, “It’s not me Abes, I’ve just bought some fish.” I was embarrassed; she must have read a subconscious subtle shift of my flat nose.

abel-fish-new-picThe characteristic smell of fish derives from its gut. It takes steely senses to be a fishmonger who dissects fish. To the standard human, the sight and smell of fish guts sends a text message from a special part of the brain to the vomiting centre. In response the vomiting centre shuts the airways at the throat in preparation for the expulsion of gut contents; the gut contractions slide into reverse gear, contents in the small intestines recede into the stomach and abdominal contractions squeeze out the half digested sour and stinky stuff out through the mouth. Ouch! What a mess!

There are several other triggers of nausea and vomiting (NV): The chemical trigger zone is sensitive to blood bound bug toxins and drugs (eg morphine-like chemicals). Whereas some drugs like anti-cancer medicines also directly irritate the gut which then sends angry messages to the vomiting centre. There is also the gag reflex which is best demonstrated by finger-poking the back of the throat- that gets the vomiting centre going. Messages from the spinal nerves can also spike the vomiting centre as is observed when one is involved in a car crush. And, the mother of all nausea and vomiting can be borne of the hormonal, metabolic and psychological changes in early or throughout pregnancy. Most men married to the Mrs Leadsoms of this world have vast first-hand experience of this and because of that deserve to be husbands of Prime Ministers.

Since different triggers excite the vomiting centre via different biological keyholes the medicines used to treat nausea and vomiting are designed to block specific keyholes. For instance, a medicine used to treat NV caused by blood bound toxins and drugs will not be effective at treating motion sickness. Gove could block Johnson’s entry to number 10 but was helpless against the others.

A pharmacist in a pharmacy can treat motion sickness ( the medication being best taken before onset of symptoms) and NV due to migraines. For NV of other origins, all we can do is to sell antacids and oral rehydration salts. There is a good gut anti-spasm tablet we can sell and, although the pack does not mention it, it does also help stop NV.
So, technically, if you do get sick after being hit by the fishy perfume on your way past John’s van, all we can offer you without a doctor’s prescription is a mop.

By the way, do not ask me for a motion sickness wrist band. There’s a slight difference between a pharmacist and a witch: A witch will prescribe a device or medicine without a clue of how it works…

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One Comment

  1. Another brilliant slice of East Leeds life straight from the gut of our local community!

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