Family Fun With Austrian Pharmaceuticals

Well! I’ve been buried by some of my other projects these past few days, but I’m back now to catch up on the BootsnAll #indie30 prompts that I missed. I feel especially bad about missing them, since BootsnAll featured a number of my earlier posts in their end-of-week article. I was honored and delighted. You can read the article here, on the BootsnAll site.

Okay, time to catch up:

Prompt #8: What is the worst travel experience you’ve ever had?

I haven’t been to any really dangerous areas of the world, so my bad travel experiences haven’t been extremely scary or life-threatening…but I have traveled with children.

Yes, I see the parents among you smiling ruefully and nodding your heads. Taking children overseas can be a fantastic experience–you get to introduce them to places, people, cultures, that they could never interact with at home.

World, this is my child. My child, meet the world.

You get to instill a sense of adventure in them, and a sense of confidence, too. And a sense of wonder worth more than nearly any classroom experience they will ever have.

Traveling with a five year-old can be a challenge, though. You suddenly realize that much of the world is not childproof. You have to hang onto them to keep them from falling off hotel balconies. Or mountains.

Traveling with a sick five year-old is a trial. Fever thermometers that measure temperatures in degrees Celsius…pharmacies that don’t stock familiar medicines…finding a doctor in a foreign country in the middle of the night…all typical, and all stressful when your little one is sick and listless, and you’re worried, exhausted, and trapped indoors with them for days at a time.

I waited all year for this trip; please don't throw up...please don't throw up...

I waited all year for this trip; please don’t throw up…please don’t throw up…


Traveling with a sick five year-old whom you’ve forced to swallow her medicine, which came in pill form, from the bottle with the label in German and the name of which you not only don’t recognize but can’t even pronounce, who is crying herself red in the face, and who then, seemingly out of defiance but surely out of illness, gags, leans forward, and throws up all over your host’s kitchen–this experience, though it may not involve death-defying feats, war zones, kidnappings, or explosions, is a very bad experience, nonetheless, and will leave you warning your hosts to STAY OUT of the kitchen for about an hour while you clean vomit out of their sugar bowl, and may even lead you to throw up a little bit yourself from the sight, sound, and smell of what’s going on. It may also force you to find another apotheke–drugstore–to explain the upsetting dilemma to the pharmacist (who, happily, speaks some English), and to endure further humiliation as he grudgingly re-fills the prescription for you in liquid form and hands it to you while frowning and informing you that “Here in Austria, our children can swallow pills.”

Really. It’s a very bad experience.

Even if it is slightly hilarious later on.

Image: “Das kranke Kind” (The Sick Child) François-Joseph Navez [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


4 thoughts on “Family Fun With Austrian Pharmaceuticals

  1. Well, it’s so wonderful that the host’s sugar bowl was cleaned, considering I have put sugar from that bowl into my coffee several times. So sorry, though, that part of that trip falls under the category of “worst trip experiences”…. though I understand 1001%! My worst experience was also on the way to that sugar bowl, in the Munich airport, where little Swannie (stuffed animal) was not “allowed” to go through the security machines. We ended up creating such a scene, though the workers there tried everything in their power to help (with the exception of two ever so lovely f**ks), that a concerned cop came over to ask if he needed to call an ambulance for either Julian or me, because he simply would not calm down (and it was extreme), and I had bloody scratch marks all over my face and chest area. Oh, it was a lovely experience! I have rarely, if ever, completely lost it in public like I did that day, after we finally did get to our next gate.
    One day, you and I will create our own experiences (without children) that we can look back on. I have not given up on that!!!


    • Wow, Ute, that must have been a nightmare experience! Yikes. As for my story, as you can infer, Oliver’s kitchen got some of the worst effects. And believe me, beautiful Austria was still beautiful, even with a sick little girl to worry about!)

      Yes, you will show me “your” Vienna…and we’ll drink profusely all over Western Europe…before all is said and done, that’s certain! Bussi, my friend!!


  2. Wow! An experience certainly doesn’t have to be life threatening to be bad or scary. As a new father (of a 15-month-old) who has yet to take his son out of the country (yet!), this is certainly terrifying to read. It’s bad enough when our kids get sick at home, I’m sure it’s a whole different story in a county where you don’t speak the language. We’ve had sickness experiences as grown adults that can get a little scary.

    Thanks so much for sharing and all your participation in our project – we really appreciate it and love reading your responses!



    • Yes, it was scary to have her sick overseas. The medicine situation was hard…I just wanted a prescription for amoxicillin, which I knew would break her fever and fix her up quickly…but of course, that name meant nothing in Austria. And after this incident, when we had gone on to France, we were browsing in Printemps, the department store, when I looked at her and saw that her face had turned bright red, in the shape of a raccoon’s mask…right away, I thought “allergy!” and stopped the medication anyway. (The red went away later that day, and she DID get better, so in the end it was all okay.)

      The many joys of parenting are without number. ;)

      And thank YOU, Adam…#indie30 has been so much fun!


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