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Author Topic: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...  (Read 3391 times)

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Offline lost_boy

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Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« on: November 01, 2012, 04:54:55 PM »
Hey all,

So I figured I would share a little story just to put the frighteners on you all, but don't worry, it ends alright... This happened to me a few weeks ago, on holiday in Spain.

Waiting in the airport car park for my boyfriend to get the hire car, I'm standing by the luggage. When he gets back, I look down, and realise my backpack that was at my feet, is missing. The suitcase and everything else is there. Cue huge surging sense of panic. Guess what - I'd packed my meds for the holiday in my hand luggage, the backpack. And now it, my passport, ipod and everything - gone!

I'd brought my meds in my hand luggage as I was worried incase the airline lost my suitcase. And also, last holiday stuff had been stolen from my check-in luggage! So I can't catch a break. Respect to the thieves though - no idea how they did it. And fortunately I still had my phone and wallet in my pocket.

Anyway, I am properly panicking, the bf doesn't quite "get" why I would be so worried. Well, obviously I can get away with missing one dose but any more than that and I'm stuffed. I'm thinking I'd need to get the next flight home or something.

I run back to the main airport terminal, find the guardia civil, who really don't give a crap, eventually find a bored policeman, who reluctantly decides to let me file a report even though he doesn't think they can identify the thieves. Which is fair enough, as in Spain people get pick pocketed all the frikkin' time, and I'm hugely cross and upset with myself for letting it happen to me. Anyway, I write down on the report all the stuff that was nicked, plus I write down "medication", and get a couple of copies of the report.

I also manage to convey in broken half-English half-Spanish to the police officer that the reason I am in such a flap is because my medication was stolen - which I say I need to take daily, for my heart (hey, it's a lie, but it got the point across that it was important). Understanding and taking pity on me, he helps find the nearest hospitals on the internet, and says he hopes they can help me out there.

Ok, so I return to the bf, we get in the hire car and drive to the city to the hospital. We walk past the Pharmacy, and I explain that I have been robbed and need Atripla - can they make that for me? Fortunately, this is a BIG city hospital, the man understands the medication brand (I wrote it on a bit of paper), but explains I need to get a doctor's prescription - obviously, but I was still a bit panicked and not thinking properly. So off we go to A&E. After a short queue, I explain to the woman at the desk that I have HIV, and showing her my police report, that my medication was stolen - she nods, and I take a ticket number, and wait to be called. The bf goes off to get a strong coffee in a nearby cafe!

Anyway, after a short wait, I get to see a doctor, I explain my predicament. She is sympathetic but explains they can only give me enough for a day, and I can keep coming back in if I need it during the holiday. I explain that we are staying an hour or two down the coast, in a small village, with no hospital - I need a week's supply, or I basically am flying home. She suggests I may just have to fly home. I begin to beg with the woman, as I have only just arrived in the country and I'll have to turn around and fly back! She says she will see what she can do, and walks off with the police form and I take a seat to wait again.

After a nervous half an hour waiting, she returns, and presents me with a week's supply of Atripla, and sternly advises (in that way doctor's do!) that I take care not to get robbed again! She wishes me well and I thank her effusively. I also almost forget to take my copy of the police report, which I'll need later to get an emergency passport...

Anyway, long story short, after a very upsetting few hours, I got some replacement meds and we were on our way properly. I have to say I was very lucky - I was in a big Western city, I got the police report I needed immediately (and though I wasn't specific in naming the medication stolen on the report, the official report itself and my panicked face seemed genuine enough when at the hospital!). I also think I am lucky as I am a UK citizen, and we have reciprocal healthcare agreements in the European Union so I could get meds in Spain. Otherwise, I suspect health insurance would have come into play. Also I was surprised I wasn't charged at all, though I am sure in some file somewhere the UK government has been billed for me needing HIV meds - so what. In the end, I actually think it was a quicker process overall than certain times when I was at home in the UK using the National Health Service!

Anyway, thinks worked out alright (though the books I wanted to read on holiday were stolen, ARGH!) but it really did make me realise my vulnerability in a way I hadn't really appreciated before. Moral of story: pack spare meds in both your checked-in luggage and carry-on luggage, in case one goes astray. I do normally do this, which is why I was so angry with myself for getting into this horrible situation! And if the worse comes to worse, get the official police report, and head to 24 hour A&E. I couldn't have got anything without the report, and I'm glad we headed to the biggest hospital first. In the end, no real harm done, and I enjoyed the holiday, but hopefully you can take something from this small misadventure. It also helps to have someone with you staying calm throughout... I did buy him a drink later! :P



Offline emeraldize

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2012, 05:32:05 PM »
I think I'll wear my meds in one of those under-the-garment cases once through security which is what I do with my passport, cash, and cards, etc. -- good warning story!!

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2012, 06:59:44 PM »

Anyway, I am properly panicking, the bf doesn't quite "get" why I would be so worried. Well, obviously I can get away with missing one dose but any more than that and I'm stuffed. I'm thinking I'd need to get the next flight home or something.

Not sure what you mean here. You're on Atripla. I'll assume you don't have multi-class resistance. So you stop meds for your vacation and miss a week, sure you may develop resistance issues but that's not a given. And anyway, resistance doesn't equal "out of options" by any stretch much less OMGIMMAGONNADIE. Now, if you had multi-class resistance and were on Fuzeon and it was your last regimen option available then yes, I'd freak out. But otherwise I wouldn't let it ruin my vacation.

However, I would call my doctor as soon as I returned and asked how he wanted me to proceed.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2012, 07:36:39 PM »
Quote
Anyway, I am properly panicking, the bf doesn't quite "get" why I would be so worried. Well, obviously I can get away with missing one dose but any more than that and I'm stuffed. I'm thinking I'd need to get the next flight home or something.

I hope you understand that the bolded part of this sentence is untrue. Please heed Miss Philicia's excellent advice.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline mecch

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2012, 07:46:26 PM »
Gee you old timers are kind of cavalier.  I think if I arrived on a one week holiday and my HAART disappeared, I wouldn't enjoy my holiday. I mean my current combo is working, why would I want to risk it by saying oh well, one week holiday and maybe I'll have to change combos, maybe I won't.  There are lots of other combos in a worst case scenario that I have to change. "But the holiday is more important..."  Not.  I would at least give it a try to replace them, as this OP did, and succeeded.

Not to brag about how good we have it in Europe. But.... This has happened to me France, 2x, and in Germany 1x. Bad accident, gone to clinic or hospital, got patched up, and no freaking bill.  FREE!!!! 

By the way, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  And the OP squeaked and got the grease he needed.  Why should we just shrug our shoulders and assume nothing is possible???  Many times, people will help a foreigner solve a crisis, if you insist politely enough. 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 08:03:25 PM by mecch »
ďFrom each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needĒ 1875 K Marx

Offline surf18

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 07:56:51 PM »
yea id be a complete freak about this too big time. good warning.
Still good advice by Miss P. Just easier said then done for some us.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2012, 08:04:25 PM »
Gee you old timers are kind of cavalier.

Cavalier? I think not. I'm actually someone who has been on "my last available regimen". I'm sorry you're so dismissive of my attempt to lessen someone's worry.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline mecch

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2012, 08:09:28 PM »
Now, if you had multi-class resistance and were on Fuzeon and it was your last regimen option available then yes, I'd freak out. But otherwise I wouldn't let it ruin my vacation.
However, I would call my doctor as soon as I returned and asked how he wanted me to proceed.

Guess I misread or misinterpreted your advice here.

Surely you are correct that there is no guarantee that a one week break is a major fuck up.  But it seemed you were saying, don't even bother trying to get replacement medicine.  Just enjoy the holiday.

ďFrom each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needĒ 1875 K Marx

Offline mitch777

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2012, 08:14:58 PM »
no harm, no fowl here.
everyone is doing their best to ... "chat in a helpful way". ;)

(let's not get our tithers in a trap now)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 08:17:53 PM by mitch777 »
31 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Offline james3000

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2012, 08:43:49 PM »
Moral of story is keep backpack on back not at feet.

Offline mecch

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2012, 08:46:26 PM »
I take double the quantity and put it in two different bags, as has been suggested.
ďFrom each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needĒ 1875 K Marx

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 08:50:18 PM »
Gee you old timers are kind of cavalier. 

That's one of the reasons we aren't in the Memorial thread yet.

This disease requires perspective.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2012, 08:54:28 PM »
But it seemed you were saying, don't even bother trying to get replacement medicine.  Just enjoy the holiday.


Depends on how you normally obtain your medication and where you go on vacation. Stop trying to make people think I'm saying something that I clearly didn't.

There's a huge difference in losing meds when you travel 100 miles for a week in NYC as opposed to going horse riding and white water rafting in the Cordillera Central of the Dominican Republic. One doesn't need to be a professor of BS to realize that.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline leatherman

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2012, 08:57:57 PM »
a week without meds vs a stolen Ipod??
I would be much more devastated by the missing books and Ipod. ;)

what a horrible experience though. I'm glad you were on the ball enough to try to find an alternative supply of meds for your trip.  ;)

moral of this story - thieves know you place your valuables in backpacks or laptop bags so keep the laptop shoulder strap on your shoulder and your backpack on your back. ;)
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline james3000

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2012, 09:15:39 PM »
The OP is from the UK

Spain and the UK are part of the European Union

Its not like he was visiting Fire Island for a few months

Offline anniebc

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2012, 09:17:21 PM »
That's one of the reasons we aren't in the Memorial thread yet.

This disease requires perspective.

I for one are glad you are still with us in "Living with", so you can be as Cavalier as you like Jonathon.

BTW I prefer this definition:

1. A gallant or chivalrous man, a gentleman.
2. A mounted soldier; a knight.

Hugs
Jan :-*
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline anniebc

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2012, 09:20:09 PM »


Its not like he was visiting Fire Island for a few months

That made me laugh, pity I had a mouthful of cake at the time.   ;)

Hugs
Jan
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Solo_LTSurvivor

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2012, 09:49:36 PM »
The OP is from the UK

Spain and the UK are part of the European Union

Its not like he was visiting Fire Island for a few months

Especially since it has been recently recommended on these forums that pozzies shouldn't visit Fire Island unless they have a six month stockpile of meds  ::)
don't equate intelligence with lack of masculinity
Jim Phelps, Mission Impossible
____________________________

Seroconverted: Early 80s
Tested & confirmed what I already knew: early 90s

Current regimen: Atripla. 
Last regimen:  Epzicom, Sustiva (since its inception with NO adverse side effects: no vivid dreams and NONE of the problems people who can't tolerate this drug may experience: color me lucky ::))
Past regimens
Fun stuff (in the past):  HAV/HBV, crypto, shingles, AIDS, PCP

Jan 2012: 818/21%
Apr 2012: 964/22%
Jul. 2012: 890/21%
Oct. 2012: 920/23%

Still UD after all these years

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2012, 10:18:16 PM »
Especially since it has been recently recommended on these forums that pozzies shouldn't visit Fire Island unless they have a six month stockpile of meds  ::)

Well girl, you know how time bends in a deep K-hole. Hey, is that fancy modernist reincarnation of the torched Pavilion still on schedule for the 2013 high season? I need to start planning an outfit.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2012, 12:05:21 AM »
I for one are glad you are still with us in "Living with", so you can be as Cavalier as you like Jonathon.

BTW I prefer this definition:

1. A gallant or chivalrous man, a gentleman.
2. A mounted soldier; a knight.

Hugs
Jan :-*

I wholeheartedly embrace definition 2/A.

Also, {{{blush}}}
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2012, 02:22:27 AM »
I know I am too naive and trusting.  This is a reminder to not be that way, especially out in public.  I've seen news reports about Spain and how bad the pick pockets are.  Someone will be a decoy and come up and ask you a question to distract you, while someone else grabs your goods.  And, most of us have our faces in our phones and not paying attention.

I am glad it all worked out okay. 

Offline frenchpat

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2012, 02:33:27 AM »
And, most of us have our faces in our phones and not paying attention.

Which then begs the question : Why bother traveling ?
People have the power - Patti Smith

Offline mecch

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2012, 04:45:39 AM »
Maybe the face is in the phone looking at grindr to find some fascinating local attractions...
Im a bit long in tooth for sexual tourism but it was fun while it lasted. Course, back in my prime we didn't have such eeeeelectronic gizmos and had to focus differently.
ďFrom each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needĒ 1875 K Marx

Offline wolfter

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2012, 02:57:34 PM »
Glad everything worked out.  When I attended AMG in Seattle, I didn't give a 2nd thought to only having my meds in my checked luggage.  Someone mentioned to me how that's not a great idea so now I'll always have double doses; one checked and one carried on.

Hope you enjoyed your vacation.

Wolfie
Complacency is the enemy.  ;)  Challenge yourself daily for maximum  return on investment.

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2012, 09:44:37 PM »
That's one of the reasons we aren't in the Memorial thread yet.

This disease requires perspective.

I like this.
THIS would make a helluva fine AMG t-shirt

I'm Not
in the Memorial Thread yet.
(nor are you it appears)

Offline elf

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2012, 07:25:13 AM »
As a rule, when you travel to places with rampant petty crime, like Spain, Brazil, Rome, Brussels...You should hide your meds in 2 or 3 different places.
Let's have a Kiki!

Offline lost_boy

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2012, 06:30:17 PM »
Hey, I agree with Miss P - I was possibly being a tad over-dramatic, as it was not like I was going to drop down dead just due to some missing pills for a day or so. But I've found it is a bit like a psychological crutch now, where if I didn't take my pills daily, I would get upset. And having no experience of building up resistance, or knowledge of how quickly or not it happens, it isn't something I wanted to take lightly. But point taken. If I was in the back of beyond and couldn't get any re-supply, up a mountain or somewhere, it still wouldn't be the end of the world and further options exist.

But still, better safe than sorry!

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2012, 06:56:03 PM »
lostboy, I thought of you yesterday when I read this and should have linked it in this thread:

from poz.com

Brief Treatment Interruptions for Cure Studies Are Safe, Well-Tolerated

A new study has shown that short treatment interruptions of antiretroviral (ARV) regimens are both safe and well-tolerated among people with HIV. This is good news for scientists pursuing functional cures because they can use such windows to study novel agents that would suppress the virus without an ARV regimen. University of Minnesota researchers presented their findings as a poster abstract at the IDWeek 2012 meeting in San Diego. They studied 14 HIV-positive people with a CD4 count above 350 and an undetectable viral load, all of whom were on stable ARV regimens. After stopping the subjectsí HIV medications, the researchers carefully monitored their CD4 counts and viral loads until HIV RNA was detectable in the blood, at which point the researchers took samples of the HIV reservoir, performed a genotyping test and then reinitiated ARVs. The average study participant took two weeks to reach a detectable viral load and another two weeks to reach full viral suppression once again. All subjects reached virologic suppression. None saw their CD4 levels change significantly; none suffered physical symptoms with the viral loadís return; and none developed drug-resistance or experienced virologic failure.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline mecch

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2012, 07:47:17 PM »
Wow that's reassuring. Today's HAART must be pretty damn good, despite all the fears and misinformation suggesting otherwise.
ďFrom each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needĒ 1875 K Marx

Offline elf

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2012, 12:23:04 PM »
The point is: one month off meds is okay, but chaotic taking (one day yes, one day or two missed dosing) is not...You either take your meds or you don/t...
Let's have a Kiki!

Offline pozinHI

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2012, 09:05:20 AM »
we all (not every single person ofcourse) got into this situation by taking chances. I for one take no chances when it comes to meds......

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2012, 02:00:42 PM »
we all (not every single person ofcourse) got into this situation by taking chances. I for one take no chances when it comes to meds......

Absolutely your choice and your call.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline newt

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2012, 12:07:05 PM »
Quote
A new study has shown that short treatment interruptions of antiretroviral (ARV) regimens are both safe and well-tolerated among people with HIV. This is good news for scientists pursuing functional cures because they can use such windows to study novel agents that would suppress the virus without an ARV regimen. University of Minnesota researchers presented their findings as a poster abstract at the IDWeek 2012 meeting in San Diego. They studied 14 HIV-positive people with a CD4 count above 350 and an undetectable viral load, all of whom were on stable ARV regimens. After stopping the subjects’ HIV medications, the researchers carefully monitored their CD4 counts and viral loads until HIV RNA was detectable in the blood... etc

The conclusion in the original paper's abstract is "Brief interruption of cART in patients with preserved CD4 count and virologic suppression is safe for the evaluation of novel therapies to test for cure of HIV. "

It's far too small a study to tell you anything new and useful about treatment in real life. To my mind, it's wrong to even take it as saying something about real life treatment.

- matt
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 12:08:37 PM by newt »
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline Perfect_Storm

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Re: Meds - stolen on holiday! A story for you all...
« Reply #33 on: November 16, 2012, 07:34:45 PM »
Ugh madrid is notorious for pickpocketers. Gotta be careful

 


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