Saturday, February 17, 2007

Plop, fizz...

In the past few years, I have taken many a heartburn remedy, ranging from chewable Tums to the little pink pills that wash right down. I had even tried an antacid gum, which tasted great and instantly relieved my heartburn...though, when I spat the gum out, my heartburn instantly came back.

Once or twice I took a second dose when the first dose didn't help...and then my stomach and esophagus "fizzed" all night, making it hard to sleep for fear of choking. Of course, that sometimes happened without any chemical help. Nothing beats waking up at 2 a.m. choking on acid reflux!

I also have headaches quite often. This used to complicate my stomach problems, because anything I took to relieve the headaches also irritated my stomach. For a while, I simply made a habit of taking my Ibuprofen with a Tagamet chaser.

Then I discovered something while reading a children's book for my review column: Alka-Seltzer can be used as a headache cure. For the young character in the book, it was obvious and natural--have a headache? Take Alka-Seltzer. For me, it was revolutionary! I did a bit of research and learned that Alka-Seltzer contains aspirin, as well as an antacid. Who knew? I don't remember the "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz" commercials saying anything about that.

It was liberating to realize I could kill headaches and heartburn with one drug, a drug I had known about all my life. I went straight to Walgreens and bought the cheap store-brand generic Alka Seltzer, pictured here, and began taking a dose whenever I felt lousy aloft or amidships.

It was miraculous! It worked better, and faster, than the expensive pills I have been washing down for years. Since I made this discovery, I haven't had one of those all-day, pain-relief-resistant headaches I used to have. Nor have I awakened at midnight with stomach fluid in my windpipe.

Then I ran low on my Walgreens Effervescent Pain Relief tablets. I looked for a similar product at the local grocery store, but all they had was the name-brand version. I shrugged, paid the full price (saving an extra stop at Walgreens), and took it home.

Boy, was I disappointed! The name-brand stuff wasn't half as good as the generic knock-off! I wouldn't believe me if I were you, so just you compare for yourself. The cheapo brand dissolves in one minute flat and works at least as well as the poky, "I can't believe I'm still waiting for it to effervesce after five minutes" stuff that costs twice as much. I've switched back. Thanks, Walgreens!

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