Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How I Became Addicted to Tums

As a child I had a sensitive stomach.

By 16 my medical doctor prescribed Maalox for my budding duodenal ulcer and recommended that I drink milk to coat my stomach.

My heartburn and gut pain continued and so did my multi-time per day use of antacids. I’ve lost track now, but somewhere between 16 and 40 I transitioned from Maalox to Tums. Maybe because I learned that one of the active ingredients in Maalox was aluminum hydroxide.

By age 35 it had become clear to me that all dairy products, including the milk that my medical doctor had recommended, were causing me gut pain and intestinal gas. I stopped all; completely. At the same time I realized that food from most all restaurants caused me digestive distress. Stopped that too; completely. My gut problems lessened.

When the year of my 40th birthday rolled around, having removed offending foods from my diet and begun taking digestive enzymes with my meals, my tummy was feeling so good that I cold-turkeyed the Tums on April Fools’ Day 1991. I sensed there was something auspicious about the occasion, and fortunately kept my half-full, last bottle of Tums for posterity and the educational value.

I write this history on April Fools’ Day 2015. Twenty-four years now without a single antacid after 24 years of daily use. No joke!

Morals: Listen. Think. Understand causes. Understand systems. Don’t cover problems with drugs.