The following is personal, but I don’t mind sharing it with any who might be a companion with the aging process. It has to do with heartburn. That is what I heard acid reflux called when I was down on the farm. (In fact, owning to my provincial background, I first thought it was, “acid reflex.”)

Back to heartburn, which was a condition that I always associated with old people. At that time, I was cocksure that I would never become a senior citizen. The calendar has proven me wrong. Occasional heartburn has now evolved into full blown acid reflux.

Part of this condition which can take the fun out of life is that red wine and my system are no longer compatible. However, Black Bush, a very fine Irish whiskey, is. While I emerged from a tee-totaling environment, I find no fault with those who enjoy a libation which livens conversation. I certainly don’t think it is sinful. It is disconcerting when some guy gets a snoot full and abuses his wife. I hate that and wish for such abusers an assignment in hell, repairing hinges with their bare hands.

I hate it more when a guy, D. U. I., runs a stop sign and injures some innocent person(s), but that is not Detroit’s fault, and I believe that the distilleries certainly don’t want their product to be consumed to the extent that life and limb and innocent children are threatened. So, this is about my own cocoon which has no connection with any of the aforementioned.

According to cursory research of the Internet, there are eight bad foods that can trigger acute acid reflux conditions.

Fried food which means no more fried chicken which I grew up on.

Coffee. How do I get my heart to beating early in the morning without a couple of cups of coffee?

Tomatoes. When I order salad at any restaurant, I always say, “Make sure there are no onions.” Now I guess there is a need for an addendum, “No onions and no tomatoes.” However, I don’t care what anybody says—when fresh tomatoes come in, I am going to enjoy a tomato sandwich with mayonnaise spread generously on white bread and ample salt on the tomato—topped off with a diet coke.

That brings about the next “no-no” on the acid reflux list. Carbonated drinks are out.

And so are hot and spicy foods. No problem in my case. I get heartburn when I see a Tabasco bottle in a magazine ad.

Red meat should be avoided. Instead of a thick juicy steak, order fish. That is my preference anyway. Flounder, trout, sea bass, salmon or lobster. But, I’m not about to give up my Bubba Burgers.

Milk is bad, but I’m okay there. Except for a couple of shots of “Half and Half” for my coffee, I don’t deal in dairy products for the most part.

And last, but not least and this is what got us started. Alcohol, especially red wine is problematic—if you want to avoid heartburn.

I can no longer settle in Bordeaux and drink a whole bottle of wine for lunch as I used to do. This suggests that I can’t have a couple of glasses of pinot noir at home with my evening meal.

Actually, I have come upon two things that are helping me solve the problem. First and foremost, there is a pill that makes a difference. When you take it it brings about an even greater impact.

Nexium taken early in the morning is the way to go. A hospital visit caused one of those nurses-filling-out-a-chart-which-asked-for-a-list-of-pills-being-taken. One was Prevacid. Dr. David Sailors, one of Georgia’s team doctors, suggested that I try Nexium. Made a big difference. Then I heard a friend, John Addison, say he took Nexium, but in the morning.

I tried the morning routine and what an eye-opener that was. Nexium in the morning allowed Black Bush in the evening to bring about relaxation when reading a good book or engaging the keyboard of the computer.

To be honest, I still cheat as noted above, but I feel that things are under control. If I cheat too much, I pay for it, so my life is the best it has been in a while. I’m eating well, I’m sleeping better, and I feel more productive.

Sometimes I don’t give a flip. I eat a big juicy steak and drink a half bottle of Pino Noir, especially if I am in a vacation setting. I count on Nexium to get me through the night without discomfort. So far, it always gets a thumbs up salute.

Loran Smith is a UGA announcer and a columnist for Mainstreet Newspapers.

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