Tea for the dire rear

When I was a kid and got diarrhea, my aunt tried to give me tea as a remedy. Being a kid with a sweet tooth I was never in the world going to drink what to me was an unfamiliar bitter brew. 

As an adult with a sweet tooth, I know it works okay to put sugar in the tea. Tea, what they call black tea as opposed to green tea or herbal tea, is an age-old remedy for diarrhea. It isn’t magic, like Pepto-Bismol. The effect is milder but it does have an effect. One advantage to it is you can order it in a restaurant, where you can’t order a dose of Pepto. It’s also relatively inexpensive to keep on hand at home. 


Can’t Afford Your Prescription?

Back when I last had insurance, 2008, I took the medicine that was just right for me. Without insurance, I switched to a generic that was okay but not great. Now, ten years later, that med is available in generic form, but even then it still costs $100 a month! However, when I Googled to find out the current price I was reminded about Their site has price-reducing coupons for a variety of prescription medications at several stores. You put in your zip code and they find prices and coupons for many pharmacies near you. 

Thanks to GoodRx I was able to get the Rx that is good for me at a fraction of the market price. 

Horrendously Expensive Medications

The latest email from includes an article from a subscriber who couldn’t afford the $280 (!) co-pay on a prescription. He remembered those TV ads about how the manufacturer “may be able to help.” He called and explained his situation. They gave him a coupon for a month’s worth free. Since his was an acute condition, this was enough to get him through.

It can’t hurt to ask!


Dry mouth?

For a while there I was waking in the night with a painful pinching sensation where my mouth had dried out. I looked around for a solution and found XyliMelts tablets. One side adheres to a tooth, to prevent choking on it during the night. The tablets release a moisturizing ingredient all night long. The flavor is mild and pleasant. They are available in mint and in mint free.

Since using XyliMelt, I’ve slept all night, never waking with painful dry mouth.

My local store doesn’t carry them; I bought them on Amazon.

52 Weeks: Medical – Prescriptions

Prescription medication can be prohibitively expensive. There are several approaches to dealing with this.

First, if the cost is a problem, make sure your doctor knows this. Oftentimes there are alternatives that will work as well or almost as well, at a fraction of the cost of the first thing they thought of. If the pill is a type that can be cut in half, see if the doctor will prescribe twice the dose, with the understanding that you will take half a pill to get the dose they really want. I’ve been doing this for years. The higher dose doesn’t cost twice as much as the lower, so I save a lot of money that way.

Second, choose your pharmacy. A wonderful resource is  Put in the exact name of the medication and the prescribed dose, and they will show you the price at many drugstores near you. Sometimes there’s a coupon you can print out for a discount at one of the stores.

Be aware that many supermarket pharmacies give away some basic medications free. In my area, Publix gives away metformin (diabetes), lisinopril (high blood pressure), and seven antibiotics.

Walmart has a very long list of generic medications that cost only $4 a month, or $10 for a 90 day supply.




Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Vitreous Separation

Recently I posted about the program at Volunteer eye doctors provide no cost eye exams to eligible people who have no insurance.

Today I had a complete eye exam with a nearby provider. The exam was thorough and professional, and I got the answer to a question I’ve been asking for ten years.

I’ve had the little black thread floaters for decades. I learned to just look past them and they didn’t bother me. The thing no doctor before had been able to diagnose is the weird floaty things that seem like little snips of a jellyfish drifting by. I can’t see through them, and they interfere with close work, on the computer or reading.

This doctor could see them and knew right away that they are caused by vitreous separation. The ‘vitreous humour’ is the clear gel that fills the eye between the lens and the retina in the eyeball. It is full of tiny fibers that attach it to the retina. With age, these fibers gradually let go, allowing bits of the vitreous to float free, and block my view.

There’s no medical danger in this, unless it pulls the retina loose. If that happens I’ll see a curtain of darkness come down, and need to call the eye doctor right away. That only happens 15% of the time.

Their program is largely aimed at seniors, but they serve younger people also. If it’s been a while since you had an eye exam and you have no insurance, check it out.