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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Extra Bucks...

Explaining Extra Bucks

It seems the older I become, the fewer exciting things there are to write about and the more doctor visits I have to go to. Pitiful when the most exciting thing in your life is the doctor you last went to see.

As those of you who read my column on a regular basis know, I have seasonal allergies and the congestion and sneezing that go with it. It's not something that people die of, only something that can make you so miserable you can wish you were dead.

I received one of those periodic reminders from the doctor that said it was time for my annual check-up. Nothing had changed; I was no better or worse. But doctors have to make a living too, I suppose, so I called for my appointment.

It was close to Christmas, and the office was nearly empty. Who wants to go to the doctor when there are so many other things to do and so much traffic to fight doing them? But, at least he wouldn't be in a hurry, I thought.

He was especially spiffy for a doctor, sporting a Christmas bowtie along with the usual white jacket. He was rather proud of his tie. "Merry Christmas," he said, telling me his wife had invested in several new Christmas ties for him. Apparently, it doesn't take much to make a boring doctor happy.

He is somewhat of a nerd, but there are not that many allergy specialists around and he came highly recommended. I suppose you wouldn't want a jock for a doctor anyhow.

He asked the usual questions and said that I had the usual symptoms, which I already knew before I paid him to tell me.

Since my last visit, a popular allergy medicine called Alegra went over-the-counter. I hate it when things go over the counter as that means insurance will no longer pay and the price of the medicine is usually more than the co-pay was.

"Are you doing okay with buying Allegra over the counter?" the doctor asked. Some patients have difficulty affording high-priced meds and end up not taking them.

I was forced to tell the doctor about the way I procure Allegra for nearly nothing with extra bucks. My pharmacy has an incentive whereby they refund a small percentage of the amount you spend. They call this refund "extra bucks."

How do you explain extra bucks to a doctor? "You have to play their games," I said, or you end up losing money.

Periodically, I get $10 or whatever in extra bucks, which I can spend in the drugstore, but not for prescriptions, a sneaky way to get you started shopping. As soon as I find out I have extra bucks, I run to the Allegra counter and spend all the extra bucks on Allegra.

The last time I had extra bucks, Allegra was buy two-get-one-free, so I stocked up. I was pretty well set with a 90 day supply for the price of one bottle. How humiliating to let the doctor know you are so cheap you even squeeze extra bucks.

He laughed, but thought it was just fine and even told me the name of a few other places that patients said they could get Allegra cheap. I'm on my third bottle of Allegra now, so they better give me some extra bucks soon, or I will be forced to abandon CVS and go to one of the cheaper places.

Actually, I could afford to pay the higher prices, but "why" when there are generics and extra bucks?

I wonder if doctors pay more or if they spend extra bucks too?

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

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