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by Abigail Van Buren

Young Wife's Packaging Less Important Than What Was Inside

DEAR ABBY: "Angela in Savannah," a pharmacy intern who expressed frustration at the ignorance of her patients, asked, "Have you ever known anyone to EAT a suppository?"

Well, I have. During my nine years of nursing, I have known doctors to prescribe vaginal suppositories to be dissolved in the mouth for oral yeast infections. Guess what? It worked beautifully.

What Angela perceived as ignorance was a lack of communication between patients and the medical community. Consider this: When did the use of suppositories come up in your normal day-to-day conversation? How is one correctly used? Proper use of medication is not intuitive. If we, as medical professionals, convey the message that people would "know" such things, we discourage them from asking. By doing this, we contribute to their ignorance.

Perhaps we've forgotten our roots. The word "doctor" comes from the Latin word "docere," which means "to teach."

The most important lesson I have taught my patients: "There is no such thing as a dumb question." -- A LONGTIME NURSE, MORENCI, ARIZ.