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by Abigail Van Buren

Pharmacy Directions Prove Laughter Isn't Best Medicine

DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Angela," the disgusted young woman in Savannah who has recently started to work as an intern in a pharmacy.

I am sure some of her frustration is legitimate, but in one paragraph she stated that some people are so uneducated they don't know how to take medicine. ("Have you ever known anyone to eat a suppository?")

It could happen! This is what happened to me. I was given a prescription for rectal suppositories by my doctor. I had the prescription filled at the pharmacy and was handed a paper bag stapled shut with the sheet of directions attached to the outside of the bag.

When I arrived home I opened the bag and read the directions. It said, "Insert one suppository by mouth twice daily for seven days." The same directions were printed on the label affixed to the box.

I took the direction sheet back to the pharmacy and told the pharmacist I was having a little problem following the directions. She looked at the directions, said, "Oh, my," and went immediately to the computer. Evidently that particular medication had been entered into the computer so that every time they keyed in the name, it printed out the wrong directions. Who knows how many people had received the same directions!

One of the assistants at the pharmacy said, "The FIRST direction should have been to remove the foil." We had a good laugh, but it goes to show that even educated people can get confused. -- SHELDA MILLER, EXETER, MO.

DEAR SHELDA: Although I found it hard to believe that anyone would eat a suppository or not know how to use one, evidently misunderstandings are more common than I had imagined. While these anecdotes may appear funny, ignorance in such matters is beyond laughter. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Please tell that young pharmacy intern that she is in the wrong profession.

I know. I have been in it for 46 years and have seen just about everything. (Have you ever heard of anyone inserting a rectal suppository without removing the foil in which it is wrapped?)

That young pharmacist should keep a journal, and maybe someday she can write a book. I wish I had. Sign me ... AN OLD PILL ROLLER, SPARTANBURG, S.C.

DEAR ABBY: "Angela in Savannah" wrote to ask if you had ever heard of anyone eating a suppository.

Well, I can top that. I work in a pharmacy and was instructed that we should emphasize the fact that the foil wrapping must be removed before inserting a suppository. -- DIANNE IN DALLAS

DEAR DIANNE: Thanks for writing. If I ever get around to writing a book titled "Now I've Heard Everything," I will include this one.

DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter from Autumn R. Vogel, and I couldn't agree with her more. Men who whistle and yell at women on the street are not only rude, but put women in an uncomfortable, if not frightening, position.

I have to relate one incident where the men probably felt as ignorant as they sounded. I was walking down a busy street on my lunch hour when a car approached from behind and the men started to whistle and shout, "Hey, Baby!" As they started to pass me, they became dead silent. You see, I was seven months pregnant at the time!

I'll never forget the looks on their faces! My daughter is 16 years old now, and loves to hear how she helped me put these jerks in their places. Sign me ... HEY BABY-BABY! SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

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