DEAR ABBY: We live in earthquake country, and my family has always been prepared for any emergency that may occur. We have a large area in our basement containing bedding, clothing, food, water and medical supplies for a family of four.
We recently experienced a rather alarming tremor, and my neighbor called to express her fright. When I told her we were prepared for emergencies, she replied, "Well, great! Now we'll know where to come just in case."
Abby, how could I have answered her without being insulting? Surely neighbors should not be responsible for the welfare of others if they are capable of providing for themselves. -- SHOOK IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR SHOOK: You could have told your neighbor that in the event of a serious emergency, you and your family might be unable to provide for guests -- and if she hasn't already done so, she should see that her family is also prepared. It would have been an honest response, and also good advice.
DEAR ABBY: I am 71. One year ago I was healthy and leading a productive life. Then my car was rear-ended by a careless driver.
I would never have believed a person could suffer so much pain from what seemed like such a small accident. I have been in and out of the hospital several times, in such pain I could not cope with it. The doctor kept me so heavily sedated I remember very little (and sometimes nothing) about several weeks of my life.
To make a long story short: I now realize that I had become totally dependent on all the prescription drugs the doctor ordered. I decided to get off them, but it has been really hard.
I realize the doctor was trying to help me, but I was not aware of how dependent I had become. If I can't get off them, I will be a drug addict. Abby, that's not the way I want to live.
Sometimes the pain gets so bad it's hard not to go back on the pills, but with the help of the Lord and my nonprescription medicine, I'm doing pretty well -- which is better than the other way. -- TRYING TO GET UNHOOKED
DEAR TRYING: Although I respect the healing power of prayer, nonprescription drugs can also be harmful if they are taken in larger or more frequent doses than the directions indicate.
Please ask your doctor for a referral to a physician who specializes in pain management. There are other methods, such as biofeedback, which have been helpful in alleviating chronic pain. You could benefit greatly by checking this out. I wish you the best of luck.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I met on a bus and were married five weeks later. On June 9, we celebrated our 63rd wedding anniversary.
We had a wonderful dinner with champagne so we could toast each other -- and we have decided to celebrate our marriage with a similar celebration on the ninth of every month.
We think it's a good idea, because it's too long to wait for another full year to go by. -- LILI HOLLOPETER, PASADENA, CALIF.
DEAR LILI: I think your idea has merit. When two people love each other, every day is Thanksgiving and every night is New Year's Eve.
My belated good wishes on 63 years of wedded bliss. May you have many more happy years together.
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