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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman in Need of Medical Care Was Saved by a Bark

DEAR ABBY: When I read the letter about the importance of keeping one's medical information readily available in case of an emergency, I was reminded of an incident that happened to me.

My name is Maxine, and one of my dogs is named Maxwell. We both answer to the name of "Max."

I am a diabetic and have had several kidney stones removed. One night I awoke in terrible pain but was unable to get up and call someone. Both of my dogs knew something was wrong. My collie went to the front window and barked incessantly, until the neighbor across the street woke up and realized something was wrong because I never let the dogs bark without getting up to see what they are barking at. My little dog, "Max," climbed up on the bed and licked the cold sweat off my arms.

My neighbor called my daughter and told her something must be wrong because my dog was barking for so long. My daughter arrived within 15 minutes. She found me unconscious and called an ambulance. The technician asked her if I was taking any medication and she said yes -- that it was on the kitchen counter. He rushed to the kitchen, grabbed the small bottles, put them in a plastic bag, and away we raced to the hospital.

About a half-hour later, the technician came out with a big grin on his face and told her he didn't think it was her mother's medicine. The label read: "For Max, for scratching his back and biting his tail."

We have laughed about it ever since, but I now wear a diabetic bracelet with all the information on it. My doctor told me later I was lucky because the dogs probably saved my life. If I hadn't had immediate attention, I could have died of uremic poisoning. I learned the hard way to have everything written down, to carry the information in my wallet, and also to post it on the refrigerator. -- MAXINE L. VAN TORNHOUT, ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.

DEAR "MAX" and "MAX" (I'm all maxed out here): I'm pleased your story had a happy ending, and that you're still around to pamper and praise your canine heroes. As amusing as the story is, it's a graphic reminder that medical information should be kept readily available, because the need for it can strike with little or no warning.

DEAR ABBY: I'm confused about the answers to the following questions, and hope you'll supply me with the correct answers.

When a man and woman have become divorced:

1. Are his and her brothers and sisters still his and her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law?

2. Are his and her parents still his and her mother-in-law and father-in-law?

3. Are his and her parents still their children's grandparents?

4. Are his siblings' children still her nieces and nephews?

5. Are his or her siblings' children still cousins to his or her children?� 6. Are his and her brothers and sisters still the divorced man's and woman's children's aunts and uncles? -- FRANCES B., RICHMOND, VA.

DEAR FRANCES B.: After divorce, the "in-laws" become "ex" in-laws, but the blood relationships remain. Therefore, the grandparents are still grandparents, the aunts and uncles are still aunts and uncles, and the children are still cousins.

Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

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