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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Strays Too Far When He Travels Alone

DEAR ABBY: "Ross" and I have been married for 17 years. We have two beautiful children. Two years ago, he took a one-week vacation by himself outside the United States. When he returned, he told me he had been with other women and needed to be tested for STDs. I was devastated, but I forgave him for the sake of the children. I never bring it up, but it still hurts.

Last night, Ross informed me that he is going again. This time he is taking along a single male friend. I asked him to promise me he will remain faithful, but he refuses to discuss it. He says he intends to go and have a good time, and that we can talk about it the day before he leaves -- which is three months away. I told him it was emotional abuse. He just laughed.

Am I being unreasonable? -- BROKENHEARTED IN BIRMINGHAM

DEAR BROKENHEARTED: Not at all. However, now that you have been put on notice, you have serious decisions to make about your future. Are you willing to again tolerate your husband's infidelity, and the health risks to which you may be exposed? If not, quietly consult an attorney. For the sake of your children, you must protect yourself -- emotionally, physically and financially. They deserve at least one responsible parent, and it appears your husband has gone off the deep end.

DEAR ABBY: Please remind your readers to always double-check their medications at the time of purchase. Our family just had a close call that could have been tragic.

My husband's grandmother has high blood pressure and has been on the same medication for years. Yesterday, we took her to the pharmacy to pick up a refill. The store was very busy and the pharmacist couldn't locate the refill order her doctor had phoned in.

In the confusion, a pharmacy technician filled the order with the wrong medication. Thank goodness we discovered the error before any of the meds were taken.

If a medication suddenly looks different -- if tablets are a different size, shape or color -- a customer should not hesitate to question the pharmacist. It could be a lifesaver. -- LOCKPORT, ILL., R.N.

DEAR R.N.: I agree; prescription medicines should always be checked while the customer is at the counter. And it's wise to have all prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy, so possible drug interactions can be avoided.

DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Eleanor M.," whose husband was caught in a riptide, I wanted to offer an important safety tip for ocean swimmers.

Riptides are normally only 15 to 20 feet wide, so if you find yourself caught in one, you should immediately swim PARALLEL to the beach instead of trying to swim directly to shore. This should allow you to swim out of the riptide and make it safely to the shore.

Lifeguards here in Southern California try to point out riptides to swimmers so they can avoid the area -- but common sense is your best lifesaving tool. Know your abilities and limits in the water before you start swimming. -- THERESA R., ESCONDIDO, CALIF.

DEAR THERESA: Those are practical, intelligent suggestions. With beach season here, I hope they are taken to heart. Swimmers can exhaust themselves trying to escape a riptide. Your letter could be a lifesaver.

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