DEAR ABBY: My husband hurt his back in 2000. Ever since, it has gotten worse. He takes enough pain pills and muscle relaxers to kill a horse.
Most of the time he is so out of it I can't talk to him. When I try, he gets mad and says I don't understand. I do understand, because I have been here since he got hurt.
I don't know what to do. I don't want to leave him because I love him, but I can no longer live like this. I also don't want my kids to see him like this anymore. Please help. -- CONFUSED IN TEXAS
DEAR CONFUSED: Talk to the doctor who has been prescribing these medications about the debilitating effect they are having on your husband. There comes a time when most people have to wean themselves off habit-forming drugs -– and it appears your husband is overdue. In fact, it may be time for the doctor to refer your husband to a pain specialist who can help him learn alternative methods for dealing with back pain. It's worth a try.
DEAR ABBY: This year my in-laws sent me a peek-a-boo nightie with thong panties for my birthday. I've met them only once.
I am shocked that they sent a gift like this to me. They have never sent me a birthday gift before (and I am not complaining). But I do not wear thong underwear.
Obviously, I will thank them for thinking of me. But how? And how can I tactfully suggest that they not send me something like this in the future? -- SHOCKED IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR SHOCKED: Try this: "Dear Folks, thank you for remembering me on my birthday. I admit I didn't expect to be thought of in quite that way by my husband's parents! With love, your blushing daughter-in-law."
DEAR ABBY: My mom was running an errand at a local farmers' market and left my dad in the car. When she returned, four people were standing outside the car waiting for her. They had tried to tell my dad that the car had a flat tire. When he didn't respond, they waited for Mom, and then changed the tire for her.
What they didn't know was that my parents were on one of their first outings since Dad's colon cancer surgery a few weeks before. The prognosis wasn't good. My dad's Alzheimer's disease had also spiraled downward. Mom is now sole caregiver because most of their kids live far away.
That those strangers went out of their way to help her and perform an act of kindness meant more to her (and me) than they'll ever know.
I hope they read this and know how much their help meant. I also hope that others will see that a single act of kindness can be a precious gift that's never forgotten.-- GRATEFUL DAUGHTER IN ILLINOIS
DEAR GRATEFUL: You've said it very well. A good deed is like a pebble thrown into a pool of water. The ripples spread far beyond the point of impact. Thank you for the timely reminder.
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