Dear Annie: My dad's cousin, “John,” is an internist. During my younger sister's wedding weekend, Dr. John stayed with us. Two days before the wedding, my sister was stressed and couldn't sleep. John offered her Ambien. The pill was blue and in a blister pack. He gave her two, even though the label states you shouldn't take them unless you can get six hours of sleep. My sister absolutely didn't have time for that.
I have a prescription for Ambien, and it's white. I have no idea what John gave my sister. At the hairdresser's the next day, she was totally zoned out. Isn't it wrong for physicians to dispense such medications without a prescription?
There have been several incidents where John has given prescription medications to my family members without seeing them. He once sent my dad expired ointments for a rash that turned out to be shingles. When my mother had pneumonia, he told her to take flu medication. What do you think I should do?
-- Furious and Concerned
Dear Furious: First of all, Ambien can come in different colors, depending on the dosage. We assume these are sample drugs that John happens to have handy. The real issue is that your family is eager to take advantage of John's ability to provide such medication for free and without needing to see their regular physician. They have the option not to follow his advice or take what he offers, but they prefer the convenience.
Dear Annie: “California” wondered whether it was rude to read his hosts' newspaper before they woke up. I, too, like to read my paper with my morning coffee.
Here's my solution: When I travel, I take my home paper with me. I then buy a local paper at a gas station, convenience store or some place in the town I am visiting. I tend to buy additional papers from surrounding towns. Since the people I am visiting usually subscribe to only one newspaper, they enjoy reading the additional ones I bring. That way, I have several papers to read at my leisure, and my hosts have theirs.
-- Another Early News Addict
Dear Annie: You recommended NAMI's Family-to-Family program to “Parents at Wits' End.”
I recently took one of their classes and can honestly say I have a better understanding of what my family member is going through. Before, I was totally clueless as to how to deal with the psychotic episodes. Thanks to NAMI, I am more informed, feel better prepared in dealing with difficult situations and am encouraged that it can and will get better.
-- Supporter of NAMI of Kansas
Dear Kansas: Thank you for adding your words of support.
Contact the writer: email@example.com