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Dear Abby: I am writing to you because I can share this anonymously. I am close to 60 years old and I’m terrified of the dentist. Every time I pick up the phone to make an appointment I get so anxious I feel like I’m going to die.

Do you think I will be able to find a caring, compassionate and nonjudgmental dentist? Are they out there? Sometimes I wish I could die instead of going to The Dentist. Am I crazy?

– Mrs. Anxiety in the U.S.A.

Dear Mrs. Anxiety: Let me put it this way – if you’re crazy, you have a lot of company. Many people fear going to the dentist. However, there have been improvements in the field since you were a child – including sedation for people who choose “not to be there” while their dental problems are being attended to.

Good dental health is very important to our overall health, so please don’t put off any further making an appointment. Tell the person who is booking the appointment what your needs are, and if that dentist can’t accommodate you, ask for a referral to one who can.

Nanny’s care is gift enough

Dear Abby: I have been a nanny for four families over the last 10 years. I am now working for a family of five. I don’t make a lot of money, but I enjoy what I do.

My problem is all the gift-buying I feel required to do – such as on the children’s birthdays, Christmas and the mom’s birth of more babies. My employer is expecting yet another baby this summer and her 3-year-old has another birthday coming up.

I’m tired of the gift-buying and really can’t afford to do it anymore. When the new baby is born, I am tempted to just say “Congratulations!” Any suggestions?

– Gifted Out

Dear Gifted Out: Yes. When the newest addition to the family arrives, give your employer a nice card. You should not be expected to come up with a gift. You are already giving these children loving and responsible care and that is gift enough.

Ask before ordering

Dear Abby: Something has been bothering me and I’d like your opinion. If a group of people goes out to eat together, and no one wants to order dessert except one person, is it rude for that person to keep everyone else waiting and watching while he/she orders and eats the dessert?

– Check, Please

Dear Check, Please: It’s not rude if you first ask the others in the group if they would mind, and they wanted to chat over coffee.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.