Dear Annie: I am in a sticky situation with a longtime friend, "Joe," and his wife, "June." June is a pathological liar. She tells big ones and small ones, and her lying has caused some conflicts in their marriage, and now in our friendship with Joe.
June recently skipped out on a big bill she accumulated by saying their child needed an organ transplant. People in the neighborhood are concerned for the family's welfare, and they are rallying around, putting together fruit baskets and raising money. Of course, their child isn't sick at all and never was.
Other than this, Joe and June are great people, and we've had many good times over the years. I don't want June's lying to come between our friendship. Joe has never mentioned his wife's fabrications, and we suspect it hasn't occurred to him that her tall tales get back to us. We hate seeing him oblivious to what she is doing. We no longer trust her, and it is increasingly uncomfortable to be around her.
Do we tell Joe what we know? Should our children still be able to play with theirs? Concerned Friends in Illinois
Dear Friends: Taking money donated for her child's "transplant" puts June squarely in the criminal-fraud division. She can be arrested.
June needs therapy, and soon. If you are certain of your facts, confront June and tell her she needs help. If she refuses, talk to Joe. Yes, it may damage the friendship, but it sounds as if that's going south anyway, and this is too serious to ignore. As for the children, unless they are following in Mom's footsteps, there is no reason they cannot continue to play with yours.
Dear Annie: I read with interest the letter from "K.B.," the woman whose dentist and doctor had given up on her problems with temporomandibular joint pain. TMJD is complex, and management includes a comprehensive exam and diagnosis, addressing all possible contributing factors. "K.B." should ask her dentist for a referral to a center that specializes in chronic pain or a dental school that does research in TMJD. Claire E. Collins, D.M.D., University of Colorado School of Dentistry
Dear Dr. Collins: Thank you for your expert advice. For information on TMJ, we recommend The TMJ Association (tmj.org), P.O. Box 26770, Milwaukee, Wis. 53226-0770. We heard from hundreds of readers, many of whom had their own suggestions. For those who are interested, read on:
From Modesto, Calif.: My boss' wife suggested I see her chiropractor, who specializes in the Palmer Method. After the first treatment, I could finally open my mouth. After the next one, I could eat without the horrible fear of my jaw locking or going through agonizing pain.
West Lafayette, Ind.: I found relief through the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, where they teach about "neuromuscular dentistry," and how to relax the muscles and take pressure off the joints. Your readers can go to leadingdentists.com to find a dentist in their area who can help them.
Farmington, Conn.: My orthodontist gave me a bite appliance that I had to wear 24 hours a day, even while eating (you get used to it), to realign my jaw. That stayed in for about nine months and when removed, he put braces on to set my mouth to that new position. It was worth every minute and every penny.
Wisconsin: Massage can alleviate muscle tension and pain associated with TMJD. It's not a cure, but it will definitely improve the quality of life. There are two modalities that may be especially beneficial: Neuromuscular Therapy and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Your readers can get more information by visiting the following Web sites: www.nmtcenter.com and www.upledger.com, and the American Massage Therapy Association (amtamassage.org). Make sure the massage therapist is certified, and insurance may cover it if it is recommended by your doctor.
XE-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, Ill. 60611.