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Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Dear An­nie: I am a hap­pily mar­ried woman. I am also close to “Tom,” whom I have known for 15 years. My hus­band is friendly with Tom, as well.

The prob­lem is Tom’s girl­friend. There has never been any­thing sex­ual about my re­la­tion­ship with Tom. He is four years younger and I think of him as a lit­tle brother. I have done ev­ery­thing I can think of to wel­come his girl­friend. I’ve called her. I’ve emailed so she can get to know me bet­ter. I’ve in­vited her for din­ner. I’ve of­fered to in­vite Tom over only when my hus­band is home. None of it seems to mat­ter. She still thinks he’s cheat­ing on her with me.

Tom has been there dur­ing the tough­est times of my life. He doesn’t drive due to a phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity, so I’m lucky to see him a few times a month. His girl­friend sees him al­most ev­ery night, but even when she’s with him at my house, she gets jeal­ous and picks a fight. Tom does not con­done her be­hav­iour, but I’m beginning to feel an­gry that she is ac­cus­ing me of things I would never do — like cheat on my hus­band.

Tom is like fam­ily to me. How can I make this woman un­der­stand that we are friends and noth­ing more? I’d love to hang out and have fun with both of them, but she is un­will­ing. Any sug­ges­tions? — At Wits’ End

Dear AWE: Tom’s girl­friend is very in­se­cure. She is un­rea­son­ably jeal­ous be­cause she can­not con­trol the re­la­tion­ship Tom has with you ex­cept by elim­i­nat­ing it al­to­gether. That is her ul­ti­mate goal and the rea­son why your friendly over­tures are not work­ing. If Tom can­not re­as­sure her suf­fi­ciently, he will con­tinue to dis­tance him­self un­til he breaks it off with her — or you. Sorry.

Dear An­nie: I have a large ex­tended fam­ily, with many aunts, un­cles and cousins. We try to get to­gether once or twice a year. My aunts and un­cles usu­ally at­tend th­ese gath­er­ings, but few of the cousins show up. I have first cousins I haven’t seen in years, and we all live within 30 miles of each other.

The chil­dren of th­ese cousins are now grad­u­at­ing from high school, get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing ba­bies. My mail­box is over­flow­ing with wed­ding and shower in­vita- tions and grad­u­a­tion an­nounce­ments. I send gifts to those cousins whose fam­i­lies I am in con­tact with, but I re­sent re­ceiv­ing all th­ese an­nounce­ments from cousins I never see and who make no at­tempt to have a re­la­tion­ship with me. When I re­ceive th­ese in­vi­ta­tions, I ig­nore them. I know other fam­ily mem­bers agree with me but still feel ob­li­gated to send gifts.

How do peo­ple have the nerve to send in­vi­ta­tions to peo­ple they never see? Do I tell them how I feel or just con­tinue to ig­nore their mail? — Re­lated in Name Only

Dear Re­lated: If you have no con­nec­tion to th­ese cousins, never see them and don’t par­tic­u­larly care about them, there is no rea­son to at­tend their func­tions or send gifts — un­less, of course, it is to re­cip­ro­cate for gifts they have sent to you.

Dear An­nie: You printed a let­ter from “Guil­ford, Conn.,” who dis­cov­ered she had been tak­ing her thy­roid med­i­ca­tion in­cor­rectly, which was why she wasn’t feel­ing any bet­ter. She was sup­posed to take it 30 min­utes be­fore break­fast. Her doc- tor had not given her this in­for­ma­tion.

I am an RN and have been tak­ing thy­roid re­place­ment since 1962. In ad­di­tion to the tim­ing of the pill, you are sup­posed to take it with a full glass of wa­ter. You also should not take vi­ta­min-min­eral sup­ple­ments within four hours of tak­ing the thy­roid med­i­ca­tion.

“Guil­ford” is right. If you take the drug prop­erly, it can make you func­tion at a much higher level. Thank you for your col­umn. You do a world of good. — J.G.

Dear J.G.: We ap­pre­ci­ate the kind words and your ex­pert sug­ges­tions. Any­one on med­i­ca­tion should dou­ble-check with the phar­ma­cist to find out pre­cisely how to take it.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: I ask you for an hon­est opin­ion on a po­ten­tial med­i­cal-le­gal mat­ter. My 82-year-old fa­ther has been treated for Parkin­son’s dis­ease for al­most two years. The medicine pre­scribed didn’t im­prove him one bit. I took him to a neu­rol­o­gist for a sec­ond opin­ion about a week ago. It turns out my fa­ther doesn’t have Parkin­son’s dis­ease; he has pro­gres­sive supranu­clear palsy. Could those two years of treat­ment for an er­ro­neous di­ag­no­sis have made him worse off ? I think they could have. — S.S.

AN­SWER: As hon­est and im­par­tial as I can be in this sit­u­a­tion, which is so charged with emo­tion, I be­lieve you’re wast­ing time and money seek­ing le­gal re­dress.

Pro­gres­sive supranu­clear palsy, or PSP, is a rel­a­tively newly de­scribed ill­ness whose early signs and symp­toms mimic those of Parkin­son’s dis­ease. It of­ten takes a cou­ple of years be­fore a doc­tor ar­rives at the cor­rect di­ag­no­sis. Fur­ther­more, drugs used for Parkin­son’s dis­ease are of­ten used for PSP, al­though they are not as ef­fec­tive in PSP. Your fa­ther’s prog­no­sis would not have been ma­te­ri­ally al­tered if he had had the cor­rect di­ag­no­sis from day one.

Dif­fi­culty in walk­ing and a ten­dency to fall are early signs of PSP, and they are signs of Parkin­son’s dis­ease, too. Rigid mus­cles and slow move­ment are two other PSP signs, and they are Parkin­son’s signs also. In time, how­ever, a sign de­vel­ops that’s unique to PSP. It is the in­abil­ity of the pa­tient to move his eyes down­ward and then up­ward. That in­abil­ity in­creases the risk of fall­ing and makes read­ing im­pos­si­ble. The pa­tient can­not aim the eyes cor­rectly to fol­low the next line of print.

I can tell you some­thing that would ben­e­fit your dad much more than the time spent in seek­ing le­gal ad­vice. Con­tact the Foun­da­tion for Pro­gres­sive Supranu­clear Palsy. The foun­da­tion will sup­ply you with the lat­est in­for­ma­tion on it and will give you a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what’s go­ing on and what to ex­pect. The foun­da­tion’s phone num­ber is 800-457-4777 and its web­site is www.psp.org.

In­ci­den­tally, the fa­mous mu­si­cian, writer and ac­tor Dud­ley Moore, who starred in many films, in­clud­ing 10 and Arthur, was a vic­tim of PSP.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: My doc­tor is an older man and a good friend. I re­spect him greatly. He has been an ex­cel­lent doc­tor for me and my wife.

The doc­tor harps on us to get a tetanus shot. We are both 67. It seems like some­thing that should be done for younger peo­ple. Do you think this is nec­es­sary? — R.M.

AN­SWER: It is nec­es­sary if you want to be pro­tected against tetanus — lock­jaw. It’s an ill­ness that is pure tor­ture.

In both Canada and the United States, older peo­ple are the ones most likely to be in­fected with the tetanus bac­terium. That’s be­cause pro­tec­tion from the vac­cine lasts only 10 years. For that rea­son, rec­om­men­da­tions are for 10-year booster shots of the vaccines un­til death.

I’m with your doc­tor.

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