Sick hus­band is wor­ri­some

Cape Breton Post - - TV HIGHLIGHTS/LIFESTYLES - Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Dear An­nie: My hus­band and I have been hap­pily mar­ried for 24 years. It is a sec­ond mar­riage for both of us. I am 68, and he is 71. We are still work­ing. For­tu­nately, we en­joy our pro­fes­sions, but my hus­band will not be able to re­tire be­cause his for­mer wife re­ceives alimony for the rest of her life.

A few years ago, my hus­band un­der­went in­ten­sive treat­ment, in­clud­ing chemo, ra­di­a­tion and surgery for can­cer. It is not cur­able, and he re­turns for tests and treat­ment ev­ery few months. He also suf­fers from treat­ment-re­lated is­sues that un­der­mine his health. Through all of this, he has been in­cred­i­bly strong. He has fought bravely and with very lit­tle drama. He is my hero.

Lately, I've no­ticed some per­son­al­ity changes that make so­cial­iz­ing dif­fi­cult. He has al­ways liked to talk about him­self, but he's started to mo­nop­o­lize con­ver­sa­tions with friends and ac­quain­tances. Last night, he held the con­ver­sa­tion through­out din­ner with his ex­ploits from 50 years ago. The other guests looked mis­er­able, and I felt un­able to change the con­ver­sa­tion. He re­cently in­ter­rupted a con­ver­sa­tion to tell a story about his high school. Our friends waited pa­tiently, then re­turned to their orig­i­nal topic. I've also no­ticed some mem­ory lapses and worry that it will af­fect his job. One of his col­leagues has com­mented on his for­get­ful­ness.

I hes­i­tate to dis­cuss it with him be­cause I don't want to un­der­mine his self-as­sur­ance at work. De­pres­sion is cer­tainly a pos­si­bil­ity, but he shows no par­tic­u­lar signs of sad­ness or lethargy. What would you sug­gest I do? — Trou­ble in Par­adise

Dear Par­adise: Some on­go­ing med­i­cal treat­ment can have an ef­fect on one's over­all health, in­clud­ing men­tal health. Also, as your hus­band gets older, it would not be un­usual for him to de­velop mem­ory and cog­ni­tive is­sues, which can con­trib­ute to mo­nop­o­liz­ing the con­ver­sa­tion and fo­cus­ing on past history. These prob­lems are not go­ing to dis­ap­pear, and even­tu­ally, they will be­come an is­sue at his job. It is bet­ter to ad­dress them now. Sug­gest to your hus­band that he speak to his doc­tor to be cer­tain he is not hav­ing ad­di­tional side ef­fects from the med­i­ca­tion, and to ask how best to stay healthy, both men­tally and phys­i­cally.

Dear An­nie: I read the let­ter from "I Picked It First," who named her child "Jane," and was ter­ri­bly up­set to dis­cover a cousin was plan­ning to give her baby the same name.

My mother was the eldest child in a fam­ily of four. I am the sec­ond child and am named "John" in honor of my grand­fa­ther. Each of my aunts named one of their boys "John," as well, for the same rea­son. As a child, I thought it was kind of neat hav­ing cousins who had the same name as mine. It mat­ters not to the child.

I con­cur with your re­sponse and think the sit­u­a­tion should be han­dled with good hu­mor. A name is only a name af­ter all, es­pe­cially a first name. — John

An­nie's Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@cre­ators.com, or write to: An­nie's Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate,

737 3rd Street, Her­mosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find An­nie on Face­book at Face­book.com/AskAn­nies. To find out more about An­nie's Mail­box and read fea­tures by other Cre­ators Syn­di­cate writ­ers and car­toon­ists, visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate Web page at www.cre­ators.com.

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