Pa­tient can’t give doc a clean bill of health

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: I re­cently be­gan go­ing to a new doc­tor af­ter the one I had been us­ing re­tired. I like her. She shows a gen­uine in­ter­est in my well-be­ing, seems to di­ag­nose well, and I get good re­sults from her treat­ments. She doesn’t keep me wait­ing and has a charm­ing, warm per­son­al­ity.

So what’s the prob­lem? She’s not very clean. There is some­times dirt un­der her fin­ger­nails. Her white coat is tat­tered and filthy, and when she gets close, there’s an odor that’s less than pleas­ant. Once af­ter touch­ing me, she washed her hands by stick­ing her fin­ger­tips un­der cold water for a few sec­onds — no soap or scrub­bing. She had not washed be­fore touch­ing me.

There are so many good things about her I hate to lose her as a doc­tor. She’ll be in­sulted if I say any­thing. If I can­cel an ap­point­ment, it will raise ques­tions and lead to hurt feel­ings. What do I do? — FREAKED OUT IN AL­BANY

DEAR FREAKED OUT: Find an­other doc­tor. (I was tempted to say, “Run for your life!”) As warm, charm­ing, caring and at­ten­tive as your doc­tor may be, her poor hy­giene is a dan­ger to your health. That she would present her­self to pa­tients in the con­di­tion you have de­scribed and prac­tice such poor hy­giene makes me won­der how qual­i­fied she is to prac­tice medicine.

One other thing you should con­sider do­ing — be­cause you like her — is to write her a let­ter ex­plain­ing why you won’t be see­ing her any­more. She ob­vi­ously needs a wake-up call.

DEAR ABBY: My mother is dy­ing of old age and heart fail­ure. It’s not un­ex­pected, and we are pre­par­ing for the end to come soon.

The prob­lem is, I’m not a good house­keeper, and I am in mar­ginal health. My hus­band is dis­abled and is, frankly, a slob. I have given up try­ing to keep a clean house while caring for him, my mother and my­self. I just don’t have the strength to do it all, and my hus­band does noth­ing ex­cept lie around on his bed watch­ing TV or sleep­ing all day.

I know when my mother passes, peo­ple will want to come here to visit or bring food. My house is so dirty and de­plorable I don’t want any­one to come here. What should I do? I have thought about hir­ing a ser­vice, but I’m not sure I can af­ford it. Any other sug­ges­tions? — OVER­WHELMED AND TIRED IN TEXAS

DEAR OVER­WHELMED AND TIRED: Please ac­cept my sym­pa­thy for the im­pend­ing loss of your mother. Even when death is ac­cepted as in­evitable, it is nonethe­less heart-wrench­ing. I’ll of­fer two sug­ges­tions:

The first is to talk to your re­li­gious ad­viser about your con­cerns, be­cause it’s pos­si­ble some vol­un­teers

DEAR ABBY: I find it hard to deal with my teacher. She is rude and mean, and she al­ways calls me out. When you need to make a cor­rec­tion on your test, she throws the quiz at you, and then you have to pick it up. She also is very im­pa­tient. Do you have any ad­vice on how to deal with such a per­son? — DONE WITH HER IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR DONE WITH HER: Your teacher ap­pears to be a trou­bled woman. The way to deal with her would be for your par­ents — and the par­ents of any other stu­dents she is treat­ing this way — to bring it to the at­ten­tion of the prin­ci­pal of the school so it can be ad­dressed.

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