Work­ing to­ward well­ness

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS -

Dear Read­ers: I hope you en­joy th­ese edited “best of ” col­umns in my ab­sence.

Dear Amy: As a pub­lic health nurse and mother of four, I spend a lot of time talk­ing about germs and stay­ing healthy. With sea­sonal flu, H1N1 and nasty germs such as MRSA in the com­mu­nity, I am amazed that peo­ple bring their new­borns to the mall or gro­cery store and pass them around like post­cards.

Chil­dren younger than six months do not have a fully work­ing im­mune sys­tem. They should not be out in crowds, such as the mall or at par­ties. Peo­ple with in­fants in the home (or care­givers of in­fants) should get their flu shots. If you love them, im­mu­nize. If they are too young to be im­mu­nized, pro­tect them by keep­ing them away from pub­lic places. Nurse in Cal­i­for­nia

Dear Nurse: Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, around 36,000 Amer­i­cans die each year from flu-re­lated causes. Some work­ing par­ents have no choice but to bring their ba­bies out into the world. Be­cause of this, the larger com­mu­nity should do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to help pro­tect them. Thank you for your ad­vo­cacy. (Oc­to­ber 2009)

Dear Amy: How should I han­dle a friend who is bipo­lar? She is fine un­til she goes off her med­i­ca­tion, then she be­comes nasty and hate­ful, and I am not sure how to for­give her for what she has said about me. Put-upon Friend Dear Put-Upon Friend: Bipo­lar dis­or­der is a se­ri­ous ill­ness that can re­spond well to treat­ment. The mood and be­hav­ior swings that peo­ple with bipo­lar dis­or­der ex­pe­ri­ence can strain re­la­tion­ships. Your friend is re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing her health and tak­ing her med­i­ca­tion to con­trol her ill­ness, and your re­spon­si­bil­ity is to be un­der­stand­ing of her health is­sues and in­form her when she is be­hav­ing in a way that harms your friend­ship. When your friend goes off her meds and abuses you, you should re­mind her of how her be­hav­ior af­fects you. Your friend’s ill­ness may ex­plain her be­hav­ior, but her bur­den is to ac­knowl­edge and apol­o­gize.

Dear Amy: I am a nurse and worked for a doc­tor for 34 years. He gave me a gen­er­ous sev­er­ance. My son stole most of it be­cause he is a drug ad­dict. He is in re­hab now and is OK so far.

Then my hus­band of 27 years moved out be­cause he feels he is ”not good at mar­riage.” He has been dis­tant to me since his own re­tire­ment (five years ago).

My daugh­ter lives two states away. We have a hard time talk­ing to each other. She is close to her fa­ther.

I feel as if I have been a good wife and mother. I don’t know what went wrong. I have a group of friends I en­joy, but the loss of my fam­ily is con­sum­ing me.

Any ad­vice on how to get through this? Sad Mom

Dear Sad: You could start by do­ing some soul-search­ing, to see what you should take re­spon­si­bil­ity for and what you should let go. Give your­self a fresh start.

Let your healthy re­la­tion­ships sus­tain and pro­pel you. Seek op­por­tu­ni­ties to work or vol­un­teer, help­ing other peo­ple. Your nurs­ing skills would be wel­comed by any num­ber of or­ga­ni­za­tions. Be­ing use­ful to oth­ers will help you to feel bet­ter about your­self. (May 2009)

Send ques­tions for Amy Dick­in­son to [email protected] amy­dick­in­

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