Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I am a newly married woman and am writing about my husband, who refuses to see a doctor for a potentially life-threatening issue. In fact, he refuses to see any doctor at all. I am not aware that he has any specific fear of doctors, so this puzzles me.
I believe my husband has severe sleep apnea. It began with a 20-pound weight gain and light snoring. It has graduated to my being punched and elbowed regularly, and he does what I call the “alligator death roll” all night. Not to mention, I don’t get much sleep because his snoring and breath holding cause him to wake up choking and coughing, sometimes until he vomits.
My father had one of the worst cases of sleep apnea ever diagnosed by the Mayo Clinic and suffered for years. He had debilitating heart attacks in his sleep, ultimately ending his life. I know how dangerous this disorder can be if it remains untreated. How can I get my husband to understand the risk?
To top it all off, he is a smoker and clearly has the beginnings of emphysema. His hearing is “HUH?” — horrible — and his vision borders on legally blind. We have excellent private health insurance, which is a blessing, and he has no excuse not to seek medical help.
I am 40 and he is 51. I did not marry the love of my life to lose him because he is a stubborn mule. While my main concern is his well-being, this is taking its toll on our marriage, as well. He reads your column faithfully every morning. Maybe if he sees it in writing, he won’t feel like I’m mothering him. — Sleepless in Salem, Ore.
Dear Sleepless: Your husband isn’t simply stubborn. He’s scared to death and probably a little depressed, as well. He thinks a trip to the doctor will confirm his worst fears. But a diagnosis is not a death sentence, and sleep apnea can be treated successfully (although if he continues to smoke, it will be harder). Without treatment, respiratory illnesses can create tremendous suffering for both of you.
Since you cannot force him to be courageous enough to face his fears, we suggest you sleep in another room and make sure his life insurance is paid up.
Dear Annie: I am currently interviewing for a position with several different companies in different industries.
I have diagnosed learning disabilities and want to know when the correct time is to mention my disabilities to the interviewer. Do I tell them during the first interview or wait until I am hired? If I tell them, am I risking the position because they may not want to accommodate a person with a disability? — Disabled But Not Disqualified
Dear DBND: You are not legally required to disclose your disability at the interview or any other time. And the interviewer is not permitted to ask. If you are qualified for the job and can do the work, your disability should not be an issue, so don’t make it one.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Stunk Out, Turned Off and Not Laughing,” whose husband lets out “fluffies” at the dinner table, saying “all men do it” and that his father was the same way.
My father was born in 1905 and raised on a farm in South Dakota. When he felt the urge, he left the dinner table and went into another room. I also remember him saying “excuse me” when he returned. My husband was born in 1955 and, after 27 years and 12 strokes, still excuses himself from the table when he has to pass gas. So all men DON’T do it. Now, my ex-husband was another matter, but then, he still calls women “broads.” Guess they aren’t all keepers. — Mrs. Manners
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.14.09