Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: Last year, our youngest brother, “Don,” was diagnosed with throat cancer. Within three months, it had spread over his entire body.
Don is only 58, married with two children. When he was initially diagnosed and having a terrible time, his wife told people he was acting like a big baby. He drove himself to treatments or had a neighbor or brother-in-law take him.
When the treatments didn’t help, he had to give up his job. His wife told the rest of us that her husband didn’t want to see us, although her family was allowed to stop by. She and her son (by a previous marriage) told Don that they were taking him for a drive, and she dumped him at the hospice about 40 miles away from home, even though there is a perfectly good one much closer.
Four days later, she called my sister and said they had to do this because Don’s condition was so bad. The next day, my sister went to visit. She said Don was alert, but very depressed. His wife had had the phone removed from his room. Don had no idea that his family and co-workers had been trying to reach him. The co-workers had even taken up donations to help. He thought no one cared.
Now his wife has told the staff that he cannot have any guests unless she brings them. The workers at hospice are only following the wife’s wishes and have threatened to call security on family members who try to visit. What can be done about a person so evil that she would allow him to die alone like this? — Indianapolis
Dear Indianapolis: This sounds like a nightmare. Hospice follows the instructions of the person with power of attorney. Try contacting the social worker at hospice and ask whether someone will check on Don to see whether he can receive phone calls. If your brother is of sound mind, he can ask for the phone to be put back in his room. And if you can temporarily set aside your differences with Don’s wife, call her and ask whether there is anything you can do to help, and whether you can accompany her to see Don. We hope the entire family will support one another through this.
Dear Annie: My husband is extremely overweight. He has back problems, and his knees ache. I have discussed the dangers of heart problems, the increased chance of diabetes, etc., but he really doesn’t care.
Unfortunately, it has affected the way I look at him. Seeing his belly folding over his belt is NOT a turn-on. It is disturbing to see the one you love neither care what he looks like nor see what he is doing to our marriage. How can I get him to realize the severity of this? — Concerned
Dear Concerned: Your husband knows he is overweight, but the idea of diet and exercise is probably more effort than he is currently willing to put forth. Your criticisms are not going to create an incentive, so please find another tack. He should see his doctor about his weight and perhaps get a referral to a nutritionist. If you are in charge of the meals at home, make sure they are healthful. Invite him to join you for a walk after dinner or any other activity that is pleasurable. Above all, he needs to know you love him regardless, and that your concern is because you want him around longer, not because you want him to be more attractive in bed. We know that is not a trifling matter, but please start from a less pressured place.
Dear Annie: “Michigan” said the boss took a portion of the tips from the waitstaff. I have been a server for 25 years. The hourly rate is often less than $4. I have been required to share my tips with the busboy, the bartender and even other servers. Never have I known of a business owner taking a portion. This is highly unethical. — Hard Worked and Broke
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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.
Published in The Messenger 5.03.12