Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: I just learned that my ex-husband is the father of a baby boy with his new wife. I am devastated by this news. We have been divorced for 10 years, but I never stopped loving him.
Eight months after I married "Andy," he had a vasectomy without telling me. We spent another year trying to have a baby. Actually, I was the only one who was trying. Andy was stringing me along. He knew he could not father a child, but he made me believe the fault was mine. I discovered the truth when I went to see a fertility specialist. The doctor said there was no physical reason I could not become pregnant and suggested that my husband be checked. It was then that Andy told me about the vasectomy. The following year, he divorced me on the grounds that he wasn't cut out for marriage. Later that year, he got married to someone else and apparently had his vasectomy reversed.
Now, I am faced with a terrible sense of loss. How in the world could this have happened? Andy's new family should have been OURS. I tried to adopt a child, but as a single woman, this is very difficult unless you have a great deal of money. I know I can't turn back the clock, but learning about Andy's baby has brought back all the hurt. How can I rid myself of this pain? — Need Help in Tacoma, Wash.
Dear Tacoma: Andy is a liar and a cheat. Had you stayed married to him, he would have given you endless grief. Count your blessings. You missed a speeding bullet. Call your local child welfare agency, and inquire about being a foster parent. There are a great many children who need homes but are not adoptable for a variety of reasons. Good luck to you, dear.
Dear Ann Landers: I read your column about the woman who needed a breast exam and was offended that the technician was male. The ignorance of the American public about male nurses is shameful.
I am a male nurse who chose this field because I want to make a difference in people's lives. I want to ease their suffering and do what I can for the sick and dying. Male nurses take the same classes as our female counterparts. We have the same training and lose the same amount of sleep, which is considerable. We work right alongside our female colleagues and are licensed by the same state board.
When I am assigned a female patient, it would never occur to me to make a pass or derive any sexual pleasure from that individual. Believe me, a hospital is not the romantic setting that the TV shows project. Please let all the female patients who read your column know that we are there only to make their hospital stay, medical tests and surgery as easy and comfortable as possible. There is no hidden agenda. — Everywhere, USA
Dear Everywhere: Thank you for speaking so eloquently about a subject that needs airing. TV has indeed portrayed hospitals as places where romances flourish and love affairs abound. The shows may romanticize the hospital setting, but the people who work there know it is serious business.
Looking for an uplifting, quick read? "A Collection of My Favorite Gems of the Day" contains handpicked jokes and witticisms from the world over. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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