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: You recently published a letter from a reader who was angry that four different physicians didn't tell her she could lower her blood pressure if she lost some weight. The woman wanted to know why her doctors failed to mention this to her. I am a physician who has been in practice for several years, and I would like to respond to her question.
Long ago, I learned that if a physician wants to drive a patient out of his (or her) office permanently, there are two magic sentences that will do it. One is: "I think you should see a psychiatrist." The other is: "You need to lose some weight." I have a file in my office with notes from fat former patients (and their fat relatives) cussing me out royally because I had the unmitigated gall to broach the subject of dropping some pounds.
I no longer tell my patients they need to lose weight. They already know it. I only hope they occasionally look in the mirror. — Doctor in Bowling Green, Kentucky
Dear Doctor: Sorry you have been a victim of the "kill the messenger" syndrome. I hope it will not discourage you and other physicians from telling your patients what they need to hear. To do otherwise would be abdicating your responsibility. Perhaps instead of lecturing, a better approach might be to give (or mail) the patient a diet and say, "I hope this will help you have a healthier and happier life."
Dear Ann Landers: I was recently invited to the wedding of a family member and was appalled at what was included with the invitation. It was a "suggestion" for a wedding gift. The enclosed card read, "It would be wonderful if you could contribute to 'Jim and Betty's' dream honeymoon in Jamaica. The check should be made out to ... "
Is this something new? Am I out of date? Please reply in the paper, with no mention of where I live. — Appalled Plus
Dear Appalled: To my knowledge, it is not now, nor has it ever been, good manners to enclose a gift suggestion with any kind of invitation. I hope you will ignore that crude attempt to shake down friends and family members. Send whatever you wish. It is, however, OK for those who are being married for the second or third time to enclose a note saying, "No gifts, please. We have everything we need."
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.