Dear Annie: We have a friend whose spouse has many medical concerns. They are serious and can be life-threatening. However, in my opinion, the biggest concern is that every time we are with them, the conversation turns to these medical conditions. My own view is, "What a wonderful world!" But they see it in totally different terms.
We listen to the same health problems again and again and again. We understand it's a horrible thing to live with these numerous health issues, but these medical problems could be lessened if the spouse would be more responsible. What can be done to stop the constant conversation about health problems? — So Tired
Dear So Tired: It is important that, as a friend, you have lots of empathy for your friend's spouse with a serious, life-threatening condition. At the same time, part of being a good friend is having fun with them. Next time the conversation shifts to his medical issues, listen for a short amount of time to show that you care, and then change the subject to something more joyful.
If they try to bring it back to a tale of illnesses, explain that you are not an expert and she should save the details for her next visit to the doctor.
Dear Annie: I read with interest the letter from Karen in Kansas City about mice.
Last winter, I noticed evidence of mice in our pantry: holes in bags of birdseed, herb stuffing and chocolate. Being a completely sappy animal lover (yes, even mice — they are so cute), I bought two Havahart traps and captured 12 mice over a two-week period. Or maybe it was one mouse 12 times, but I'm convinced it was the former as there has been no evidence of mice since then.
To be sure the mice don't return, you must release them at least one mile away so that they can't find their way back. Luckily, we have a field about that distance from our house, so no one else should have visits from "our" mice.
I'm an artist and occasionally put a mouse in my paintings. — Mad About Mice
Dear Mad about Mice: I love the image of a sweet little mouse sneaking into one of your paintings. What a clever idea! Thank you for sharing your tips to humanely trap and release mice. As a fellow animal lover, I welcome your kind and thoughtful wisdom.
Dear Annie: I just read the excellent letter from "Florida Fan" about people ill-equipped to handle problems related to family tragedies. The local Rockbridge Area Hospice in Lexington, Virginia, conducts a series of workshops entitled "Ducks in a Row," which deals with most of the situations mentioned in the letter. This is a monthly, 6 1/2-hour meeting with a workbook included, to enumerate and outline what to do, who to contact over a wide range of situations and how to get in touch with them. My wife and I are engaged in this workshop now. It certainly makes planning for that inevitable date much easier. — Still a While Before We Go
Dear Still a While: I hope it's a very long while indeed before you go — but your letter raises the importance of preparing now nonetheless. I've heard good things about the "Ducks in a Row" workshop. Thanks for suggesting a helpful resource.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]
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