Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 30 years. We have four wonderful children, all college graduates with great jobs in their chosen careers. They are also involved in long-term relationships with people we like and respect.
So what’s the problem? One of my daughters is at least 40 pounds overweight and doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. No one else in our family has a weight problem. We have always led an active lifestyle and encouraged healthy eating habits. We first noticed our daughter’s weight gain when we visited her at college. Her roommates were overweight, and she said they all ate when they were stressed. She seems to have continued with those bad habits.
Whenever I try to discuss this with her, she shuts me down and says she doesn’t want to talk about it. Her boyfriend is also overweight, so I’m sure that doesn’t help. I worry that if she doesn’t get a handle on this while she’s young, it will become more difficult as she gets older. Do you have any suggestions that will help me encourage her to lose weight? — Frustrated Mom
Dear Mom: Your daughter knows she is overweight and probably doesn’t like it any more than you do. But losing weight is difficult, and she must be motivated. Since her college friends and her boyfriend also have weight issues, she may have come to see her size as acceptable, and her eating habits also reflect the way she has been living for the past few years.
We know how hard it is for you to see your daughter struggle with something that will have an impact on her health, but she is an adult, and this is a do-it-yourself project. Just tell her you love her and want her to be healthy, and hope that she will do the rest on her own.
Dear Annie: Thank you for reprinting the list of symptoms of colon cancer. Could you add this one: extreme fatigue?
My husband noticed none of the symptoms listed. But when he became so tired after getting dressed in the morning that he had to lie down and rest, I finally got him to see a doctor. The fatigue was caused by internal bleeding from a tumor in his colon. He needed a blood transfusion and surgery. With chemo, he survived his stage-three colon cancer and has been cancer-free for seven years. I won’t comment on men who refuse to see a doctor regularly, but I’m sure you get the picture. — Vermont
Dear Vermont: Thank you for the additional information. The problem with many symptoms is that they are vague. Things like fatigue can fall into many categories, some serious, some not, and both doctors and patients tend to dismiss them until they are advanced enough to be of concern. This is why it is so important for each of us to be an advocate for our own health.
Dear Annie: I would like to respond to “Disgusted in N.Y.,” who said that her 85-year-old aunt never received a bath by the staff while in the hospital for six weeks.
I also ran into this problem with my 95-year-old father. When he was hospitalized, he went more than three months without a bath. However, it was not the fault of the nurses or anyone else. My father absolutely refused to be bathed.
When I approached the staff about this, they said it was his right to refuse. He is extremely private and would not allow anyone to give him any care that he felt impinged on his dignity. A patient of sound mind has the right to refuse treatment.
I’m not saying neglect doesn’t happen in some facilities. But before you judge, find out the whole story and carefully question the patient alone and in front of the health professional. — A Daughter in Florida
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.