Dear Abby: My husband is in his early 50s. Over the past five years, he has developed a cough that has the whole family concerned. (He doesn't smoke and never has.) We have encouraged him to seek medical care, but he adamantly refuses, saying, "It doesn't bother me."His family has a history of allergies, which may well be his problem; however, his refusal to get help is putting a strain on our relationship. He coughs his way through conversations, movies, television programs and radio. If he laughs, he coughs. If he eats, he coughs.
I have had asthma since childhood, but I rarely have an attack because I get regular medical care and faithfully take my medication. I know that if I coughed and choked as often as my husband does, I would be miserable.
My husband insists that the problem is mine, and if I loved him, I would accept him as he is and tune out his coughing. Is he right? It worries me.
- Worried Wife
Dear Worried: Until you and your husband know there is no medical reason for his coughing, you have cause for concern. Make a deal with him. If he will go for a thorough physical exam and the results show nothing serious, you will try to tune out his coughing. Unless and until he consults a doctor to be sure he is in good health, continue to hound him.
Dear Abby: I read with interest and amusement how the sounds of the ice-cream truck affected the woman in Seattle. I have a story that may help.
Abby, my father-in-law will be 96 on July 11, and I'm still learning about the beauty of life from him.
My husband and I spent a Sunday with my father-in-law recently. As I usually do, I wandered into his back yard to weed, pick fruit and enjoy nature. The music blaring from two or three houses away was so loud I had to shout to be heard. I thought it was annoying, obnoxious and very inconsiderate. I asked my father-in-law if the music bothered him. Then I noticed he was swaying to the beat. "Oh, no!" he replied. "It lets me know I'm alive." It's all in one's perspective.
My husband has a severe hearing loss from factory noise. He can no longer hear birds, crickets, bells or whistles. He would love to trade places and be able to hear ice-cream trucks or the subtle sounds of nature's music. As a person with normal hearing, my first reaction to the loud music was annoyance, but perhaps I should be more like my husband and my father-in-law.
- Mrs. Gallegos in Long Beach, Calif.
Dear Mrs. Gallegos: Your father-in-law practices a philosophy to which I have long adhered: "When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade." Good for him and you as well for learning so quickly the lesson this wise man offered.
Dear Abby: I joined members of the International Brothernood of Motorcycle Campers (IBMC) who gather from various states for camping and camaraderie. One weekend we camped at Chamberlain Lake in northeast Connecticut.
On Saturday, we made an ice-cream run to Traveler Restaurant, Route 84, Exit 74, Union, Conn. There, in a place of honor on the wall, was your photograph and letter. It was like: WOW! After reading your column for years, I felt like I was meeting an old friend. It made me proud of you.
- Joseph E. Hicswa, Passaic, N.J.
Dear Joseph: How thoughtful of you to have written. Here's wishing you many more enjoyable ice-cream runs in the future.
Good advice for everyone - teens to seniors - is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
1997 Universal Press Syndicate
All of the Dear Abby columns for the past several years are available online. Search for "DEAR ABBY" in the Lifestyle section and the Deseret News archives.