Dear Abby: I feel like a terrible wife when my husband gets sick — not majorly sick, but with a run-of-the-mill cold. Men can be terrible babies when they are sick. It is a cold! He’s not dying. I happen to have a cold right now, and I am functioning just fine and not moaning and groaning about it.
Also, I am not his mother! When he whines, I shut down or become touchy and crabby. If he doesn’t whine, I’m happy to take care of him, but I can’t take the time during the day to lie in bed with him (I work from home, so I am accessible to him) to keep him warm. I can’t stay up until midnight rubbing his back, and I cannot tolerate the sappy whining.
I made him aware of my disdain for the way sick men behave a number of years ago, but he still acts like the world is ending when he has a cold. How do I tend to him without feeling resentful? — Not his mother
Dear Not his mother: Cold season is in full swing now. Your husband didn’t catch one on purpose. When people feel fragile they need TLC, and he is no exception.
Here’s how to “tend” to him: Keep a supply of chicken soup on hand, and insist he keep drinking it to stay hydrated. (Chicken soup has magical curative powers.) If he has a headache, there are over-the-counter meds he can take, so suggest it when he complains. While you’re at the pharmacy, buy a heating pad and an extension cord for him so you can keep working if he has the chills. (You probably caught his cold while you were cuddling.) Sanitize any surface he may have touched.
Even if you aren’t feeling sympathetic, try to appear as if you are — and keep your sense of humor. A final suggestion: Sleep apart until he’s no longer contagious, which may give him an incentive to recover faster.
Dear Abby: Every year, my adult siblings and mother exchange Christmas gifts. Since my husband died in 2012, my sister has told me she has made a gift in our name to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She also makes a production of telling this to my children.
Abby, the MDA sends the person in whose name a donation has been made a notification about it, but we have never received a notice of any kind from them. When I contacted them and asked, I was told a donation was never received.
I always give my sister an expensive gift. After finding out what has been going on, I am really upset. Is this acceptable? I have no problem with not exchanging gifts, but this seems to be a way to receive without giving. — Hurt in Georgia
Dear Hurt: Lying is not acceptable, and your sister should be ashamed of herself if that’s what has been going on. Tell her that, having received no notification from the MDA acknowledging her donation, you contacted them to ask why and were “shocked” to hear no donation had been made. If she can’t produce proof of payment, from now on agree to exchange Christmas cards — if you’re still speaking.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.