Husband With Fatal Disease Is Determined To Enjoy Life Now

Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: My husband, who is 55, has been diagnosed with Pick's disease, or frontotemporal dementia. His prognosis is from two to seven years -- only God knows. We are handling this with better-than-average concern. It is his diabetes that everyone keeps going on about. He's on medication and his diabetes is under control.

My problem is, I let my husband eat whatever he wants within reason. If we're out to dinner and he wants ice cream, or asks me to buy him his favorite lemon cookies, I don't argue. When people tell me I shouldn't do that, my husband replies that he is already dying, so why shouldn't he enjoy his life now?

He still enjoys baseball and taking our granddaughter to the zoo. He is still mobile and, in fact, has recently lost 45 pounds. People don't understand his attitude, but he is right. He is dying, and I am letting him enjoy his final years. Am I wrong for doing this? I want him to enjoy what he can now, as there will come a time when he can't. -- LOVES HIM IN NEBRASKA

DEAR LOVES HIM: Please accept my sympathy for your husband's diagnosis. As someone who also believes in quality of life rather than quantity, I see nothing wrong in allowing him those pleasures he enjoys. For your husband, the countdown to zero has begun. You are both being rational and realistic. Clarify that fact for the naysayers or ignore them.


DEAR ABBY: I am a woman who suffers from syncope. I become lightheaded whenever I must have blood drawn or a needle prick -- it doesn't matter which. My physician and her nurse always accommodate me by allowing me to lie down during these procedures, and consequently I have never fainted.

However, if I go elsewhere for a procedure, as I recently did to a free medical screening, after telling the medical personnel about the syncope, the reactions I typically receive range from a look like I have two heads to comments like: "Oh, this will be real quick; you won't feel a thing," "Don't watch" or "Think of something else."

Well, I did experience an episode of syncope during that last screening, and it was very embarrassing. Why won't medical personnel listen to what a patient tells them? Who knows my body better than I do? -- SYNCO-PEEVED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR SYNCO-PEEVED: Believe me, I empathize. However, free screenings can be as jam-packed as a casting call for "American Idol." Overwhelmed medical personnel may not be able to accommodate someone who has special needs. That's why it's important when you hear comments such as those you mentioned that you insist on being helped by someone who understands what the implications of syncope are. You may have to wait a bit longer, but it may prevent a blackout.


DEAR ABBY: Should a mother call her son if he is a father to wish him a Happy Father's Day? -- ANDRIETTA IN NEW YORK

DEAR ANDRIETTA: That would be a nice gesture. He qualifies.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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