DEAR ABBY: My beloved wife may be killing herself, and I can't stop her. Once or twice a week she stays up all night baking cookies for her "friends" at work -- huge numbers of cookies. Over Christmas, she was up night after night baking, and it's very worrisome.
My wife is 63 and in a demanding profession. I cannot believe that the body can tolerate sleepless nights like this. She says she takes "a nap" in her car at lunchtime, but I doubt it.
How can I stop her from this self-destructive habit? I don't want to lose her, but I don't know what to do. If I try to dissuade her from cookie-baking, she gets extremely huffy, and it's hurting our marriage. -- MARRIED TO THE COOKIE MONSTER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR MARRIED: You appear to be a concerned and loving spouse. Sleep patterns can vary from individual to individual, and different people require different amounts of sleep to function well.
However, because you are concerned about how your wife's sleep pattern could affect her general health, suggest to her -- and possibly her physician -- that she might benefit from discussing the subject with a sleep disorder specialist to determine whether she's getting the amount of rest she needs. (And if she isn't, how she can get it.) I hope this helps.
DEAR ABBY: Last May, the six of us had to put our 85-year-old mother and 90-year-old father into an assisted-living facility -- Mom for Alzheimer's and Dad for heart problems and kidney failure. Our mother is in the late middle stages of her disease.
Dad died on July 2. My two siblings who live less than two hours away from Mom decided that it would not be a good idea to tell her that her husband had passed away. Three of us don't like that decision. In fact, two of my brothers have stopped calling Mom because they're afraid she will ask if our father has died, and they don't want to lie to her. She has been told that he is "sleeping a lot."
What do you think about the way this is being handled? I cannot tell you how sad I am about this and the fact that we actually "lost" both parents last July. I am the second-oldest child and could really use some good advice. -- SAD IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SAD: You have my sympathy for your loss. However, I advocate for telling the truth, unless it is a cruel one. In a case like this, where your mother has no short-term memory, each time your mother hears that her husband is dead it will be as if she's hearing it for the first time. It would be a kindness not to put her through that -- again and again.
P.S. At her stage of illness, I doubt that she'll be asking if your father has died. And it's OK not to volunteer the information.
DEAR ABBY: I operate a home-based business. My home phone number doubles as my business fax number. A day does not go by that we don't get one or two unsolicited faxed advertisements with the latest "hot" stock tip or resort vacation package. I have called the "do not fax" number listed on the faxes each time, but they continue to arrive -- often at 3 a.m. If you hang up, they just keep calling. Isn't there some federal or state law to regulate this practice? -- LOSING SLEEP IN OHIO
DEAR LOSING SLEEP: The federal government has a Do Not Call Registry. The number to call to sign up is: 888-382-1222. (You must renew every five years to remain on it.) If, after three months of signing up, you still receive unwanted faxes, you may file a complaint by calling the same phone number or logging on to www.donotcall.gov. (Alternatively, unplug your phone when you go to bed to guarantee you won't be disturbed.)
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 $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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