DEAR ABBY: This refers to your answer to "Out of Ideas," whose wife refused to go to the doctor for checkups.
Your answer was very glib. I, too, refuse to go to the doctor -- my reason is fear, pure and simple. I am so frightened of hearing something bad, I just don't go at all. The word "tests" is enough to send my blood pressure soaring. In fact, I can't get an accurate blood pressure reading due to fear of doctors.
I'm not as bad as "Out of Ideas'" wife; I've gone to the doctor on occasion when I've had uncomfortable symptoms that drove me there. But the experience was sheer torture. The doctors kept saying, "Calm down, calm down" -- but I simply couldn't. I'm in my 50s and I've never had a mammogram, and I never go for regular checkups.
I would be delighted to learn how to overcome this deep-seated terror, but so far, no luck. I think you should consider this in relation to "Out of Ideas'" wife. She may need help, and it has nothing to do with her intelligence. -- SCARED TO DEATH
DEAR SCARED -- and I hope the "to death" is just a figure of speech. I told "Out of Ideas": "Short of hog-tying her, there is nothing you can do. Every intelligent person realizes that routine physical checkups (physical and dental) are essential to maintaining good health; and early detection, should there be a problem, has saved many lives."
The help that both of you need is psychotherapy to overcome your fear of doctors. Literally tens of thousands of women could have added years to their lives had they caught a malignancy sooner.