Dear Amy: For many months while dealing with health and mobility issues, I’ve noticed that my husband has had odd lapses of memory. Nothing about these incidents indicated potential harm of self or of others, but they were/are completely out of character, quite dissimilar in nature, and seem random.
We have been married for a long time and have been seeing a couple’s counselor regarding issues related to connecting with one another.
As my concern grew, I tried to discuss this with my physician, but she declined, saying she could only discuss my health issues – not his.
I also approached our counselor, but he said that discussing this with him would be a breach of the “couples” aspect, and not appropriate. This made sense to me.
I decided to contact my husband’s doctor.
Due to the delicate nature of the issue, I specifically said this has to be confidential, and the information cannot be from me.
At my husband’s next appointment, his doctor said, “Your wife is concerned about your …” and told him! When my husband came home, he told me about it.
I’m floored, feel betrayed, and do not yet know what the impact of this breach of confidentiality will be on our marriage/relationship.
Should I talk to my husband about this?
– Lost, Alone, Worried
Dear Lost: I’m so sorry you are going through this.
Your husband’s physician should not have promised anonymity. Presumably your husband’s cognitive changes wouldn’t have surfaced during the course of a typical checkup. How else would the doctor have known enough about these changes to ask your husband about them, without someone else notifying him?
If your relationship with your husband were in a better place, you would go through this together – as rough patch that you would encounter and struggle through as a team.
If you weren’t feeling so defensive and anchored to your own feelings of betrayal, you would realize that the cat’s out of the bag, and now you can try to approach this as a supportive partner.
Yes, talk to your husband. His challenges might be a result of medications he is taking, or an undiagnosed issue that requires further investigation.
Now that your concerns are out in the open, I assume your counselor will help you to discuss it in a session, as a way to assist you in communicating about this vital issue, which of course affects both of you.
Dear Amy: My husband and I are expecting our first baby soon. We want to introduce the baby to extended family members at a family party we plan to host later this summer.
We recently found out that several aunts and uncles refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination because they don’t “believe” in it.
We don’t want to put our infant at risk from unvaccinated people at this party.
How should we handle this situation safely and also keep the family peace?
Should we invite these relatives, but only on the condition that they get vaccinated before the party?
Should we require proof?
Or should we not invite them at all, saying we wish we could invite them, but that they pose a risk to our child who cannot be vaccinated yet?
I am struggling with being tactful toward others, while honoring my primary responsibility of protecting my baby.
– New Parents
Dear New Parents: Babies seem to be at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 illness than older children because of their undeveloped immune systems (check with your doctor).
Because of this, you should contact ALL family members, saying, “We are eager for everyone to meet our new baby, but everyone coming into contact with her needs to be vaccinated against the COVID virus. Please send me a photo of your vaccination card so we can add you to the invite list!”
Even with precautions, it is probably wisest for every guest to also wear a mask (and wash their hands!) when meeting your baby. Again, ask your doctor.
Dear Amy: Reflecting on the letter from “Sad Colorado Mom” and her exclusionary “popularity contest” for her middle-school students, I know teaching is hard because I am a retired teacher.
I, however, sought out all kids, including the quiet, shy, and awkward kids. I knew they needed me most. I found creative ways to help them feel heard and valued. Years later, I received letters of appreciation.
That has been my greatest reward and changed me forever.
– Retired Teacher
Dear Teacher: Add my appreciation to those of your former students.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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