All-night binges cause man to question wife's health

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DEAR ABBY: My beloved wife may be killing herself, and I cant 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 its 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 dont want to lose her, but I dont know what to do. If I try to dissuade her from cookie-baking, she gets extremely huffy, and its hurting our marriage.

MARRIED TO

THE COOKIE MONSTER

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 wifes 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 shes getting the amount of rest she needs. (And if she isnt, 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 Alzheimers 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 dont like that decision. In fact, two of my brothers have stopped calling Mom because theyre afraid she will ask if our father has died, and they dont 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 shes 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 shell be asking if your father has died. And its OK not to volunteer the information.

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.) Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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