Carolyn Hax: If somebody threatened to burn the gift I gave …


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DEAR READERS: While I’m away, readers give the advice.

DEAR CAROLYN: On people who seem to shut down around holidays:

Many people suffer from holiday depression. My husband had early memories of his parents screaming at each other. Until we talked this out, he had difficulty celebrating.

Been There

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DEAR CAROLYN: One December when I was in high school, our house burned down, my mother was already hospitalized, my father worked in a different city, and my grandmother, who was burned in the fire, died a few days later.

As an adult I would become very depressed around Thanksgiving and not know why until I talked it over with some friends. I realized I’d internalized all that pain and my body/mind recalled it like clockwork every year. Now I write myself a note in my new annual datebook to make preparations, as I know it’s coming, and I no longer endure the gray holidays like I …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

Ask Amy: My husband died, and this was my family’s response

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

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DEAR AMY: My husband died about four years ago. He died very suddenly two days before his 50th birthday from a very aggressive form of blood cancer. It was a shock to everyone, and very tragic.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

At that time, my older sister and my mom were in Korea, my younger brother in Hong Kong and my younger sister was local but pregnant. No one came to be with me.

A couple months after his death, we had a memorial service. It was beautiful. However, none of my immediate family attended. I had accepted this, because of the distance and my sister’s pregnancy.

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Now, however, I can’t understand why they couldn’t have sent at least one person to be there for me. My mom visits from Korea to help my younger sister with her children. Why couldn’t she come for me?

Shouldn’t they have been there for me without me asking for it?

My children are doing well. My older son (age 25) has been loving and supportive toward his 11-year-old sister. My husband’s side of the family has been supportive, and I …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

This model lost a leg because of an infection from tampons. Here’s what she wants you to know.

By Lindsey Bever | Washington Post

Lauren Wasser woke up in a hospital bed 80 pounds heavier than she was supposed to be — filled with fluids to try to flush the toxins from her body.

She struggled to move, and her feet felt like they were being lit with a lighter again and again. But the model did not know how dire her situation was — until she overheard a nurse discussing the surgery that would upend her life: Wasser, just 24 years old at the time, would need a below-the-knee amputation on her right leg.

“I just lost it,” she recalled in a telephone interview with The Washington Post. “I screamed and cried. I’m an athlete — my legs were everything. I had no idea what my life would be like without them.”

Wasser was on her period and using tampons in 2012 when she developed toxic shock syndrome. The rare but potentially fatal condition is typically caused by toxins from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, or staph.

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“Toxic shock syndrome has been associated primarily with the use of superabsorbent tampons,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It “can progress rapidly,” the Mayo Clinic notes, advising: “Call your doctor immediately if you have signs or symptoms of toxic shock syndrome. This is especially important if you’ve recently used tampons or if you have a skin or wound infection.”

Wasser lost part of her right leg and the toes on her left foot in 2012, but her misery hardly ended there.

“I’m in excruciating pain every day,” she said this week.

In the coming months, Wasser expects she’s “inevitably” going to have her other leg amputated as well. Wasser requires weekly treatments to manage …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Health

Travel Troubleshooter: A Holland America Antarctic cruise snafu

Dear Travel Troubleshooter: My wife and I are booked on a confirmed, prepaid Holland America Antarctic cruise from Chile to Buenos Aires, which was advertised as leaving from Valparaiso. Recently, we received a letter from Holland America announcing that for “operational reasons,” the port of embarkation was being changed to San Antonio, Chile, some 90 miles away.

Wanting to visit Chile for a few days before embarking, we had made non-reimbursable hotel reservations in both Santiago, where our flight from the U.S. arrives three days before sailing day, and Valparaiso. Both we and our travel agent have contacted Holland America, pointing out that its plan to transport passengers directly from the Santiago airport to the new departure point on sailing day will not work for us, since our airline reservations cannot be changed. We will lose the funds we have paid for our hotels, not to mention our lost few days in Chile.

Holland America’s response has been, “Sorry, if you read the fine print, you’d see we’re within our rights to make itinerary changes. You’re stuck.” I could understand if weather conditions or such made a change necessary after we’re on board, but “operational reasons” doesn’t have much validity.

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We would be satisfied if Holland America were to offer to make arrangements or at least offer to pay for transportation from Valparaiso to the new, distant departure port, versus just washing its hands of the matter. Cruise lines should be responsible for their arbitrary decisions, or acknowledge that they’ve advertised falsely.

— Robert Houston, Tucson, Arizona

Answer: You’re right, Holland America should help you get to your new port of embarkation. It’s the right thing to do.

This is a case where Holland America appeared to be …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

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