lilysea: Oracle 3 (Oracle: thoughful)
[personal profile] lilysea

DEAR ABBY: Yesterday I was in a retail store with my service dog. The clerk asked me what kind of service dog she was and I replied, "She's my service dog." She kept pressing me as to exactly why I have one, so I asked her if she was inquiring about my disability. When she said, "Yes," I politely informed her that federal HIPAA laws protect my right to privacy. She then said -- loud enough for everyone in the store to hear -- "I don't know what the big deal is. I just want to know what the dog does for you."

Please let your readers know how to be around a person and their service animal:

1. You do not have the right to ask about the person's disability. To do so is rude. Most people prefer strangers not know their medical condition. The dog may be for PTSD, a hearing or seeing dog, or to alert the person to a medical emergency.

2. Children (and adults) need to understand that when service animals' jackets go on, the dogs know it's time to go to "work," and they take their job seriously. At that point, they are not pets and should not be treated as such. If a child rushes a service dog, the animal may react badly because it is there to protect its person.

3. You may ask to pet the dog, but don't assume it will be allowed. If given permission, the dog should be scratched under the chin only.

Service animals know their place. It's a shame that most people are not as polite. -- NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

DEAR N.O.Y.B.: Thank you for sharing this information. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act website (ada.gov): "Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person's disability."

lilysea: Arsehole (Arsehole)
[personal profile] lilysea
Dear Prudence,
I am an older, sexually conservative woman who got herpes from a man I was dating. He’s a pillar of the community and did not tell me he had herpes. I had a long dry spell before we started dating. My issue is that I have an unlabeled bottle of herpes medication in my desk drawer at work. My administrative assistant asked for some pain relievers, and I opened my desk drawer and shared from a labeled, over-the-counter bottle of acetaminophen. I saw her staring at the unlabeled bottle in the drawer. Later that day I went back to my office, and she and another person had actually opened the unlabeled bottle and were looking at the medicine! I was too stunned to say anything, and they left. I guess they looked at the color and numbers on the pills and looked up the medication. In the few months after that —I kid you not—several people at the office have “casually” mentioned herpes and how disgusting it is. At the company potluck, no one touched my dish. One co-worker asked about a red spot on my hand and said loudly, “Yuck, it looks like herpes!”

One odd thing about this is that I have been extraordinarily financially generous to the admin who peeked and told. I don’t understand why this is happening. I used to like my job, and I make a very high salary. If I leave the company, I fear this issue will follow me. I was not in the least bit promiscuous in my life (truly). I feel so ashamed, though.
—Pariah

Answer:
That is absolutely horrifying—both that your administrative assistant would paw through your unlabeled medication and that your co-workers are now mocking you for a confidential medical condition (one that, by the way, is both extremely common and easily managed with medication, and not something you should feel ashamed about or isolated by). What they’re doing, in addition to being cruel and unprofessional, is also a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which prohibits the disclosure of private medical information in the workplace. It’s unbelievably childish to treat a dish you prepared as somehow “contaminated,” doubly so when it’s common knowledge that herpes cannot be transmitted via potluck. The fact that this is your subordinate makes the issue additionally uncomfortable, but you do at least have the authority to correct her. It’s understandable that you felt too flustered and embarrassed to address the issue in the moment, but you should absolutely set up a meeting with her and make it clear that it’s wildly inappropriate for her to go through anyone else’s medication at work—labeled or otherwise—and that it is a potentially fireable offense. If your office has an HR department, you should bring them into the conversation, because (once again!) it’s not appropriate for employees to mock their colleagues for their perceived or actual medical conditions.

lilysea: Serious (Default)
[personal profile] lilysea
Q. Pets are not family, are they?: My childless sister “Sally” and I are close but are having a disagreement. Sally lives several hours away, and my 8-year-old daughter and I try to visit for the weekend about once per month. The problem is that my daughter has severe pet allergies, and Sally has two cats and a small terrier.

Though she keeps her house as clean as possible, the very presence of these pets causes my daughter to sneeze, congest, and sometimes break out in hives. I’ve repeatedly asked Sally to either get rid of them or keep them outside during our visits, but Sally claims that though she loves her niece, she can’t keep her pets outside all weekend because the cats are “indoor only,” the dog is too little to stay outside, and coyotes are a danger. She also told me that I was out of line to ask. Was I? They’re only animals, after all, and her niece is family. When she visits us she boards them or gets a sitter, so I don’t see why she can’t do the same when we visit. She’s also suggested that my daughter take allergy medication, but I find that out of line. Is it? How can we resolve this?

A: The most important thing to do here, I think, is to make sure you don’t let a conversation about reasonable accommodation turn into one about whether your sister’s pets “really count” as family. (I’m on your side in the sense that I think a human child’s health is paramount here, but I just don’t think it will be useful to turn this into a litigation on your respective reproductive choices.)

It’s absolutely fair of you to say that the present situation is dangerous to your daughter’s health. It’s also fair that your sister is anxious about leaving her dog outside for an entire weekend, especially if she lives in a coyote-heavy area. If she were willing and able to hire a pet sitter during your visits, that would be an ideal solution, but since she isn’t, you should advocate for your daughter’s health and stay in a nearby hotel so that she can get a full night’s sleep without having difficulty breathing.

Incidentally, unless your daughter has an issue with allergy medication, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t have some at the ready with you, given that she might have a reaction to someone else’s pet at any time. That doesn’t mean she’ll be suddenly able to sleep comfortably in a house with three small furry animals, but there’s nothing wrong with giving someone allergy medicine for an allergy attack.

minoanmiss: Girl holding a rainbow-colored oval, because one needs a rainbow icon (Rainbow)
[personal profile] minoanmiss
The comments on this one were particularly lively and contentious. Read more... )
lilysea: Serious (Default)
[personal profile] lilysea

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My stepfather’s grandson’s wedding is black-tie optional, and my stepfather’s children are renting him a tux. My mom, who is 90, thought she would wear a nice pants outfit with a dressy jacket, and is resistant to buying something new. She has been through a lot this year (treatment for lymphoma, cancer surgery, and she recently fell and broke her pelvis, so she is in a lot of pain).

I and my three sisters (my mom’s only children) live on the opposite coast, but we are now being pressured by the mother of the groom (my stepfather’s daughter) and my stepfather to see that she is outfitted appropriately -- not just for the wedding, but also for the rehearsal dinner (cocktail attire) and the wedding breakfast to be held the day after the wedding.

They have also expressed concerns about the shoes my mother prefers (very safe, comfortable, but not at all dressy). My sister even heard my stepfather tell her that if she doesn’t get something new to wear, she can stay home and not attend the wedding or other events.

My mother doesn’t stand up for herself, unfortunately. Two of us will be traveling to see her soon, and plan to take her shopping. My sister is even purchasing a few things for my mom that she will bring with her, in the hopes that maybe something will fit and work for this event.

Personally, I think it is extremely superficial of them to dictate what she wears (especially since the wedding is six months from now!). If it were me, I would just be thrilled they are both well enough to attend, regardless of how they are dressed.

Is my mother wrong to resist the request to buy something more formal? Or should the step-family back off?

GENTLE READER: What happened to the “optional” part?

While Miss Manners always advocates dressing properly for the occasion -- and generally abhors “optional,” as it just invites chaos -- the particulars of your mother’s dress seem to be unduly fixated upon here. There is certainly a lot of undue angst being put into this poor woman’s wardrobe that seemingly requires three separate outfits and uncomfortable, possibly dangerous, shoes.

If your mother can reasonably be jollied into the shopping expedition or accepts one of your sister’s choices for one new outfit, fine. But if not, please talk to your stepfather about “backing off.” Surely this cannot really be worth all of this fuss.

cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Annie: For the past year, my wife, "Janie," has been getting hot flashes. She is always broiling in the house while the rest of the family freezes. She insists on keeping the temperature at 70, while the rest of us are most comfortable at 74. She recently purchased warm slippers for everyone and suggested we wear long sleeves.

Annie, I like to wear T-shirts and walk barefoot. I work long hours, and when I come home, I like to shed most of my clothes. I pay the mortgage and should not be freezing in my own home. Our family doctor said the hot flashes could last for years. I say she is disrespectful to all of us. She says I am insensitive. We are at an impasse.

I found out she is looking for an apartment. I love my wife and beg you to help us before it's too late. — Upstate New York Where It's 20 Degrees Outside

Dear New York: You think you're uncomfortable? Imagine how your wife feels with an internal thermostat that periodically sets her on fire. The U.S. Dept. of Energy recommends that your home thermostat be set at 68 degrees in winter (78 degrees in summer). You can warm up more easily than your wife can cool down.

We recommend a compromise. You offer to be comfortable in sweats if she will speak to her doctor about medication to control her hot flashes or visit a health food store for more natural remedies. A pair of slippers and some hot cocoa seems a small price to pay to save your marriage.
cereta: Cover of Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots (do princesses wear hiking boots?)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I am the mom of two sons, ages 13 and 14. When I took them for their annual physical last summer, their pediatrician said this would be the last year I would be in the room while he examined my sons.

I don't understand why I should have to leave if my children are OK with my being there. My sons are comfortable with me, and I am an only parent. It seems to me that more and more rights are being taken away from parents. Am I out of line for feeling this way? -- EXAM ROOM OFF-LIMITS

DEAR OFF-LIMITS: Yes, if you trust your sons' doctor, which I hope you do. By ages 13 and 14, your sons are maturing into manhood. As their hormones and bodies change, they may have questions and concerns they would be more comfortable -- and less embarrassed -- talking to a male doctor about than their mother. Privacy in the examination room would give them the chance to do that.
cereta: two blue clay tea cups with tan flowers (tea cups)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my soul mate for 25 years. We get along great -- she's my best friend and a good mother to our three kids. (She takes care of my mom who lives with us, too.) The only problem is, she loves to sleep.

She will do anything for us except wake up a few hours early without being mad at the world. She gets our kids off to school with no problem, but then returns to bed. I run a small construction company and need someone to answer the phones and do secretary stuff. Our books are a mess, the house is decent, but she won't let me hire a part-time secretary.

She gets up at noon and spends the rest of the day "catching up." It's driving a wedge in our marriage. My friends and their wives do things together on weekends, but not mine. She sleeps until 2 or 3 p.m. on the weekends.

I work a lot of Saturdays, and when I go to customers' homes and see the wife outside gardening, it breaks my heart. I have threatened to leave, and she works on it for a couple days and then falls back into the same old habits. Help! -- HURTING HUSBAND IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HUSBAND: Not everyone requires the same amount of sleep in order to function. Some folks may be fine with five hours, but others need eight, nine or even 10. If your wife needs more than that, there may be an underlying problem of some kind that she should discuss with her doctor.

In marriage there needs to be compromise. If you are experiencing stress because you don't have enough help in your business, then you need to hire someone because your wife is already doing all she can taking care of three kids and your mother. And you shouldn't need her permission.

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