Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: For more than 20 years, I had a best friend, “James,” who loved me very much. We did everything together and chatted online frequently.
One day, everything stopped. I didn’t see him online as usual. After three days, I grew worried and contacted some mutual friends. A week later, he sent me an explosive, angry e-mail, blaming me for “destroying his life.” He listed some specific accusations that made little sense. I became so upset that I canceled some of our scheduled engagements.
A few months later, James had two “mild” strokes, and I realized the change in his personality was undoubtedly the result of a previous stroke that had gone unrecognized. If anyone had known, he might have been medically helped and his personality saved. Meanwhile, his anger at me has never abated. I made every attempt to resolve our differences, but a few days ago, he sent another weird e-mail saying he never wanted to be my friend again.
I lost my best friend to a stroke and found a bitter and unforgiving stranger attacking me. It hurt so much to block his e-mails that I am getting counseling.
Please make sure your readers realize that if someone’s personality changes suddenly, there could be a serious reason. I never had a chance to say goodbye to my friend. I hope no one else loses what I did. — Victim of a Stroke
Dear Victim: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. According to the American Stroke Association (strokeassociation.org), these are the symptoms of a stroke:
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
To help identify a stroke in others, there is also the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale, better known as FAST:
• FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
• ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
• SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can he or she repeat the sentence correctly?
• TIME: If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 911 or get to the hospital fast.
Dear Annie: My husband’s older brother was married last year, and we have since discovered that his wife is a compulsive liar. My brother-in-law is oblivious, but it hurts us to see him being treated this way by a woman he loves. Should we tell him his wife is constantly lying to him, or should we just butt out and mind our own business? — Nebraska
Dear Nebraska: If the lies are specific and damaging to his relationship with the family (e.g., she says your husband stole her purse), you may correct the misimpression. If she is lying about how much money she spent on an outfit, that’s not your business. Pick your battles carefully, or you will lose all of them.
Dear Annie: Perhaps “Life’s a Beach” might consider my surefire way to get rid of unwanted guests. After dinner, I put all the dishes on the floor so the dog can lick them clean. I then pick them up and put them directly into the cupboards. You will never see those guests again. — Lick ‘Em Clean
Dear Lick: We sure hope you pull all those dishes out of the cupboards and wash them as soon as the guests leave. Yuck.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more, visit www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.28.10