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home : columns : dear harriette October 23, 2020

9/23/2020 7:48:00 AM
Husband hasn't been to the doctor for years

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just learned that an old family friend has come down with prostate cancer. He said he has to have surgery and probably chemotherapy and radiation. He didn't look very good and he was definitely upset when he told me. I learned from his wife that he hadn't gone to the doctor for a long time after he was feeling poorly. She was furious with him. I totally understand how frustrating it sounded, and I am in the same boat in a way. My husband doesn't believe in going to the doctor. He takes herbs and vitamins and exercises a lot, but he is of a certain age and hasn't had a physical in years. Recently, he has had some urinary problems, and I need him to get checked out. I don't want him to wait and then if he does have a problem it's too late to deal with it. How can I get him to get a checkup? -- Go to the Doctor

DEAR GO TO THE DOCTOR: Use the "scared straight" tactic. Tell your husband everything you know about your friend who was just diagnosed, including that he took forever to go see a doctor. Explain that there are many conditions that can be treated successfully if caught early enough. Suggest a complete physical as a way to determine his overall health. If anything needs to be addressed, chances are that one physical will help to figure that out. Offer to set up the appointment and go with him.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was in a high-level meeting the other day and made a critical observation of one of the top executives. Turns out that my comment fell flat, in part, because one of the people in the room is very close to the person I criticized. What I said was true, but I fear that it will come back to bite me. How can I smooth things over? I don't want to lie about anything, but I do want to maintain a positive working relationship with the whole team, especially those at the top. -- Foot in Mouth

DEAR FOOT IN MOUTH: If you have any relationship with the executive you criticized, start there. Go directly to that person and admit that you said something that might have ruffled a few feathers. Tell the person what you said and what you meant in the most constructive way possible. At least it won't be a surprise when the other person likely doubles back to report on what you said.

In the future, reserve criticism of executives and others to private meetings. Even then, be constructive. When you have comments that may seem sharp or judgmental, package them in such a way that they have solutions attached to them. When you can see a way out of a potential problem or conflict with a person, frame it that way. It may soften the criticism without losing the impact of your thoughts. `

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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