DEAR ABBY: I'm a 48-year-old woman. Occasionally, I suffer from night sweats and have had a couple of hot flashes.
My husband enjoys turning on the mattress heater in our bed. He has turned my side on by mistake a few times, which caused me to roast and have an uncomfortable night. Even when he heats only his side it's too hot for me. I wake up sweating and see him lying naked, with all his covers flipped onto me!
I have suggested he cuddle with me if he's cold. But he insists on using the electric heater. I don't see any reason to waste the electricity, especially when it makes me uncomfortable. I am thinking about separate beds. Please help. - Overheated in Idaho
DEAR OVERHEATED: Separate beds might be a good idea. That's a practical solution for some couples. But before making the investment, have a talk with your doctor about your hot flashes (if you haven't already), because they may be caused by hormonal changes in your body, and he or she may be able to recommend a medication that can help with them.
DEAR ABBY: I recently learned that the husband of a friend of mine has cancer. She shared the information with me during our last meeting. I was shocked and hardly knew how to respond. She is not a close friend, but we are fond of each other and enjoy getting together for a drink every now and then.
I want to let her know that I'm thinking of her and that I'm available if she needs anything, but I'm afraid of saying something cliched or insensitive. What is the most tactful way to do this?
- Challenged in Oklahoma
DEAR CHALLENGED: Contact your friend. Tell her you were shocked by the news she gave you, which may have been a cry for help. Make a point of staying in touch by calling to ask how she and her husband are doing.
Tell her you know she may be overwhelmed, and volunteer to bring food if she's too busy or stressed to cook, run errands for her or even do the laundry if her hands are full with caregiving. I can almost guarantee that if you do, you and this lady will be close friends in the future regardless of the outcome of her husband's illness.