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My husband is sick but won't go to the doctor

He has swelling, fatigue, diarrhea: I know he needs help but he refuses

Cary Tennis
September 30, 2011 4:01AM (UTC)

Mr. Tennis,

After reading the story of the lady that pushes herself to the point of illness, I felt I must write to you about my husband. Although he refuses to go to a doctor, I know he is very ill. If he goes outside to mow, or even spray weeds, he is sick for days afterward. If he helps vacuum or mop, he is sick again.


He is tired all the time. His feet, knees and one hand swell often. Now, his mouth is sore and his face is swollen. I see to it he eats one real good meal a day. Ever since I have known him he has had chronic diarrhea; he says there is no blood. We cannot make plans to go anywhere or do anything because he spends so much time in the bathroom.

Thank you for your concern.



Dear Worried,

Unlike the woman in the article mentioned above, your husband is not pushing himself too hard. He is simply ill.

Get your husband to a doctor. If you can make an appointment for today, then make the appointment. Do it now. If you can't get him to a doctor, then take him to the emergency room of a hospital.


Put him in the car and drive him there. If you don't drive, get someone else to drive him. Or put him in a taxi. Or take the bus or the subway. Or call the doctor and have an ambulance come out and get him. He needs to be seen by a doctor.

There are many things this could be. I can't say. I'm not a doctor. But I've been a patient and I've been a husband who refused to go to the doctor so I speak from experience: Get your husband to a doctor.


After he goes, and you are home, and you have some idea of what is going on, I would like you to do me a favor, if you wouldn't mind. Write me back and tell me how it turned out. I'd like to know.

I used to not like doctors, partly because my mom didn't like doctors and she told us all not to trust them. But I can tell you this: After what I've been through, I like doctors a lot more than I used to. They can be kind of scary and a bit of a pain, but they're really great when they save your life.

Creative Getaway


Citizens of the Dream

What? You want more advice?


Cary Tennis

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