Dear Annie: I am a young lady in my 20s, and I think I've found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I want to start a family and build a life with him, but I don't know how that's going to happen.
"Jonathan" takes care of his mother and father. They are on disability, even though they aren't truly disabled. They don't drive, but can do anything other people do. It's just hard for them. His parents are wonderful people and I love them to death, but Jonathan drops everything to tend to them, whether it's going to the grocery store or lending them money. It's hard for me to think we could have a family of our own when he already has one, and it's a big responsibility.
Jonathan works hard every day and can never say no to his parents, and his father would give him plenty of attitude if he did. I would do anything for my parents, but when is it too much? -- The Young Lady
Dear Lady: Most people on disability have a reason, so when you say his parents are not "truly disabled," you could be wrong. The things that are hard for them, along with their inability to drive, could make their lives more difficult than you realize. And a man who takes such good care of his parents might make an excellent husband and father. However, if you think his parents are somehow scamming the system and taking advantage of their son, you might want to back away from this relationship. Jonathan is unlikely to curtail his level of responsibility and would resent you if you forced the issue.
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We hope you will have a serious talk with Jonathan about this, so you can see where his priorities are, and how deeply they conflict with yours.
Dear Annie: "A Frustrated South Dakotan," says he has epilepsy with "very minor seizures," and is unhappy that his mother restricts his activities. Your recommendation of the Epilepsy Foundation website is excellent. There are a couple of specific points I would like to address:
1. States have regulations against people driving when they may have a sudden loss of consciousness for any reason (seizures, narcolepsy, low blood sugar). This is for the protection of everyone on the road and sidewalk. If a person who knowingly has uncontrolled seizures causes an accident, he may be at risk for criminal charges. At the very least, his insurance rates will go up.
2. Seizures often occur without warning, making some activities dangerous, including bathing or swimming without a close observer, being the only adult in charge of small children, etc. One goal of seizure treatment is to be able to do what others do, and this goal can be achieved with proper planning and modifications. "Frustrated" should work with a neurologist to get the seizures under control.
3. If "Frustrated" had a seizure and fell, he could get frostbite in the winter or heatstroke in the summer. Nonetheless, he could walk alone by agreeing on a route and calling home when he reaches his destination.
I suggest that "Frustrated" and his mom explore the EFA website, then draw up a contract they can both live with -- one that will keep him safe and reduce Mom's anxiety. -- Dr. B.B., Neurologist
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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