Annie's Mailbox: Should we tell boss about partner's indescretions?

Dear Annie: I work in a doctor’s office where the husband and wife are both physicians. They have staggered work schedules and aren’t in the office at the same time. The wife’s sister also works in our office.

Some time ago, we employees were fed up because the male doctor was fooling around after hours with his sister-in-law. Someone finally told the wife, who fired the hussy. Much later, the sister-in-law was hired back. I’m assuming there were many promises made, but I can assure you, the two are at it again. They stay late together, and the evidence of their tryst is there in the morning. I don’t think the wife is aware of it. Meanwhile, the sister-in-law struts around the office and gloats about her relationship. It makes the rest of us truly uncomfortable.

How do we let the wife know what’s going on? Nobody wants to tell her the bad news, and we worry her husband will be angry with whoever spills the beans. But I feel terribly guilty. What should we do?

— Wish I Didn’t Know

Dear Wish: You and at least one other employee should ask to speak privately with the husband. Explain that the sister-in-law is bragging about her relationship with him and it is affecting office morale. He will surely understand that this open “secret” means his wife is bound to find out, and soon.

Dear Annie: From the time my son, “Joe,” was a teenager, I had no control over his behavior. His father was away most evenings and weekends “entertaining customers,” which really meant he was out with the guys.

Joe found occasional temporary jobs, but never wanted to work. He was an adult when my husband and I divorced, and for a time, he lived with his father and stepmother and freeloaded off of them.

I turned 71 last year and retired. Through careful budgeting, my husband and I have enough funds to live on. Joe is 51 and now claims he has emphysema and is unable to work. (He hasn’t seen a doctor, but he was a heavy smoker.) His father has a bad heart and figures he’ll die first, and he expects me to support Joe after he runs through whatever money Dad leaves him. I cannot afford to do that.

Joe refuses to help around the house, mow the lawn, clean or do anything else. I want nothing to do with him. Father and son both lived their lives to please themselves while I worked two jobs. I no longer feel this is my problem. But if Joe actually is suffering from emphysema, is there someplace he can get low-cost help?

— Still His Mother

Dear Still: Joe will need to see a physician and be diagnosed. If he does have emphysema, he may qualify for disability benefits or Medicaid, but he cannot simply claim the illness without medical evidence. There may be a nearby free clinic, or he could ask at local hospitals whether they will examine him for a minimal fee. He (or you) could also call 2-1-1 and see what help is available for Joe in your area.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Getting Anxious,” who said she suffers from hyperhidrosis. I, too, was embarrassed by excessive sweating. I hated shaking hands and wearing fitted shirts.

A number of years ago, I opted for the surgery. They do one side at a time because, yes, it is invasive. The recovery was hard and painful, but the end result was worth it. I had one side done, and that hand and armpit no longer sweat. I am now anxious to have the other side fixed. I would encourage her to do it.

— Saved by Surgery

Dear Saved: The decision to have surgery is up to the individual since everyone handles it differently, but we appreciate your positive testimony.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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