Dear Abby: After surgery, doctor becomes the patient, and he’s not a good one

Though his wife is a nurse experienced in this kind of procedure, the recuperating physician refuses to follow her directions.

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DEAR ABBY: My physician husband recently had a total hip replacement. (Orthopedics is not his specialty.) I’m a board-certified registered nurse with 40 years of experience who used to work inpatient orthopedics.

He refuses to follow the surgeon’s directions or mine, which are the same. He believes he knows more than all of us combined. However, when the home health nurse and physical therapist came, he accepted everything they told him. When I told him he doesn’t respect my professional opinion, he didn’t respond. Then I told him he’d insulted my integrity, and he blew up and accused me of being crazy.

History will soon repeat itself because he has to have his other hip done in a few months. I am to the point of letting the chips fall where they may and letting his outcomes (good or bad) be his sole responsibility. However, this is difficult to do as a wife and nurse. Plus, I will have to live with the fallout of any suboptimal outcomes. Your advice? — HIP SERVICE IN FLORIDA

DEAR HIP SERVICE: Whether caused by a painful recovery or the drugs he has been prescribed, your husband’s behavior is self-defeating. Because he ignores your and his surgeon’s advice, you have no choice but to let the chips fall where they may. You can suggest and warn until you’re hoarse, and your husband will continue to tune you out. The person who will have to live with the consequences is your noncompliant husband.

Allow me to offer a suggestion: Hire a nurse to tend to him after the second hip replacement and stay safely out of the line of fire. The peace of mind will be worth the money.

DEAR ABBY: I have a niece who is bipolar. She was put into rehab at the age of 20 and has been clean and sober for the last three years. We have always been close, but on a family visit, she asked my opinion about a job choice, and I was honest with her. Because it wasn’t what she wanted to hear, she is extremely distant now. I am no longer “Auntie.” She calls me by my first name only. Weekly calls have ceased.

I have championed my niece, supported her emotionally when she had problems and helped her out financially. Her mother says if you don’t agree with her (even though she solicits your opinion), you are then “against” her. What’s the best way to reach out to her? Due to extreme drug abuse for many years, she seems emotionally stuck at age 14. — AUNTIE NO MORE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR AUNTIE: With the clear understanding that I am not a psychotherapist, may I point out that some individuals who suffer from mental illness find it necessary to place people into two categories: friends and enemies. Disagreeing with your niece has landed you in the latter. Her mother has explained this to you, so try not to take it personally.

I don’t think this troubled young woman will be receptive to a reconciliation until she has found another target. In the meantime, remain open, stay cordial and fill your life with activities that bring you joy rather than pain. I’m sure her mother will update you on your niece’s progress.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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