“Feedback” comments create a conversation between many readers, and also between readers and me.
Today, with feedbacks to a variety of recent column questions and answers, the conversation spans several topics that aroused interesting responses.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman’s intended letter asking family to leave cell phones at home (Sept. 29):
Reader #1 – “I, too, am a holdout about getting a cell phone. I believe that much more creative thinking is done just letting one's brain unravel undisturbed during a long walk.
“I, too, am annoyed by cell phone use in social situations.
“I believe that the best way to deal with this is to keep a paperback book handy, and start reading it immediately when anyone needlessly engages their phone at the dinner table.”
Reader #2 – “The writer’s intended note is the best advice possible to give people who’ve become very rude when in a social group, such as visiting your home.
“Besides asking them to “leave electronic devices at home, or in the car, or on our doorstep,” I like the extra part, “and please add your baseball caps.”
Reader #3 – “The letter-writer is using the notice as a platform for finger-wagging at how much their friends/family rely on technology.
“It’s dripping with judgement about how their need for technology differs from their guests, and has an air of superiority.
“While I’d be happy to oblige the request, I would not feel welcome, and would also feel silently judged for my lifestyle choice about owning a cell phone.
“Personally, if I were a guest in their home, a simple "we’re a technology- free home, so please leave your cell phones powered down and in the foyer, or in your car" would suffice.
“I’d happily oblige that request.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the “Sad Younger Wife” stressed and anxious about care giving of her husband (Sept. 30):
Reader #1 – “I’ve been caregiver to my husband of 40 years, aged 75, for the past two years.
“His medical conditions are many, and he was in and out of intensive care several times.
“After being told I should get my affairs in order, I strongly advocated for advanced therapy and follow-up care.
“I felt like everyone had given up on him. I got a team together through the health system and in partnership with his doctors.
“We received home care through CCAC (Ellie - these are critical care access centres and different forms of these agencies exist in many locales) and the Saint Elizabeth Society (a charitable home nursing association).
“He’s now making remarkable progress and leading a close to normal life.
“There were times I wished to go outside and lock the door behind me. The stress of doing everything was wearing me thin.
“But love and commitment are utmost, and we did sign up for "sickness and health!"
“My advice is as Ellie’s - GET help, it is available, and ADVOCATE for your loved one.
“Your life may change forever, but you will never regret the effort.”
Reader #2 – “There’s caregiver help through Local Health Integration Networks, Personal Support Workers (in Canada), and Certified Nurse Assistants (US), housekeeping help, etc.
“There’s also support groups and counselling.”
Reader #3 – “For people who need assistance in finding caregiver support services, dial the free 2-1-1 telephone service, which locates local resources across the United States and across Canada.
“It’s a community information service, free of charge, with information and referrals to programs and services that are mostly free, low cost, or subsidized.”
FEEDBACK Regarding stereotyping and condemning persons living with substance use disorder (September 30):
Reader – “Please do not allow yourself or any of your readers to be sucked into the concept of compassionate intervention with beloved substance abusers.
“Al Anon and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, divorce courts, bankruptcy courts, mental hospitals and prisons, are full of loving co-dependents and victims.
“All the caring in the world WILL NOT SAVE anyone who has embraced this lifestyle priority.
“Please tell your readers to run, not walk, to counseling or one of the support groups to get a grip on reality.”
Ellie – Since this writer is talking directly to me, I must respond. Yes, understanding the reality faced daily by a substance abuser is crucial, to avoid stereotyping and condemnation.
But compassion is also necessary, to not just write off the person as “beyond help.”
Counselling and support groups detail the realities, but can also help keep hope alive.
Tip of the day:
We can learn from each other, especially when facing stresses familiar to others.