Abby: Hypochondriac seeks a cure for her fear of dying

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I’m a hypochondriac. I am currently waiting on the biopsy results for a mole I had removed. Right now I’m worried and miserable. I feel guilty for what I’m putting my husband through. I want to get therapy, but doing that feels like admitting I’m too weak to handle my problems myself. My husband thinks he’s a bad husband because he can’t help me.

This isn’t the first time I’ve worked myself up over a medical condition I may not have. How can I deal with my fear of dying from something horrible without damaging my relationship with my husband? Can hypochondria be cured? It’s starting to take over my life.

Hypochondriac in The South

Dear Hypochondriac: It’s a wise person who seeks help for a problem that’s ruining the quality of his or her life. You should definitely discuss your fear of dying with a licensed mental health professional. To do that isn’t “weak” — it’s the opposite.

Dear Abby: My son is getting married and we’re all looking forward to the celebration. There’s just one problem. My daughter will be in the wedding and the bridesmaids’ dresses are strapless. She will look beautiful in the dress, but she adopted a “hippy lifestyle” a year ago and stopped shaving her armpits.

The bride-to-be asked me how to ask her to request that she remove her armpit hair the day of the wedding. Is there a tactful way to approach this without offending my daughter and possibly causing bad feelings between her and the bride?

Unsure in New Jersey

Dear Unsure: I would discourage you from doing that. Although every bride wants her wedding to be “perfect,” there’s a point at which she must realize there are some things she can’t control. An example of where that boundary should be drawn would be at her bridesmaids’ armpits. During a formal wedding ceremony, bridesmaids usually keep their arms down, so unless your daughter’s “pit hair” is so long she can braid it, it should not distract attention from the bride.

P.S. If hairy armpits in the wedding pictures concern her, they can be Photoshopped off.

Dear Abby: I work at a large suburban hospital, and there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Patients walk around with their butts exposed! Patients are always given a second gown to use as a robe, but many of them decide not to use it.

Abby, these are all alert, oriented people. In addition to staff, there are visitors (including children) and other patients walking in the halls.

When someone runs up behind them to give them the second gown, these are some of the responses we are given: “Let ’em look!” (No one wants to.) “There’s nothing to look at.” (Yes, there is, and no one wants to.) “I’ve got nothing anyone wants to see.” (Then why are you showing it off?) “No one cares about my butt.” (That’s right, and no one wants to see it.) “I’m not modest.” (We’re grossed out.) “This is a hospital; why does it matter?” (So, everyone should just walk around naked?)

How do you think we should address this?

No Butts, Please

Dear No Butts: “Address” it by informing patients that wearing both gowns is a hospital rule. That would be a start. If you are asked why, tell the person that it’s to prevent visitors and other patients from being offended by the sight of someone’s uncovered “gluteus maximi.” And if anyone gives you an argument, tell the person that’s the way it is — no ifs, ands or buts.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.