Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Get It Right

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I've seen several doctors recently, and each time I noticed that they gave a lot of information so quickly that I could not absorb it all, nor could I remember it entirely.

I also received written instructions after a recent surgery, but those weren't particularly good, either. Part of the instructions included a form that was filled out by the doctor, whose handwriting I had difficulty reading.

Ideally, all information would be typed up and handed to the patient. Granted, it takes time for someone to do this, but it's the patients' health we are dealing with. If the doctor refuses to provide this, I suggest bringing a voice recorder. Turn it on when you're told "the doctor will see you shortly," and make sure the doctor speaks clearly. Ask them to repeat anything if you don't think it came across. Ask the doctor to explain medical terms that are used routinely, but that you may not understand.

Are there any legal issues involved in doing this? Of course, doctors should be informed that they are being recorded. -- Get It Right

Dear Get: If you are recording the doctor's instructions for your personal and private use, there should be no objection -- legal or otherwise. But most doctors have computerized systems, and in many instances, test results and instructions can be sent to patients via email. Ask your doctor about this. Hospitals also should be handing you typed post-surgical instructions. Of course, it is important to read through everything and to call your doctor if you do not understand something. Too many patients are reluctant to phone or email their doctor, because they don't want to be a nuisance. But it is important to be proactive about your health care. Doctors don't want you to misinterpret their instructions, either.

Dear Annie: I don't enjoy going to movies any longer. Why? Because anything rated PG-13 and up is usually laced with gross profanity. I simply don't enjoy listening to this kind of language.


I recently agreed to accompany my husband to a movie that received good reviews and starred two well-known actors. When I left the theater, I was convinced that the writers of this movie must have not gone further than the fourth grade. Nearly every sentence had the f-word. Are these writers so limited in their knowledge of our language and vocabulary? All of that profanity distracted from what could have been an interesting movie.

We have become desensitized to all the profanity around us. I'd love to see a sophisticated film for adults that doesn't offend my ears. Am I the only one who feels this way? -- No Movies for Me

Dear No: We can assure you that others find the vulgar language (not to mention the gratuitous violence and sex) equally objectionable. There are movies that do not pander to the lowest common denominator. You can look online for various websites that list clean-language films, some of which may also be sophisticated adult films.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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