Q: Dear Meredith,
I am terrified of my husband's driving. There have been several close calls while he's been driving and it's only out of sheer luck that he hasn't been pulled over, caused an accident, or hurt someone.
For example, Saturday afternoon while he was driving on a local highway, he started drifting into the right lane two different times, nearly hitting the car right next to us. He claimed that he was distracted. He also claimed that the car was in his blind spot. (It was not; it was right next to us.)
I believe that he has untreated sleep apnea. I believe he's having micro-sleeps. I suggested that he needs to see his doctor. I also told him that I will not be a passenger in his car until he addresses this problem.
He works in the legal profession. Should something happen -- an accident, a person getting hurt -- it would hurt his career. He used to be a reliable and good driver but now I'm scared of him and scared for him. Your advice?
– Driven to Tears, MA
A: My first piece of advice is to obey your own rule. Don't get in the car if he's behind the wheel. Show him that you're really concerned.
My second piece of advice is to suggest that you go to the doctor together. You can say, "Hey, maybe you're right -- maybe this isn't much to worry about, but let's find out from a professional so that we can stop guessing. It'll put my mind at ease." Delivery is important here. Make sure he understands that you're open to the possibility that he might be fine, but that you want to hear it from a doctor. And remind him that you love him. You just want to know that he's going to be OK.
Keep in mind that he might be scared of a diagnosis. Maybe there's some denial going on here because he knows that a doctor's visit might change his life. Assure him that it's really a checkup for peace of mind. Offer to make the appointment for him.
If he refuses to deal with the problem, talk to his doctor about next steps. There are ways to report reckless drivers in Massachusetts, but I'd start by asking the doctor how this usually works between family members. I bet this happens more of often than you think. Get some medical guidance.
Readers? How do you deal with a family member who won't take care of themselves? How can she work on her delivery? Should she call the doctor now? Help.
Recent blog posts
Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.