Dear Amy: My husband, who is a wonderful person, has a habit of retelling various stories. That’s fine, but there is one story that drives me crazy.
He has passed kidney stones, which he says (and I believe) were very painful.
His sister also had kidney stones. She has given birth to three children. My husband says that his sister told him that kidney stones are much worse than childbirth and she would give birth anytime over a kidney stone episode.
Personally, I have never had kidney stones, but I have given birth and it was no picnic. I find it irritating that he compares the two and tries to one-up me on pain!
Do you have an appropriate response?
Dear No Stones: Your husband isn’t comparing the pain of childbirth to kidney stones — his sister is. She has experienced both, and so isn’t it possible that, for her, this is true?
I know that no two childbirth stories are alike, and I assume the same can be said for kidney stones. However, in researching your question I think it’s possible that passing a large kidney stone can in fact be more painful than passing a large baby.
Factors to consider are the fact that a woman’s body and mind prepare for childbirth. Women anticipate the pain, have a variety of medical and non-medical strategies to deal with it, and know that when the pain is over, they will have a baby. Hormones wash over the mother after giving birth and some of the pain is mercifully forgotten.
With a kidney stone, there is a lot of mysterious pain before the kidney stone passes and then as it makes its way into the bladder, the pain can be extremely intense. In one article I read, a physician compared this pain to having a limb amputated.
I can understand that this habit of your husband’s is irritating (not as irritating as a kidney stone, or a pregnancy), but neither experience is a “picnic.”
Dear Amy: My daughter and her fiance are working on their wedding invitations. They wish to invite only those who have received the COVID vaccination who can also show a negative test result prior to attending the event.
They want to protect vulnerable friends and family members with health risks (i.e., cancer patients and elderly people).
However, the groom’s mother is putting a lot of stress on the bride and groom to invite her unvaccinated brother and his unvaccinated family because she doesn’t want them to be upset and wants to be able to keep peace within the family.
What would you suggest in this situation?
Mother of the Bride
Dear Mother of the Bride: First off, this is the couple’s wedding, and parents should not pressure them to invite anyone they don’t want to invite.
However, if the couple plans to invite only vaccinated people to their upcoming wedding, this puts them in the position of policing or asking for proof of who is and who is not vaccinated.
And what about guests who have had two or three COVID vaccinations but no recent boosters? Or guests who are vaccinated for COVID but not for the flu (which seems to be particularly nasty this year)?
(According to a recent story in the New York Times: “Influenza, which normally peaks in February, has driven up hospitalization rates to the highest level for this time of year in more than a decade, surpassing hospitalizations from Covid-19.”)
I do think that reminding guests to take a COVID test at most 24 hours before the event would be helpful. The marrying couple could also have rapid tests on hand and ask guests to arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony to self-test before entering the venue — and provide masks and encourage people to wear them while inside.
Immediate pre-wedding testing could be a whole new thing! I envision soft music to mitigate the light anxiety as people await their results.
It would be thoughtful for these hosts to remind their more medically vulnerable guests to keep up with their boosters, get their flu shots, and to wear a high-quality mask.
Dear Amy: I was shocked by the letter from “Joan’s Cousin,” who reported that Joan’s ex-husband invited himself and accompanied the family on a Disney trip that Joan had paid for.
I don’t know her financial situation, but she should ask her lawyer if the ex can be forced to reimburse her for the cost.
Dear Upset: This is definitely something to ask about.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.