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Solo patient wonders who could help

Dear Abby: Like other people my age, I'm supposed to get a colonoscopy. The difficulty is that someone has to go to the two-hour appointment with me, as well as supervise me for 3 to 4 hours afterward until the anesthesia wears off.

I don't have family here, and my friends all work full time, so I hesitate to ask them. Can I hire a home health aide to go along with me? Is there a volunteer organization that provides companions? Could I stay in the recovery room for several hours and then take a taxi or drive myself home? The lack of a person to accompany me is the major reason I haven't gotten the procedure yet. I know I must not be the only person in this boat. What do you suggest?

-- On My Own in Bloomington, Ind.

Dear On Your Own: You're definitely not the only person who has faced this problem, which is why I'm printing your letter.

Do you belong to a church? If so, contact your clergyperson and ask if he or she knows someone in your congregation who would be willing to accompany you for the procedure, drive you home and stay for a few hours. If not, because you live in a university town, contact the school and ask if one of the students would like to earn some extra money by providing you with transportation and supervision.

Or, ask your doctor for a referral to a healthcare aide who might be available to help you. Now stop procrastinating and schedule this very important appointment.


Recycle those old typewriters

Dear Abby: Many of us have old electric typewriters that go unused. Why not donate them to a nursing home or to an elderly person who can no longer write? Even people with severe Parkinson's disease can still hit a key with one finger and write letters they were once unable to do.

-- Susan in Arkansas

Dear Susan: That's a great idea, and one worth pursuing for anyone interested in recycling.

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