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Ask Lisi: Lingering illness is robbing me of life's joys

How can I get back to my usual sporty, healthy, social self?
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher.

Dear Lisi: I have been sick for a few weeks now, nothing more than a common cold but it’s affecting everything. I’m tired, I can’t concentrate, I have a headache, I don’t sleep well, and I’m just feeling a general malaise. I’ll wake up one morning feeling better, go for a walk, and then I must lie down. I feel like I’m losing days of my life, getting nowhere, unable to accomplish anything, and it’s really getting me down.

My friends are out enjoying the spring weather and gearing up for summer. My family doesn’t understand why I keep turning down their offers of dinner or events. I feel like the longer this persists, the more out of touch I’ll become.

How can I get back to my usual sporty, healthy, social self?

Feeling low

Not to state the obvious, but have you seen a doctor? Your long-drawn-out symptoms don’t jive with the common cold from my medical knowledge; however, I am not a doctor. No matter what the diagnosis is, you should be able to work with a medical professional to find ways to ease your symptoms and get you back on track.

I also suggest speaking privately to one close family member and one close friend to explain exactly what’s going on with you, and what the doctor says. It’s important to have an ally because it can get tiring and depressing to constantly have to say no to people and explain why.

I hope you feel better soon. Go slow, take it one day at a time. But get the medical attention you need.

Dear Lisi: My wife and I occasionally go out to restaurants. We recently had the opportunity to go out in another city, and more recently locally. Twice now we have been attended to by servers who had inordinately long glued-on fingernails (over two inches). Both happened to be women.

The nails were so long that they could barely hold serving trays, and it was almost impossible to pick up a paper tab from the table at the end of the meal. In one case, we did email the manager, but never received a response.

One does not wish to interfere with anyone’s sense of fashion, but does this not cross the line when people are servers, and there are clearly concerns about personal hygiene? How does someone clean their hands properly after using the toilet? How is hygiene maintained between customers? How are the hands properly cleaned after touching contaminated or raw food?

Your thoughts on this matter would be appreciated, especially if this happens again.

Nail etiquette

This is a great question! There are specific rules and regulations regarding hygiene in the restaurant business. Anyone in contact with food, i.e. chefs, sous chefs, waiters, busboys, etc. have strict hygiene regulations. However, these rules differ based on the style of establishment and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so I cannot comment.

For example, my observations are, at a local Subway, those making the sandwiches wear hairnets and gloves. But at a local sit-down restaurant, neither were seen being worn by anyone both in and out of the kitchen.

You could call the restaurant ahead of time and ask what their policies are regarding gloves and/or hand hygiene. You could request a table with a male server when making your reservation.

Fingernail extensions are a fashion statement, and if the restaurant allows it, then there’s really nothing you can say short of requesting a different server.

FEEDBACK Regarding the woman angry at her live-in boyfriend who was proving to be unaccountable (April 5):

Reader — “Your initial advice was sound as she needs time to get to know how they will work out cohabiting. But she also needs to prepare for the possibility that he may be unable to change. Due to neurodiversity, not all brains work the same way and what is a given for her may not apply to him at all. For example, there are many people who are inherently poor at planning, organization and time management. She can choose to focus on his good qualities and compensate for those aspects. Or, if she cannot accept and support him the way he is, it may not bode well for a long-term relationship.”

Lisi – It’s true. Sometimes we are just not meant to live with someone. Dating is very different than cohabiting, marriage and child-rearing.

Lisi Tesher is an advice columnist based in Toronto. Send your questions to [email protected]