DEAR MARY ANN: I was recently at a family reunion and I needed to share a room with my sister. Although I warned her that I am a snorer, she thought it wouldn't bother her, but hearing is believing. To make a long story short, my sister got little sleep that night because of me. It is very embarrassing. What can I do to stop my snoring.
-- SNORING SISTER
DEAR SNORING SISTER: Loud snoring that sounds like a locomotive roaring through the room may be a sign of sleep apnea. Ask your doctor for a referral to a sleep laboratory for an evaluation. A simple change of sleep positions may soften your snore. However, if the sleep study indicates you have sleep apnea, your doctor will prescribe a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device that is worn as a mask when you sleep.
Don't be embarrassed. In the future tell your roommates they may be sleeping with a Trumpeter Swan and offer them a set of ear plugs before turning out the light.
DEAR MARY ANN: I have been widowed seven years after a long and cherished marriage. After mourning my loss I have worked hard to build a satisfying life alone. My husband was a well-loved and prominent man in my city. My difficulty is how to respond when people speak or act toward me as though no time has passed. For some, my identity is only as "the wife of ___." I want to uphold the respect people have for my late husband but I also wish they would recognize that I am a person in my own right. How should I deal with this?
-- WIDOW REBUILDING HER LIFE
DEAR WIDOW: People who knew and loved your husband see you in his shadow. They do not realize or are unable to accept that you are rebuilding your life. Acknowledge people's affection for your late husband but don't look to them for your support. You are a reminder of their lost friend. They are trying to keep his memory and their connection to him alive.
By cultivating activities and friendships in new circles you will gradually be recognized for your own independence and contributions. There will be occasions however, when you are flooded with happy memories as you unexpectedly meet with someone who remembers your late husband. It all takes time.
Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.