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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: During a recent hospital stay, I shared a room with a younger woman (I am 41, she is about 25). We both had surgery. I was quite miserable and groggy, lying in my bed, and I remember when they wheeled her into the room and pulled the curtain. Her "fiance" followed them into the room after her surgery, and immediately started to make telephone calls -- one after the other -- telling them all the sordid details of her appendectomy. He would hang up, then call somebody else and tell them the same thing.

The woman never said anything -- I think she was still out from the anesthesia. I was happy to hear that he was going home to change clothes. Finally he left, and I drifted back off to sleep. A few hours later, he returned with a ton of aftershave on. Again he picked up the phone and proceeded to hog it.

I finally requested a room transfer, and I'm sure they didn't have a clue as to why I had to get away from him.

If he recognizes himself in this letter, please give a little consideration to the other person in the room. It is a curtain that separates us -- not the Berlin Wall! And don't overkill on the perfume. We are in the hospital because we are sick, and the smell can make it worse. Also, do not hog the telephone to call everyone you know to tell them that so-and-so is in the hospital. GO HOME TO DO IT! -- C.Y., CHAFFEE, MO.

DEAR C.Y.: Thank you for a super letter. I'll bet this goes up on a couple of hundred bulletin boards in umpteen hospitals.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 48-year-old happily married woman with three adult children. The youngest one is graduating from high school this year. My mother died six years ago, and my father married a woman who has a personality that's very difficult for me to like. (We don't know anyone who really likes her.)

We have them over, and as far as she knows, everything is fine. But she not only comes between Dad and his family, she also creates an atmosphere where none of us can be ourselves.

We would love to see Dad by himself sometimes (when she comes over she takes over the conversation).

We don't want another happy occasion spoiled, as has happened so many times in the past.

Abby, when there is a second marriage, is it unreasonable to ask the parent not to include the new spouse in some family get-togethers? -- STUCK IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR STUCK: I wouldn't recommend it. Play it safe, bite your tongue and invite her.

DEAR ABBY: My dear friend has a habit that is driving me crazy. She comes to my house often, which is not the problem. But when she is there, she checks out any invitations, notices or upcoming events I've circled and put on my refrigerator or clipped to a magnet. She then asks who, what, when and why. I've become so uncomfortable I put everything away when she comes to visit.

It's not funny anymore when she "jokingly" says, "Oh, you're doing this with your other friends." We spend a great deal of time together, but I do have other friends and I don't always want to include her. Do you have any suggestions? -- HATE TO BE RUDE

DEAR HATE TO BE RUDE: Your friend is trying to put you on the spot, but you are under no obligation to justify your other activities to her. The next time she comments, say, "Yes, I'm looking forward to that." Then turn the conversation to another topic.

CONFIDENTIAL TO MY READERS: Easter is nearly here, so if you plan to surprise a child with a live rabbit, baby duck or chick, please consider this: Living creatures need proper care. Unless you are absolutely certain that the little pet will receive the care it needs to survive, please give a stuffed bird or animal instead. Baby animals, regardless of how cute they are, should not be given to young children on impulse. Animals are not "toys" to be mauled, abused or neglected.

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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