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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Beth," and I are being divorced, and until recently, things were cordial and polite. At first, she was going to remain here in Oregon and allow me convenient access to our daughter, Cathy, who is 6 years old.

Beth tried for three years, with little success, to get her own business going here in Oregon. I must admit that she's tried hard. Now she has received an offer to relocate to Florida and live in the home of a male friend while he is away in the Navy for the next few years. She is involved in a multilevel business and her "up-line," who lives in Florida (not the person who owns the house), has promised to get her set up and on her feet. She's planning to move before the end of the summer.

This morning I asked Beth if she'd consider going to Florida alone for the first six months to see if she likes it. She rejected the idea.

I am staying with my parents now, and they are really upset about the idea of Cathy leaving. My mother wants me to fight it. They love their granddaughter and see her quite often.

Abby, I want this divorce to be amiable. It was, until Beth decided to move to Florida. I suppose if she does move and gets her life together, I could move to Florida to be close to our daughter.

Should I try to control my animosity and allow Beth to go to Florida and tell my parents to butt out? Or should I try to force her to stay here in Oregon? I'm certain that deep down Beth knows that taking Cathy 3,000 miles away is wrong, but she feels she must do it for reasons of self-esteem and economics. -- HEARTBROKEN IN OREGON

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Your soon-to-be-ex-wife has legitimate reasons for moving to Florida, and your daughter is at an age when she still needs her mother, so let her go without an ugly fight. I think your idea of eventually relocating to Florida in order to be near Cathy has merit.

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Exhausted in Tacoma," who was perturbed with her hospital roommate's visitors, disturbs me. First she said how sick she had been at the hospital and how rude her roommate's visitors were; then she was well enough to get up and go home. Abby, just how sick was she? As a registered nurse with 30 years' experience, I can tell you she doesn't sound very sick to me.

If she had been in the hospital as many times as she claimed, why did she go to the emergency room instead of having her own physician admit her? Also, she should have known enough about hospital procedures to have the floor nurse quiet the visitors down. She should also have known to ask for another gown to cover her backside, or how to use a robe or sheet to drape around herself to go to the bathroom.

I can't be sure without all the facts, but I'm guessing that "Exhausted" is a typical hypochondriac trying to get a few days in the hospital complete with "maid" service by her nurses, while her insurance pays for this "vacation."

No one who is truly sick gets up and leaves for the reasons she gave. And if rest at home was better than what she could get in the hospital, why didn't she just stay home in the first place? -- FRED HOLT, R.N., ENGLEWOOD, FLA.

DEAR FRED: Your reasoning, based on many years of experience, makes sense to me. However, without all the facts, I cannot call that reader a fake, for hers is not the only letter I have received complaining about visitors in hospitals.

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