DEAR ABBY: My father is in his 70s and lives close by. My brother and his family live across the country. Dad has smoked for more than 60 years, and an incident with his high blood pressure recently landed him in the hospital. He's supposed to be on medication, but he refuses to take it.
He claims his hobby of playing the trumpet keeps his lungs healthy and recent changes in his diet have solved the blood pressure issues. Neither of these things seem likely to me, and he has not been back to the doctor. Dad hides his condition from everyone. I know only because I was the one who was called when he went to the hospital.
My brother recently told me Dad is planning to take my teenage nephews camping at a fairly remote location. When I encouraged Dad to tell my brother about his heart condition so he could make an informed decision about the safety of the trip, or at least prepare my nephews in case something happened, Dad went through the roof! He insists he's not sick and I have no business sharing his medical information. More likely he doesn't want to admit he's getting older or may have to cancel the trip.
I have to tell my brother if Dad won't, but if I do, I'm sure I'll never get more information, and Dad will quit talking to me altogether. Is there any way around this that I'm not seeing? -- LEVELHEADED DAUGHTER IN DETROIT
DEAR DAUGHTER: The safety of your brother's children is paramount. Your father does not have the right to place them at risk, which he will because of his carelessness about his health situation. Your father may not like it, but it is imperative that you warn your brother so he can make an informed decision about whether to allow an unsupervised camping trip with Grandpa. (The solution may be that another adult will be included to keep an eye on things.)
DEAR ABBY: After I had emergency surgery, I was moved to another location in my work department. I met a wonderful young man and, as we communicated, we found we had a lot in common. I never imagined I'd ever find a soul mate, but we fell in love.
He is married; I am not. He is loving and considerate as much as he can be. I love him so much, but I feel terrible about our situation. I feel it is unfair -- especially to me. I need more than he can give to me in terms of a relationship.
I know I have messed up. Again. I'd like to remain friends, but that's all. How do I tell him? I don't want to have drama on the job. I have been applying for other jobs away from this place. I thought that it would solve the problem. -- UNFAIR SITUATION
DEAR UNFAIR: Remaining "just friends" may not be realistic. Tell this wonderful young man the affair is over because it wasn't fair to you or his wife. Once you have secured another job, give your employer two weeks notice and get out of there.
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