DEAR ABBY: My older sister does not pick up her phone unless her boyfriend calls. They have a system worked out to let her know when it's him. She has an answering machine, but its message limit is always full.
She has told everyone that, in case of emergency, they should contact her neighbors, her employer, the police, or -- if she is camping -- the campground police.
Since when is it the responsibility of others to take and deliver messages for her when she makes herself unavailable? What makes it worse is she has a quadriplegic son in frail health who lives on his own with a caregiver. Although my sister makes medical decisions for him, the caregiver is never certain whether Sis can be reached if needed.
Abby, how do you handle such a person? -- DISGUSTED IN UTAH
DEAR DISGUSTED: Your sister is sending a strong message that she doesn't want to be disturbed, nor does she want any real contact with you. I'd "handle it" by taking a giant step back emotionally and contacting her only in case of emergency, in the manner she has requested.
The caregiver is another matter. Because of the son's frail health, the caregiver should be able to speak directly to your sister in the event that an emergency should arise that requires an immediate medical intervention.