DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a situation. I have a volunteer at my church, and he can go to sleep at any minute of the day. Last week, there was an early morning meeting, and I found him asleep during an important presentation. There have been separate instances where he went to sleep right in front of an individual in mid-conversation. Good people are hard to find these days, and I do not want to lose him because of his erratic sleeping habits. How can I bring this issue up without embarrassing him? -- Wake Him Up, Queens, New York
DEAR WAKE HIM UP: Your church volunteer may have a serious medical problem, so it is in his best interest that you speak to him about it right away. He may not know that he falls asleep in this way, or he may think it is no big deal. There are a number of health conditions, such as sleep apnea, that could cause one to fall asleep suddenly.
Tell this man that you are concerned about him. Describe to him what you have witnessed with your own eyes. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be for him to receive this feedback. Explain that his sudden falling asleep is affecting his ability to do his work at the church. But more, point out that it could affect his overall well-being. Suggest that he make a doctor's appointment immediately to get a complete physical. Ask him if it would be OK for you to check back in with him about this in the coming days and weeks. He may need your urging to get him to take action.