Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Shocked That Friend Is Glib About Medicine

DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine just told me that she almost died because she didn’t take her blood pressure medicine. She is a smart, professional woman who has an important job and is involved in many civic organizations, plus she is a wife and mom. She is paying closer attention now, but it’s weird. I don’t understand why she would be so flippant about her medication.

I, too, have high blood pressure. I have never told anyone. I keep mine secret, even as I do take my medication religiously, and she is in denial about needing to take medicine. I consider myself smart, too. What are we doing wrong? What can I do to support myself and my friend? -- On the Verge

DEAR ON THE VERGE: Start by confiding in your friend. Tell her about your health challenges and what you do about them. Be transparent when you talk. Admit to whatever is ailing you. Also, tell her what you have done to support your health. Your candid conversation may help both of you to face reality.

High blood pressure is called the silent killer because many people begin to feel good and then stop taking their medication. Even smart people make not-so-smart decisions. Decide not to be in that group. By holding each other accountable, perhaps you can be more disciplined. Support each other in going for regular medical appointments where you check in on the status of your health -- you are worth it!

DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in a place where people are not allowed to wear fragrance. That is OK, I guess. What isn’t good is that many people don’t wear deodorant. So instead of smelling something floral or even musky at work, I smell B.O. It is awful. And it’s not fair, in my book. If we can’t wear fragrance, at least we should be required to be clean, no? How do I get this point across? -- Bad Odor

DEAR BAD ODOR: Since not wearing fragrance is one of your company’s rules, bring up your concerns to your human resources leader. Be specific. Say that you do not appreciate the rule about not wearing fragrance, as that is part of your daily routine. Explain that you followed the rule anyway, but discovered that fragrance was replaced by body odor. Be vivid in your description, and ask for there to be a rule about cleanliness or, at least, wearing deodorant. If they won’t agree, ask them to allow you to wear a fragrance.

If they don’t give at all, you will have to decide if you can work in that environment. Indeed, you may want to wear your fragrance anyway. If they give you a citation or even take you to court for breach of contract, you can point out what you consider to be the hardship you are facing and sue them.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)