Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Questions Returning Back to Normal

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been staying at home for weeks, only venturing out occasionally to go to the grocery store, although I have mostly organized that for delivery. Now that things are loosening up, I’m still concerned about how much I should go outside. I have a couple of medical conditions, and I am very worried that if I catch this disease, I won’t survive. I haven’t told anyone in my neighborhood or my job that I have these health challenges. I don’t want people to look at me with pity. I manage my life just fine, thank you. But I don’t know how well I will do if I put myself out in the general population.

One neighbor keeps asking me to take a walk with her. She has been great about walking a few miles every day. I, on the other hand, have sat around for weeks, and my body is not happy about that. I do need to get more exercise. I’m just not sure what to do. How should I handle this? -- Weighing the Odds

DEAR WEIGHING THE ODDS: Schedule a call with your doctor and discuss your health and your activities to determine what he or she recommends. Review your health challenges and how you have been taking care of yourself during this period of quarantine. Talk about your lack of exercise. Share any details you know about your job and the plan to reopen. Provide all of the facts so that your doctor can give you advice based on a clear picture of your life.

What I have read is that doctors are continuing to recommend that people wear masks the entire time they are out of the home; that they keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others; that they avoid touching their faces; and that they regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. If you do that every time you go outside, you will reduce the chances of contracting the virus. If you get the green light for walking with your neighbor, remember to keep your distance. Be vigilant.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My father passed away a few years ago, and we just got around to packing up the rest of his belongings because my mother decided to sell her house. While we were going through the things in his office, we found a box with letters in it that turned out to be from another woman. It turns out he had an affair for an extended period of time, as detailed in this pack of letters. My mother immediately took the letters away and has refused to talk about it, but she seemed visibly upset. Should we press her on this? I am curious about this new discovery, and I wish I could actually read the letters, but she has them now. Should my siblings and I query her on this situation, and would it be wrong for me to ask if I can read them? -- Troubling Discovery

DEAR TROUBLING DISCOVERY: Your father’s affair is none of your business. You should not ask to read the letters. You should not press her about this at all. If she wants to talk about it, she will open up to you. For now, leave it alone.

(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.)