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Publication: Dear Abby
Follow These Basic Rules When Visiting Terminally Ill

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        ABBY - May 16, 2008 
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FOLLOW THESE BASIC RULES WHEN VISITING TERMINALLY ILL

ABBY: I have just returned from visiting a close friend in 
the next town. She was exhausted from caring for her husband, 
who has terminal cancer -- but even more so from the many 
visits from loving friends and relatives around the country. 

I experienced the same thing a few years ago, so I'm hoping 
you will help me to inform people of some basic rules for 
visiting families going through this profoundly trying 
experience.

 Don't go for a "vacation," but rather to lend support -- 
 and only if there is no objection. 
 Go healthy. Remember, the patient has no immunity after 
 chemotherapy. 
 Provide your own transportation. Stay in a motel unless
 the home is large and the hostess has asked you to stay. 
 Keep visits short and positive. Long conversations are 
 exhausting. 
 Provide food, preferably ready-cooked for simplicity, and 
 do the cleanup. 
 Leave the house for periods of time (even a day or two) so 
 the family can resume their medical routine. 
 Change the bed if you stay in the home. Remember, there is 
 no maid service.
 And last, require nothing of the family. There is nothing 
 left for them to give.

Thank you, Abby, for letting me speak for so many. 
-- GOT IT OFF MY CHEST

GOT IT: Well said. I particularly like your recommendations 
to stay someplace other than the home, to keep visits short 
so as not to deplete the patient, and not to expect to be 
entertained in any way. In life-or-death situations, the 
normal rules of hospitality do not apply, so ask not what 
your hosts can do for you, but what you can do for them -- 
and abide by what they tell you.

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ABBY: I'm a 16-year-old high school girl. I'm friendly, 
cheerful, religious and an honors student. I am also 
addicted to pornography. 

Over the past few years I have been an on-again, off-again 
addict. I'll look, feel good, feel bad, swear never to do 
it again, stay clean for a few months and then start again.

A few months ago I told my mother what I was doing, and she 
agreed to monitor the situation. But I know how to delete 
my online history, so she doesn't know I'm doing it again. 

I'm scared. I'm a virgin and would like to stay that way. 
But I'm starting to feel apathetic toward my grades, I'm
thinking more about sex, I have lost respect for most of 
the opposite sex, and I'm one step from acting out.

If I tell Mom, I know she'll take away my computer. The 
best friends I have are online. I'll be isolated if she 
takes it away. I'm also not sure I want to quit looking. 
It makes me feel good and keeps me from being stressed, 
but my religion and the changes in my behavior tell me 
it's wrong. 

I mentioned it to my school counselor once. She said I'm 
just "expressing my sexuality in my own way." Is she right? 
Or do I need help? What should I do? 
-- ADDICTED AND ASHAMED IN IOWA

ADDICTED: Forgive me for disagreeing with your counselor,
but the problem with pornography is the distorted vision 
it gives viewers of what sex is really about. Addiction,
by definition, is being consumed by and unable to stop a 
behavior. If you think you are alone in this problem, let 
me assure you that you are not.

Please tell your mother what's going on. You should talk 
to a licensed professional who has been trained in the 
treatment of addiction. This does not mean you must give 
up your computer -- simply moving it to a central location 
might help. But conquering your problem will take 
professional help, and I urge you not to wait to ask for 
it or you will find yourself in even more serious trouble.




ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 
____________________________________________________________

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