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Posted on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Emailed photo of ailing mom is reason to restrict visitors

By Dear Abby


Recently my 80-year-old mother was admitted to the hospital, gravely ill. She had been undergoing chemotherapy and caught double pneumonia. My 36-year-old niece went to visit Mama, took pictures of her lying in her hospital bed and emailed the photos to everyone.

It was shocking and upsetting seeing my mother this way. Many of the people who received the photos had not been able to visit her. Abby, what's your opinion on this, and how should it have been handled? -- SINCERELY UPSET IN FLORIDA


I don't blame you for being upset. What your niece did was a gross invasion of privacy. Is this how your mother would have wanted people to see her? If the answer is no, your niece owes your mother an apology.

If your mother is still hospitalized, talk to the nurse in charge of the unit she's in and give her a list of visitors who should have access to her. Explain why you want visitation restricted, and in the future your mother's privacy will be assured.


My sister's husband died suddenly three years ago. "Pamela" now says she's in love with a 60-year-old man I'll call "Mickey," whose company is doing construction work on her home. She has put on a new roof, siding and added a deck, and the jobs are not ending. Next on the schedule is a shed and a new coat of paint for the inside of the house.

Friends and family are concerned that Pamela is scheduling more jobs as a way to see Mickey. When I pointed out that he hasn't even invited her out for coffee, she claimed they have a "relationship" because he hugged her, kissed her on the cheek and told her, "You're my girlfriend."

Pamela has invited Mickey to family dinners and events, but he turns her down because "he's visiting relatives out of town." He has never invited her to go anywhere.

My sister should be ready to date now, but no one lives up to this man. None of us have met him, and we're worried she is just imagining there's a relationship. What can we do before Pamela goes broke or crashes emotionally? -- SOMETHING'S MISSING IN NEW JERSEY


Do you know the name of Mickey's company? Start checking him out. Does he have a contractor's license? A Facebook page? Does anybody in the lumber or paint business know him? Something does seem fishy. Mickey may be married and your sister may be grasping at straws. But when all is said and done, it is her money.


I am a 12-year-old girl who needs your advice. My friend and I went shopping a while back and she lent me money to buy a few things. However, later that day she lost the bag that had my stuff in it at the mall. One day she brought up that I have not paid her back, but I said I don't think I should have to pay her back since she lost the stuff she bought for me. Who do you think is right? -- NEEDS ADVICE IN OAKLAND, CALIF.


You are. She's out the money; you're out the "goods." You're even. However, from now on when you buy something, take responsibility for it and keep it in your possession. That way, if something is lost, you will have no one to blame but yourself.

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

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