Ex­pec­ta­tion of an early death puts man's life in a Tail­spin

El Dorado News-Times - - Morning Brew -

DEAR ABBY: I spent an even­ing with a guy I’ve been want­ing to date for some time. Af­ter a few drinks he con­fided to me that he has a se­ri­ous heart con­di­tion. He said he doesn’t ex­pect to live past age 23 and he could die any day.

I don’t know the de­tails of his con­di­tion, but I’m sure he be­lieves what he told me. Be­cause of this his life has taken a down­ward spi­ral. He has been drink­ing a lot, failed mul­ti­ple classes last se­mes­ter and feels like study­ing is fu­tile if he may only live a year af­ter grad­u­at­ing.

For lack of ev­i­dence to the con­trary, I ac­cepted his state­ment as ac­cu­rate. I don’t think he’d make up some­thing like that. What can I say or do to show my sup­port? How can I en­cour­age him not to give up on his dreams and his goals? He’s only 19. How can I be strong for him?

Since he told me about his heart I haven’t been able to think about any­thing else. I don’t know how to process this in­for­ma­tion. How do you com­fort some­one you care about who’s fac­ing mor­tal­ity at such a young age?

BRO­KEN­HEARTED GUY IN THE SOUTH DEAR BRO­KEN­HEARTED GUY: If you want to be a friend to this young man, ask how many doc­tors have told him about his poor prog­no­sis. If the an­swer is only one, urge him to get a sec­ond opin­ion be­cause there are med­i­cal ad­vances in car­di­ol­ogy hap­pen­ing ev­ery day, and he may not be nearly as close to the end as he fears.

You say he’s still in school. Sug­gest he talk to some­one at the stu­dent health cen­ter about his de­pres­sion be­cause it is in­ter­fer­ing with his grades. And while you’re at it, sug­gest he stop drink­ing and ne­glect­ing his stud­ies be­cause, in the end, he might LIVE.

• • •

DEAR ABBY: My best friend of more than 20 years is a busy per­son. She has a de­mand­ing job, a hus­band, two chil­dren and ex­tended fam­ily she cooks for on most hol­i­days. She also cares for an el­derly dis­tant rel­a­tive. She has a heart of gold and is won­der­ful to me and my fam­ily.

When I’m in­vited to her house for din­ner, she re­fuses to let me help her clear the ta­ble. I’m not happy with that, but I ac­cept it. The prob­lem arises when I in­vite her over for din­ner. Be­cause we don’t get to visit of­ten, I’ll pile the dishes in the kitchen so I can spend time with her and wash them later. But she can­not sit still and just have a con­ver­sa­tion with me or any­body. You will find her in the kitchen scrap­ing plates, soak­ing pans and hand-wash­ing the wine glasses.

This has be­come a point of con­tention be­cause I like to un­wind and clean my kitchen af­ter my guests have left. I have tried work­ing with her, but she prefers to power through the mess by her­self, which gives us less time to sit and talk. How can I get through to her?

ANX­IOUS IN NEW YORK DEAR ANX­IOUS: As­sum­ing that you have spo­ken to your friend more than once about this, I think it’s time to ac­cept her the way she is, rather than the way you would like her to be. Some peo­ple are un­able (no­tice I didn’t say un­will­ing) to just sit still and have a con­ver­sa­tion, and she ap­pears to be one of them. If this is her only flaw, con­sider your­self blessed to have a sparkling kitchen when she leaves.

• • •

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

Abi­gail Van Buren

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