Playing arbitrator

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dear Cindy,

I belong to a family of five. I have an older brother who got married right after he graduated from college. My mother confided to me her frustration about my brother’s early marriage. I tried to appease her by reassuring her that it won’t happen to her two daughters.

You can imagine how upset my parents were when my sister, Kelly, told us of her decision to cohabit with her boyfriend. She insisted that she wanted to make sure that marriage is her calling.


In anger, my mother started to look for reasons why her “baby” did such an unthinkable thing. She blamed herself for not being strict enough.

She made us promise that none of us would go to Kelly or make any attempt to contact her. Since it was her decision to leave home, she should be the one to make the first move to reconcile with us.

My concern is I want our family to be reunited again. I would like to contact Kelly and ask her back home. Should I also invite her live-in partner? This is very awkward for all of us. What do you think?


Dear Karen,

I commend you for being a loving daughter and a concerned sister. I can empathize with you feeling torn between loyalty to mommy and concern to sister. Much as you want to reconcile your sister to the family, some things need time in order to be resolved.

If possible, I suggest you advise your parents to stay calm. This is a very critical period. I’m sure this is one time in her life that Kelly needs understanding the most. And yet because of what she did, it is most difficult for your parents to extend the much needed understanding.

At this point, we parents are in a position where we blame ourselves for what we had done or not done at all. In forbidding you to contact Kelly, your parents just want to take a stand or show their disapproval of what she did.

I would like to remind you that perhaps Kelly is hurting or agonizing and resenting her decision. So openly you may heed your parents’ warning not to contact your sister. But secretly make attempts to link up with her. It is important to reassure her that you may not agree with her decision, that you can’t understand why she did it, but that you continue to love her.

However, when things have settled down a bit, it may help to remind your parents that they should not blame themselves for what happened. Today’s society, with its consumerism, the many products being offered for a free trial basis, that is, if one is happy with them, one buys them. These are factors that could truly muddle and confuse our youngsters. Or maybe the institution of marriage has been on shaky ground for some time. Mass and social media continue to show broken families and unfaithful partners as normal situations. It can be also a personal desire on Kelly’s part to have the perfect partner to avoid the mistake of committing herself to a relationship where she will have no chance to back out.

I’d say, we parents should love our children for what they are, with their doubts and uncertainties, without imposing our ideas. On the other hand, we should never give up in showing with our own lives, that a marriage need both partner’s collaboration in order to be successful. Values such as fidelity, love and communion, as well as unity in adversity are assimilated by example and not through mere words.

This is truly difficult to do. On our own we may not be able to accomplish it. But with God’s grace it is possible, because nothing is impossible with God. Less words, more action and much prayer. Sooner than you expect, things will fall into place.

God bless,

Substituting prescribed medicine

Dear Dr. Dana,

I am hypertensive and have been taking medicine for normalizing my blood pressure prescribed by my doctor for quite some time. When a relative of mine sent us a balikbayan box among the items in the box were medicines in a plastic bag labeled “anti-hypertensive.”

With the price of medicines nowadays, and having these medications on hand, I was wondering if I could substitute them for my prescribed medicines.


Dear Tanya,

Medicines for high blood pressure can be divided into different groups. The reason for choosing medicine over others, or for combining medicines from different groups depends on the result your doctor may be hoping to achieve.

It might be possible that the medicine you’re taking and the one in the balikbayan box belong to different groups. So substitution of one for the other may be a little tricky. However, if they did belong to the same class of anti-hypertensive, I would still suggest that you consult your doctor about this. Being more familiar with your medical history and drug regimen, he would be in a better position to decide if you can replace your current medicine with the one sent to you.

It is always best to see a physician before deciding to take any medication, be it anti-hypertensive, antibiotic or even those medicines we take for the “common cold.”

Very truly yours,
Dr. Dana R. Sesante

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 31, 2014.


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