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2:38 PM Wed, Nov. 14th

Dear Abby | Medical privacy rules stymie ‘dad’ to girlfriend’s children

Dear Abby: I am 32 and in a relationship with a 31-year-old single mother. Her son, “Steven,” is 7. Her daughter, “Jessica,” is 15.

I am a stay-at-home dad. Both kids refer to me as “Dad,” as I have been a part of Steven’s life more than his (incarcerated) dad has ever been. Because I am a stay-at-home dad, this means I take Steven to various professional appointments, doctors, including a psychiatrist for ADHD, the dentist and various sports activities.

I was informed three weeks ago Jessica is pregnant. When I take our boy for doctor’s visits, they always want guarantor information, and I always sign. But after a recent checkup of his, I called for results and was outright lied to – “We don’t have the results back” – and Jessica’s doctor said they can’t release any information to me.

Abby, I’m in this for the long haul. If doctors will let me sign to pay their medical expenses but I can’t have the results, what can I do? – Stay-At-Home-Dad

Dear “Dad”: A guarantor is different from a legal guardian or parent. Have their mother call the doctors and request the information so she can share it with you. And if you haven’t suggested to Jessica’s mother that her daughter should be put on long-acting birth control, I think the time has come.

Dear Abby: I have a friend who I suspect has a mental problem. I wonder if it may be a disease of some kind. No matter what I talk about – what I’ve done, who I know or what I have – she one-ups me by saying she has done or had the same thing. It really grates on my nerves. Do you think it’s a habit or a disease? – Outdone in Washington

Dear Outdone: It’s not a disease, but an obnoxious habit. The “cure” may be to tell the woman how what she’s doing makes you feel. The result will be that she either stops trying to top you or ends the friendship. Either one will be a relief.

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.