DR. WALLACE: I'm 18, and my brother is 19. He is a superbrother, and I love him very much. I graduated from high school this past June, and my brother recently finished his first year at university. At a July 4 celebration party, our dad announced to me, in front of my brother, that he isn't my blood brother. My parents adopted him at birth. My brother has known about this for a long time. He was told on his 14th birthday, but my parents made him promise that he wouldn't tell me. My brother kept his promise for the past several years.
This news has left me in total shock. Of course, I love him very much, but it does make me see him differently. I'm extremely upset with my parents for keeping this family secret from me for so long. I am now a young woman, not a child. I should have been told his family secret a long time ago.
I am amazed that they kept me in the dark about my brother being adopted. My parents wonder why I'm making such a big deal about something so small. Well, if it was such a small thing, why didn't they share that "small" bit of family information with me?
Do you see this obvious blunder as something small? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? — Shocked Sister, Tucson, Arizona
SHOCKED SISTER: Your parents made a serious blunder! You should have been informed that your brother was adopted at the same time your brother was informed.
However, don't allow this to ruin your relationship with your parents. They are human, and I believe they indeed made a mistake in this case. Leave it at that! Focus on family harmony from here and take this lesson forward with you as you go through your life. There may be times you'll have some sort of information that might need to be disclosed, and you will be wiser for this experience.
VISIT A DOCTOR SOON
DR. WALLACE: Please take my letter seriously. You are the only person who can help me. I'm 13 and still wet the bed. I live with my mom and grandmother, and my grandmother thinks that I will grow out of my problem. Grandma says my mom always listens to her and that my mom also thinks that, in time, my problem will disappear. The thing that really bothers me is that I can never spend the night at a friend's house because of my bedwetting, and I'm tired of having this problem. I think that I should see a doctor, and I hope you agree with me because both my grandmother and mother think that you give good advice. — Ashamed, Ames, Iowa
ASHAMED: I agree that you should visit a doctor as soon as an appointment can be arranged. It's possible that your problem can be corrected quite quickly with the proper treatment and medication. A professional can help you to start treatment on this issue right away. It would be very unwise to wait any longer while merely hoping to "grow out" of this problem.
KISSING WAS FORBIDDEN
DR. WALLACE: The guy I'm dating has developed a cold sore on his lip. It's ugly-looking, and, of course, I don't allow any mouth-to-mouth contact while he has this thing hanging there. I heard that cold sores are contagious but not serious. My aunt told me that cold sores are one form of herpes and are a sexually transmitted disease. She says that once you have cold sores, the virus stays with you forever. Is that true? — Worried, via email
WORRIED: Your aunt is confused. Cold sores are a form of herpes type one. They can look ugly and are highly contagious, but not dangerous. Herpes type two, better known as genital herpes, is considered a sexually transmitted disease.
There is no real cure for either type of herpes, type one or type two. In both types, the virus usually lies dormant most of the time and flares up only occasionally. There is documented evidence that cold sores date back over 2,000 years. At one time, the virus caused such a terrible epidemic in ancient Rome that the emperor banned kissing!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.