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advice plz - friend has advanced AIDS - when should I tell his family?

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emeraldize:
Well, that's actually a relief to know his mom is great. So, is there a way to keep her abreast and not involve everyone else?  Would her voice be helpful to your friend?  Could you set up a good phone call? Or Skype?

If the family has problems with him, why would they shut you out? Do they know you? Is there some history with them?

All I've got is questions now. I hope you get a good report from the hospital.

WillyWump:
I feel for the position you are in Jayek. What an amazing friend you are. Em gave some very good advice.

It's all very tough. But I would say definitely tell his mother now. His condition doesn't sound good right now, and I guess its possible he could pass....and Afterall it would probably be you calling her to inform her of his death so why not tell her now about his situation and let her have a chance to talk to him.

Good luck

hug
-Will

jayek:
Thanks Em and Will - I really appreciate the replies.

Em - to answer your questions - and I'm happy to answer more, but might want to do it in private message - his mother & family know me but not well, haven't seen me in a long time, no bad history. I think I want to tell one of his sisters and let her decide about how and when to tell their mother. 

I honestly don't know which way it would go if he hears her voice - some deep maternal/son bond that renews his will to live, or complete despair from knowing that his mom is now aware of his situation and the grief it will cause her.

It's not that the family has problems with him, it's that he has problems with them.  He has created this distance in years and miles for his own reasons.   

He put me on his living will and wanted no life prolonging measures.   He trusts me to carry out his wishes, and I think I'm getting that tangled up with the trust he put in me to not tell them.   I'm actually certain he would rather they never found out until he actually dies, but he did not specify that and no one involved thinks that is a good thing to do. 

Hospital just told me nothing has changed, there's nothing emergent and they're just monitoring him until they can speak with his regular doctor tomorrow.   Part of me wants to wait until then, but I might just be procrastinating.   

mecch:
Maybe there is no 100% correct thing to do.
Why not wait until he is cogent and ask him again.

I'm not convinced about this idea that his mom or his family might help him rally. Seems like he has made his wishes pretty clear.

How old is your friend, may i ask?  What he probably needs is very close medical treatment more than anything.  Unless you have been told he is dying, why not wait and see how things evolve?

Also, I dunno, but you don't necessarily have to disclose HIV to tell his family that he's very sick.  If push comes to shove and you feel like they need to be notified, there is the pretty classic of just staying discrete what you tell them. Then its up to him -- or for them to ferret out the reason for his health crisis, if they feel that its so important to know. 

emeraldize:
Hi Jayek,

Thank you.

I harken back to his instructions to you to let family know if something "really bad" happens. I'm with Miss P who first noted this rises to that definition.

And, I suppose this is one of those Golden Rule issues -- what would you want to have seen done -- in this case, if you were his mom, first and foremost. And, especially since you note she's great and he's orchestrated the alienation.

I like reading that you can confer with one of his sisters. I would not tarry given the most recent hospital update.

If he does not regain any quality of life and independence, then this will be for the living who care for him, you included, to decide moving forward.

You're in a tough spot. I do believe rallying is possible and surprising in the face of family support. At least you can have contact with the sister.

Best of luck,
Em

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