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Author Topic: Dad, are you going to die soon? The most difficult HIV Q&A of my life.  (Read 837 times)

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Offline Jim Allen

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Parenting ...  ;D

My general rule on any questions I get from the kids is that, I answer them with an appropriate high-level truthful answer. Now if they do ask follow-up questions or for details than I will answer them, if they don't ask however I'll leave it depending on the topic.

Anyhow my Daughter who soon will be turning 9 years old, has asked once or twice before about my meds. This is I think because she had seen me taking them a few times, and so I had told her that I take a pill a day to treat a manageable condition and that the pill a day keeps me healthy.  ;) I never got follow-up questions from her, until out of the blue diving down the N3 Motorway (Highway for US members) my Daughter asked me the following from the backseat of the car.

"Dad?"
"Yeahhhh ...?" I said.
"Dad, are you going to die soon?" 

I took a moment to think about why would she be asking this and wondered if we had seen a dead cat or something on the way home, but I could not recall anything so I answered with:

"We all have to die sometime, I was not planning on dying for a very long time though ... Why the question?"

"Well, X told me that you have a virus, there is no cure and, that this virus makes you sick. I don't want you to die, Dad!"

Well by now I could simply hear in her voice that tears where forming & fear. For me this question had hit me like a slap in the face, so I pulled over to check in on her.

As upset as I was with X, I simply could not afford to show this in front of my Daughter.

Long story short with lots of hugs and a few questions and answers later, I explained to my Daughter as relaxed and as positive as I could that; I do have a virus that has no cure however this is okay as I don't need a cure, the medication I already take keeps the virus suppressed, like being asleep, meaning it can't hurt me and its not going to cause me to die.

Anyhow I thought I would share. Overall I gave her a truthful answer (In my opinion) and some reassurance that she needed as she had seemed convinced I was going to pop my clogs soon.

Now I am definitely not the first and, neither will I be the last parent to be asked this or similar questions on health matters, maybe what worked for me might help other parents if they are ever asked.

Take it easy.

Jim

Oh yeah, and I did catch up with X and asked WTF? Apparently it was as my Daughter had picked up on my last hospital visit from overhearing a conversation that was taking place and hence she was asking family and friends about it, I made it clear that putting answers in context is really important to kids otherwise they jump to the wrong conclusion. In this case being told "No Cure & Sick" = "Death" In her mind.


   
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 02:37:14 pm by JimDublin »
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Offline Loa111

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Re: Dad, are you going to die soon? The most difficult HIV Q&A of my life.
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2018, 03:28:35 pm »
Sorry to hear you had this question Jim. It’s hard going being a parent at times.
You’d feel like wringing X’s neck!

My son is 9, n the other is 5. I was thinking just the other day how many more years will it be before they know for real what I have. For now my medicine is “for my stomach” and I don’t tell them I’m heading to hospital either..”have to do a message” I say.

Soon though I think I’ll cover up the labels on pills..don’t want anyone curious googling. Its going to be on a “need to know basis” and they don’t need the potential to be upset my anything for as long as possible.


Offline kentfrat1783

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Re: Dad, are you going to die soon? The most difficult HIV Q&A of my life.
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2018, 06:58:27 pm »
Wow that would have been awkward and I'm sure you were hoping to have another few years before they asked you that.  Then again you are well educated on the subject and it seems  like you think about things before they happen. 

Then again being worried about people Googling things is a thing these days.  Then again it could be "Hey Siri" or "Alexa what is...". 

I just do my best to keep my Rx's out of sight of other (well at least the bottles).  I take my Rx's around other at times and they don't ask or even notice.  In the US Rx's is something that everyone is on so I'm just one of the normal ones now.  Yes it's a bad joke but I've been told I have sick sense of humor. 

But do you mind me asking how your daughter is doing now?  Hope well. 
06/18/2019 - CD4 173 (16%) VL <20
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Offline CaveyUK

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Re: Dad, are you going to die soon? The most difficult HIV Q&A of my life.
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2018, 07:22:30 pm »
I'm terrified of google on many levels. When on holiday last year, I was fretting that a neighbour who was in each day to feed the cat may have a bit of a snoop, and google the med bottles in the cupboard. Unfounded (I think) but it's so easy to do.

Before too long, I should be living with my gf and her kids, and there is a whole host of potential hurdles to overcome regarding meds and difficult questions, so thanks for sharing Jim. You gave an exemplary answer, and I would have expected nothing less from you anyway :)
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Offline Loa111

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Re: Dad, are you going to die soon? The most difficult HIV Q&A of my life.
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 03:26:27 am »
Might be a good idea to get some blank pill containers. Think I’ll do this soon.

Sometimes I use a black marker to block out my name n meds name on pill bottles before I throw them out on rubbish bin day.

Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Dad, are you going to die soon? The most difficult HIV Q&A of my life.
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2018, 04:55:25 am »
Sorry to hear you had this question Jim. It’s hard going being a parent at times.
You’d feel like wringing X’s neck!

Yeah, you can say that again >:( I'm really upset someone has shared an outdated or not applicable point of view with my daughter. It upset her when the truth is my well treated HIV is no reason for her to be upset and, can be explained in an age appropriate manner/context. Also despite being open about my status its, still my truth to tell my kids ... rant over  ;)

My son is 9, n the other is 5. I was thinking just the other day how many more years will it be before they know for real what I have. For now my medicine is “for my stomach” and I don’t tell them I’m heading to hospital either..”have to do a message” I say.

Soon though I think I’ll cover up the labels on pills..don’t want anyone curious googling. Its going to be on a “need to know basis” and they don’t need the potential to be upset my anything for as long as possible.

I'm terrified of google on many levels. When on holiday last year, I was fretting that a neighbour who was in each day to feed the cat may have a bit of a snoop, and google the med bottles in the cupboard. Unfounded (I think) but it's so easy to do.

Before too long, I should be living with my gf and her kids, and there is a whole host of potential hurdles to overcome regarding meds and difficult questions, so thanks for sharing Jim. You gave an exemplary answer, and I would have expected nothing less from you anyway :)

Might be a good idea to get some blank pill containers. Think I’ll do this soon.

Sometimes I use a black marker to block out my name n meds name on pill bottles before I throw them out on rubbish bin day.


Yeah, okay I can understand the concerns of someone googling the drug name and finding out. Me being transparent about my status, I don't personally have this concern anymore, but I can appreciate it. I was not always so open about things. That's not judgment from my-side though, being open about HIV has its benefits and drawbacks in life and everyone has to make the right choice for them.

The way I see it sooner or later in life, even if I did hide my status, My daughter might have already suspected something. If it was from seeing me taking medications and than later wondering or asking more details about the reasons why and/or perhaps why i'm seeing the doctor more often than other parents etc etc etc and I would have hated for her to find out lets say in 10 or 15 years time and feel I kept this from her or feeling that I felt i could not tell her.

So I always was planning to answer her questions if she ever had them, I do think truths about life have to be appropriate for kids ages. So like I said she already knew I took medication for a condition and it kept me healthy, this was the truth I felt was appropriate for her age. I'm really upset someone shared an outdated  point of view with my daughter and upset her when the truth is there is no reason for her to be upset.

Before too long, I should be living with my gf and her kids, and there is a whole host of potential hurdles to overcome regarding meds and difficult questions, so thanks for sharing Jim. You gave an exemplary answer, and I would have expected nothing less from you anyway :)

Living with children, oh the joys and nightmares of it, enjoy  ;D

You're welcome, and who knows perhaps other parents who have already gone though this might share as well.

Like I said I can't be the first, but with treatment as good as it is nowadays, living healthy longer lives and more & more people having/finding relationships & kids etc it must a topic that will be more frequent in the future.

Wow that would have been awkward and I'm sure you were hoping to have another few years before they asked you that.  Then again you are well educated on the subject and it seems  like you think about things before they happen. 

Then again being worried about people Googling things is a thing these days.  Then again it could be "Hey Siri" or "Alexa what is...". 

I just do my best to keep my Rx's out of sight of other (well at least the bottles).  I take my Rx's around other at times and they don't ask or even notice.  In the US Rx's is something that everyone is on so I'm just one of the normal ones now.  Yes it's a bad joke but I've been told I have sick sense of humor. 

But do you mind me asking how your daughter is doing now?  Hope well. 

Indeed, yeah I had thought it would be a few more years before any serious questions and perhaps not in this way.

Thanks for asking, she is doing fine. She knows that if she asks a serious question she will get the truth, so after giving her reassurance and more detailed explanation she, calmed down and was relived 

The Pizza and Ice-Cream when we got home also helped I guess  ;D

Jim
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 01:04:20 pm by JimDublin »
HIV 101 - Everything you need to know
HIV 101
Transmission and Risks:
HIV Transmission and Risks
Read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
Read about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
Read about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

 


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