Monday, July 19, 2010


Very rarely do we have any awkward moments with regard to Kendi's HIV. I'm (obviously) open on this blog and we've told most everybody in the family that we care to tell. However, on Saturday we went to a swim party for my kids' second (step) cousin. My children have never even met the girl. At the party were other (step) family members that we really don't spend much time with and would have no reason to know about Kendi's HIV status.

Kendi was in her swimming suit. Swimming suits don't really do much to cover a mickey-button (g-tube) so an aunt asked us what it was. Eric's dad responded that it was a tube that we put medicine down because Kendi vomits when given medications orally. The aunt asked, "What is she taking medicine for?" Eric's dad, myself, and Eric all sort of looked at each other for a second before Eric's dad says, "To keep her healthy!" That wasn't going to fly with this particular aunt so she asked again what the medicine was keeping her healthy from? Another awkward silence. I sort of whispered under my breath that we could say Kendi has an infection in her blood, but Eric was NOT going for that. After a few second Eric's dad said, "Oh, it's just some medicine she has to take." then he very smartly turned the conversation back to the tube saying, "She can't take any medicine without throwing up." The Aunt let it go at that point, obviously not very satisfied with the answers she got, but also knowing she wasn't going to get the info she wanted. If I remember right this Aunt flat out asked us if Kendi had AIDS when she came home (you know...because she's from Africa and African kids have AIDS). Of course we could honestly tell her NO she does not have AIDS, because she doesn't!

The whole thing was just a little blip on the radar screen of life. No big deal. But it was sort of weird to have a question stump us after 10 month of her being home. How would you answer, "What does she take medicine for?" without telling an untruth but also without revealing your child's HIV status?



Story of our Life 9:17 PM  

Personally, I think what your FIL said was just perfect. It is the truth. She can't take her meds w/o vomitting. She has a blood disorder that she takes medication for. I do to..I get my medication via infusions every so often. that defense..that is what it is.

Rude people. I'm sure she didn't 'mean' anything by it. But in my opinion not accepting the 'first answer' is just plain rude. And're nicer than I am. I probably would have made some sort of comment that would have made HER feel uncomfortable.

BTW: Ms. Princess Girl is incredible darling (and her sibs)

Lisa 9:23 PM  

I guess "luckily" for me, the couple times this has come up, I have been able to just respond that Olivia takes meds for her seizures. She does, just happens that only one of the 4 are for that reason. BUT, the way the question was asked, the people who asked who I didn't even know, I wasn't going into a lecture or teaching session on HIV at that time. But again, like you, I wasn't lying. I think it's easy to tell what people's motivations are when they ask that question. IF it was someone genuinely concerned I would most likely answer even more truthfully. It's a hard thing, especially as I know little ears listen big time! :)

Mama D.'s Dozen 9:39 PM  

I love the "to keep her healthy". Naturally, isn't that what medicine is for?

I think you all handled it fantastically.

:) :) :)

Mama D.'s Dozen 9:40 PM  

Have you ever thought about having her wear a one-piece suit for the times that you don't really want all of the questions? There are some really cute 1-piece suits out there.

Then, if you get asked about the little bump under the suit (which would seem to be really rude), you could respond, "Oh. She had a little medical procedure."

Just a thought ...

Mama D.'s Dozen 9:40 PM  
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A. Gillispie 9:47 PM  

G, I like "blood disorder." That's better than blood "infection" since people wonder about catching "infection."

Lisa, will have to remember the gastric-emptying med! Could have just said she takes medicine for that and been done with it!

Laurel, she actually was wearing a one-peice. Just didn't have a picture to post with her one peice on. It doesn't really hide the tube well at all. Definitely obvious she's got something "not of her body" under there! =-)

Thanks ladies!

Robin Dodd Photography 10:58 PM  


This is making me think of something that happened to Shawn the other day. A songwriter here, someone around my age, he might have written with her once or twice when we moved here four years ago..definitely not someone in our circle came up to him at this event and asked what had been Shawn tells her about the girls, a new addition to our family.. etc.. and the woman says jumping in with a disappointed tone.."Oh, why would you do that??? when there are so many kids here you need homes.." it REALLY stumped him and through him for a LOOP. He's like "this is my family... MY FAMILY!! it's our personal path.. our life.. what is wrong with people.. would I go up to someone who was pregnant and say "WHY would you have another child...?? " He just really couldn't wrap his mind around it.. I still don't understand why people want to hear answers that don't make any difference to THEM. Shawn decided that when it happens again, if it does.. he's going to say what Steven Curtis Chapman says "well, this is obviously something weighing on your heart.. and you should really think about doing it...

So when are you going to let me babysit.. it's a short drive...LOL

Heather A. 2:53 PM  

How about the standby: "Why do you ask?" But I agree with what the others all said, you and your FIL handled it beautifully!