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Preparing for Surgery Tomorrow

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


The calls started early this morning.  The hospital nurses called to confirm tomorrow's surgery times...and his current medication list...and his health history...and his NPO times (nothing by mouth after 9AM).  It's like we're all planning for a party.  Everybody in their places. Every detail to get right.

Bennett's sinus surgery will begin at 12:15pm tomorrow and should last a few hours.  We don't expect any surprises.  We will be admitted to Scott and White Children's Hospital after surgery for a "23 hour stay" to watch to make sure he's ok.  We will be on what they call "reverse isolation."

Today, I started pulling things together for our hospital stay.  A favorite blanket.  A bag of toys. A new pair of pajamas (we needed them anyway).  Thankfully, since we did this only a few months ago, I still have stored away a few little treats for Oliver and Bennett to help them build good memories of this surgery/hospitalization.  We have been talking with both boys about what to expect with his procedure over the last week.  But Bennett and I spent some extra time talking tonight.


To help Bennett understand, I drew a picture of him and showed him where his sinuses are.  I let him color in the yucky mucus that currently fills his sinuses and is the cause of his headaches.


To help him understand what the doctor would do, I drew another picture of him, this one with him asleep.  I filled the mucus with pencil and allowed him to be the "doctor" and use his "tool" (the pencil eraser) to take out all the "yucky mucus."


Bennett really liked being the doctor and helping his patient feel better.  He liked doing it again and again for others to see.

A bit later, I caught Bennett with his own paper recreating my pictures for himself.  Bennett's play therapist reminded me today how playing out the procedure/gaining mastery of the situation through play allows children to understand and feel safer during the actual event.

As a parent, it's often hard to know where the gaps are in his understanding of what's happening to him.  But the play therapist reminded me that one thing I can do to help with this is to tell both boys periodically: "I will answer any questions you may have and I will tell you anything you want to know that I know."  This gives children permission to wonder and ask as things come up.

Over the last two weeks, Bennett has been bringing up the topic of death again.  His fears may be exacerbated by his upcoming surgery.

He said to me yesterday, out of the blue, "Mom, what would you do if I died?"  Not realizing what he was asking, I flippantly said, "I'd be sad - we all would be."

But, then, recognizing his questions may be more serious, I slowed down and paid closer attention to his questions and my responses.

I reassured him, "if you died, we would be sad.  But we would be ok.  We would always love you and we would always know you love us.  And you know what will happen if I die or Dad dies or Avonlea or Oliver dies?"  He said, "what?"  I said, "we would always know we love each other, even if we weren't here anymore.  We will miss each other.  But we will be ok."

Bennett went on, "You know that if I go to heaven, I don't have to be scared...because God is with me."  I reassured him this was true: he is never alone, in life or in death.

I'd like to think Bennett isn't dealing with life and death issues before he can even read...but that's how this disease works.  When you're fighting each day just to keep your breath, these issues are never far from your mind.

On our mind right now, though, are prayers for safe surgery, good recovery and the ability to breathe even easier (and with no headaches) after tomorrow!

5 Responses to “Preparing for Surgery Tomorrow”

  1. Breck, you are a blessing. Will be holding you all in the light tomorrow.

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  2. Wow. Love you guys. Great idea to have him be the doctor and take out the nasty mucous in his sinuses. Praying for a safe surgery, quick recovery, and positive hospital stay for all of you. You guys are so strong...especially sweet little Bennett. Hugs to all of you.

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  3. God bless you, friend. Our hearts are with you all as you navigate the hospital and surgery. King had his first sinus surgery when he was a year and a half old. It made a tremendous difference in his ability to eat and gain weight. I hope that all of the positive will outshine the negative for you all too!

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  4. This made me tear up. Praying for you all for a successful and comfortable recovery.

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  5. Prayers for a smooth surgery tomorrow. I am going to use the pencil/eraser idea with Emery next time. What a great way to get them to understand better!

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