We have a date!
Leo's exploratory surgery for his other testicle will be on October 7. Lucky Him!
Curiously, Skyler is all scared of Leo's surgery and doesn't know that he will be having open heart surgery. His Mom doesn't want him to know because he stresses out about it constantly. He's asking about the results of his cardiac catheter and DH and Skyler's Mom have decideed that he is not to be told until a week or so before hand. I'm glad, in a way, that Leo will have a surgery first so that Skyler can realize that it's not worth getting scared about.
So how do you deal with surgery and your children. Are you open about it and talk to them about it to allay their fears and let them know what the risks are? Do you hide it from them until the big day? Why?
Skyler is 12, and personally I do better with more information than less and would be more inclined to talk to Skyler about it... Not my choice, though.
When Isaiah had surgery, we talked about it with the whole family. We didn't go into a whole lot of detail, but the kids knew the doctors would make a hole in his stomach, and he would have a tube in his belly for us to put medicine in. We didn't tell Isaiah the date of the surgery, though, because he would worry so much he'd never sleep. We just told him about the surgery in general so that he could be mentally prepared for what was going to happen in the future without fretting constantly. So we told him that morning we were going to the hospital for his surgery. Does that make sense?
In regards to why to tell them: they're going to know something's going on anyway. You can't hide something that big from a child. And I'd rather them know what's happening and be able to ask questions rather than using their imaginations to fill in the blanks.
When Madi had her T&A she was 20 months old. We didn't really prepare her in any way because I didn't feel that she could understand. If she were to need surgery now we would discuss it at length so she could ask any questions she may have. I find that my kids do better when they are mentally prepared and know what to expect.
I believe that having Leo's operation(s) first is a great advantage for Skyler. I completely agree with your view of things, but respect his parents' opinion. Since he knows the surgery will happen at some point anyway, he is already fretting and asking questions. By answering those carefully and patiently, you are already helping. His mother is not able to answer such questions well, so perhaps that is part of her reasoning in avoiding discussion? Certainly she is allowed to be anxious herself!
Again, I think patience and a calm attitude with his questions is needed. Repetition can be annoying, but to understand something well, you need to think it through again and again from many angles, especially at his age.
Tom was only 4 months old so we talked with Sam a lot. If he has a redo it will be with him as part of the decision making process. I'm sure we'll be talking about it a ton to help him decide if he wants his lip changed (it's looking pretty good but it's bulky there). I'm not looking forward to that. Maybe dan will take the lead.
I do think it's lucky for your family that Leo's surgery comes first. And at age 12 I think your step-son should be included more but it's good you are respecting his parents' wishes.
I'm always open with my kids. For his 2009 surgery there was a little boy whom my BFF knew the mom. The mom volunteered to bring her son over and show us pictures and show Eli his scar. Now being a bit more prepared we read books about being in the hospital and being different. Our favorite is "Franklin Goes To The Hospital". There is another one I haven't found that they let us borrow in the hospital after his last surgery that I want to get. It's a Curious George one where he has to have surgery. We use the stories to talk about the feelings. We also now look back at his old pictures. The books by FAR help Eli deal with it. We also have a feelings stuffed animal that has pillows with "feelings" on them that when he doesn't want to actually talk or can't find the word we stuff the pillows in the toys mouth. For Eli's 2009 surgery we took Dakota the day of surgery (long story to actually explain why) and his last surgery DH brought all the kids down the day after. Faith didn't really understand as she was only 9 months old. Oh and we also get out all the dr stuff (we actually have the real stuff the drs and therapists at the hospital send home with us) and do role playing. He does much better when we prepare him. It allows him to work out his fears and all the feelings that go along with preparing.
Another factor that might play into her not talking to him about it is that she is afraid and it's hard for her to keep emotions in check or not freak out? DH was like that for a VERY long time.
And Leo's surgery being first could be a HUGE benefit I agree.
We have a book where Curious George eats a puzzle piece and has to have surgery to get it out - it might just be Curious George Goes to the Hospital. But at your step-son's age he might not dig Curious George :lol:
Sarah is away for a few days now.
I (Nana Marie) agree that books can be helpful. I think Skyler likes books for younger kids because they are quick to read (!) and because he likes to read to his little sister. So maybe they could read curious George, Franklin Goes to the Hospital and other books too before Leo's surgery. (Madeline gets her appendix out in one book and all her friends cry with jealousy!)
And I also think that both parents are concerned & nervous about Skyler's surgery because of the terrible accidents that occurred when his first "routine" operation took place. How could you NOT be anxious after that!
Reading kid books to Ivy before Leo's surgery would be a great way to help make Skyler more comfortable with the idea of surgery. Good thinking!
Hello, late to game here, but I wanted to offer my opinion about surgery.
Will has had 5 surgeries since Feb 17th. We've told him each and every time what the surgery will be about, how much pain he will be in, what they will do to relieve his pain etc. I'm very surprised at age 12 S's mother feels that hiding it from him is reasonable. Maybe Will is old for his age, but we've always been honest about what is going to happen. We started this when he was just a little guy, having to get vaccination shots. We told him it would hurt, but then it would be over. So much better than lying to him. Now he knows that he can trust us when we talk about what is going to happen. It has served us well in our recent journey -- everyone, doctors, nurses, technicians tell us how easy he is to work with even during difficult procedures.
On the other hand, if S obsesses and freaks out, giving him a general idea may be better. I agree, seeing Leo's surgery ahead of time is great timing.