Friday, November 12, 2010

Telling Rachel About Surgery

The last time Rachel had any surgery was October 2007, when she had tubes placed in her ears. She was three years old at the time, the procedure was brief, and we were in and out of the hospital in a matter of a couple of hours.

The last time Rachel had major surgery was November 2005, when she had her palate repair (you can read all those posts by clicking on 'palate repair' in the side bar). She was 14 1/2 months old and the expected one over night stay in the hospital turned into two when her tongue had become clamped down during surgery and swelled up and wouldn't fit back in her mouth.

Things are different now. Rachel is six years old. She's well aware of things going on, what she's afraid of, etc. The girl won't even step foot in one direction towards Pirates of the Caribbean because she's afraid of the drops on the ride. So we've been pretty careful with what we've been telling Rachel about next week's pending 'adventure'.

Our wonderful speech therapist recommended to us a few months back that we present this all to her as an 'adventure'. It's the next step in her journey and as stressful and emotional as the entire situation is for us as her parents, on her grandparents, and even her sister, we cannot let Rachel see that or she'll become scared.

A few weeks back, when we were talking about our then upcoming break from school for a few weeks, we told Rachel she would be going on an adventure to the hospital where Dr. Martin, her plastic surgeon, would be fixing her nose. She has an extra flap of skin in her nose that is constantly bugging her and we knew she'd be interested in the fact of getting it fixed. We told her that she and Mommy would get to spend the night in the hospital and Mommy and Daddy and her would get to watch movies on the iPad and the laptop, etc, etc, all the while in this really cool hospital bed.

Rachel mentioned it to my parents a week or so ago, and my Mom told Rachel she had presents for her adventure and that has Rachel excited! Poor Kid, she had no idea as to what extreme she has to go to for these presents. LOL.

So we keep talking about her upcoming adventure. Each week adding a little bit more information - her leg might be sore and she'll be taking a break from Tae Kwon Do, and she'll have to sit out during PE at school, etc. And why her leg might be sore, etc.

So far, she's in good spirits about the whole thing, and really why wouldn't she be?? There's no need to tell her all the gory details and scare her. We just keep telling her the basics of what she needs to know.


Kari Marchelli said...

I think you did a wonderful job explaining Rachel her surgery. I will keep this in mind for when Riley gets older!

Liz said...

So glad to hear that she's handling it all well. Praying for her this week!