Mom is still in the hospital…had gallstones removed on Tuesday, gallbladder removed Wednesday, leftover gallstones found in her bile duct removed Thursday. Saying she is ready to go home is the understatement of the year. We’re hoping today is the day. PLEASE LET TODAY BE THE DAY. If today is NOT the day my mother will be the woman in the hospital gown running away from the hospital and toward her house as another woman and her daughter chase her down the street screaming, “GRAMMMMMMYYYY!”
Since there were THREE procedures, there were THREE stretches of time we had to stay at the hospital to wait for a big chunk of time so we could be found after the surgery or if anything went wrong. I’ve decided to compile tips form lessons learned for anyone else in this situation with a kid who finds hospitals mildly boring.
(All kids find hospitals boring. FYI.)
- Wait in their room, not the surgery waiting area. The staff understands this request and the doctor can just call the room to update you after surgery. This gives you your OWN television and your OWN space should the child like running around and dancing like mine does.
- Bring projects but tell your kid you can’t start them until the surgery starts. This gives them some sort of schedule and an understanding why they’re there. You don’t want to start the project as soon as the patient goes TO the operation area because it may be another hour or more so build up the anticipation!
- As soon as you get word that your patient is out of surgery and in recovery…TAKE A BREAK. One day we made the mistake of waiting and ended up not getting our break until 3 hours later. Take a break. Explore the hospital. Ride the elevator. Get cheerios out of the cafeteria. Something to rejuvenate your child so that they may be able to wait a bit longer for your family member to return to their room.
- Point and explain. When you’re walking around the hospital, point out things like blood pressure stands or hospital beds in the hall. Something your child can spot like Punch Buggy! Have them count them. Offer a quarter for each 5 or something. Depending on what all they’re counting. This helps them WANT to take walks around the hospital which they need to do to keep that built up energy from exploding in attacks of WHINING or WALL-BOUNCING. Two things that will make the patient wish they were back in surgery.
- Things to find the first day as they’ll come in handy: Public bathrooms. Cafeteria. Vending machines. Any good window/lobby areas for staring and point at things outside. It seems to make a child feel better if they can at least SEE the outside world periodically.