This is the third post in my "The Emotional Roller Coaster We Go Through" blog post series.
As I said in the last post, the majority of the time hospital stays are planned due to surgeries and procedures. With that being said, planning happens behind the scenes that people may not even think about.
The parents have to try and explain what is going to happen to not only the patient but their siblings as well. Answering hard questions and trying to reassure the patients and their siblings that things will be okay, while trying to reassure themselves that very thing as well. The coping process of what will happen and dealing with the fear of what could go wrong begins at this stage, and the fears don't subside until the patient is practically in the car headed back home from the hospital after their stay.
Then there is the fact that the families have to find someone to watch over the house and the other kids while they spend nights at a hospital, whether its in the same state or out of state. If it is out of state, trying to find someone to drive the kids to school, pick them up, make sure they get fed, do their homework and all other parenting roles can be even more difficult since the parents will not be able to pitch in from however many miles they are away.
On top of all that, the patient and their family may not be handling this news so well. When I was 12 years old and was told I needed another heart surgery, I threatened to lock myself in my room the day we had to leave for California to go get the surgery done. As I climbed into my parents' mini-van, my sisters stood beside the car in tears. One of them told my dad to let me stay home.
And something that I never considered before when I was younger, was how bad the parents feel while their kids yell and plead with them to not make them have another surgery. Parents hide their own fear, they don't break down in front of the kids. They reassure them that things will be okay and are strong for the patients and the siblings, even though they have their own fears and doubts.
Someone once told me when they had a loved one go through surgery for first time, "You think you know what it feels like... then it happens and you realize, you had no idea." And that is so true. The fear, the anxiety, the pressure, the planning, making sure things back home are organized and reassuring everyone else that things will be okay while on top of that trying to keep yourself from breaking down... it's more than what people imagine. But I hope that with the help of parents and patients who have a chronic or terminal illness, we can educate people and let them know just what it is like to be in our shoes.
Hope and Love,
How is that you deal with the pre-hospital stay/surgery fears and anxieties?