Unexpected surgeries for your child are never fun. The path to the surgery is often filled with emotional stress, mental overwhelm, and pain.
Once they’re over, you can’t just jump back into your normal schedule. This is especially true if you have other children.
Unexpected surgeries take a toll on the whole family! It will take a little time for everyone to get back into the routine of things.
Owen, our child with Angelman Syndrome, recently had another unexpected surgery to remove a foreign body from his esophagus. This time it was two puzzle pieces and a plastic disc toy.
It took a week, two visits to the ER, an x-ray, and a swallow study to figure out exactly what was causing him to not eat and keep throwing up.
I feel so bad that he had stuff in his throat for a whole week while he waited for us to figure it out.
Times like this, I really wish he could talk!
Physical & Emotional Healing
We got home late last night from an afternoon surgery. Owen is recovering physically. He was intubated during surgery, in case the foreign objects cut off his breathing during removal.
I know his throat hurts. There’s a chance his esophagus will scar badly as it heals. Having something in your throat for a week has consequences.
Though the rest of us didn’t have surgery, we also had a hard time. My littles don’t understand really what happened – they just know mom, Tyler, and Owen were gone for a long time this week.
Jayme babysat a ton.
And the other kids worried about Owen and missed us.
I’m shocked at what they pulled out of my boy.
I’m so thankful that he didn’t choke to death on that plastic disc. If it had been turned horizontally instead of vertically, he easily could have.
I’m feeling bad because he suffered for so long while we tried to wait on ruling out the stomach flu, waited on referrals, and waited for the imaging center to have an opening.
I missed the other kids and worried about them.
It’s not been a normal week. So here’s what we’re doing to encourage emotional healing for the family.
It’s okay to talk about the struggles. Or do what I do and write about them. Getting it out helps!
However you best process shock and other strong emotions, do it. Get it out of your system and don’t keep it bottled up.
I spent time today talking to the kids, making sure they’re given the opportunity to express their emotions as well.
This week was a crazy for everyone, and we all have unique emotional needs to help us process.
Helping your children learn to process their feelings will help them so much as they become adults!
As I’m writing this, a frozen lasagna my mom made before Tyler was born is cooking in the oven. We’re having cold cereal for breakfast tomorrow. And we will be keeping meals simple for a while.
I’m using paper plates.
The house isn’t getting cleaned as thoroughly.
We will be watching more TV than normal, and racing each other more on Mario Kart.
And that’s okay.
Lowering your expectations helps so much to make a successful emotional recovery! Right now, we need to focus on recovering not keeping up with our massive to-do list.
There will be a time to jump back into it. But, today is not that day.
Owen especially needs to spend the next few days resting, helping his throat to heal and his body to recover. He lost weight after not eating for a week. He needs time to heal and get his strength back.
The rest of us need to rest as well. Our minds need time to process the events that unfolded and unwind from the stress.
We’ll be snuggling this evening on the couch, just resting. I can’t wait!
Another way we prioritize rest is by staying home. We cut some things out of our schedule, even cancelling something we were planning on attending. Today was not a day for going out and celebrating. It was a day for rest.
Pray and Count Your Blessings
Prayer is essential for recovery! We saw God’s hand in so many ways during this ordeal. He protected Owen from suffocating on the plastic in his throat. He gave Bryan strength to really jump in and advocate for Owen’s medical needs. God helped the doctor to recognize that there was something suspicious in the X-Ray.
We have so much to be thankful for, even in the midst of this trial.
I’m so thankful for the family and friends who joined us in prayer. For the ability to spread prayer requests far and wide on Facebook. For those who offered to help.
We will continue to spend time together in prayer as we recover. And, we will also be counting our blessings.
Trying to stay hydrated when you’re in the ER with your child is hard. They can’t eat or drink, so you don’t want to do so in front of them. You also don’t want to leave the room and run and get a drink, because you don’t want to leave them alone.
When you’re not home encouraging it, the other kids may not drink enough water either.
Dehydration takes a toll on your mental outlook. It leads to a foggy head and makes making decisions hard. (Along with a host of other issues!)
So when you’re in the recovery stage, make sure you take time to drink plenty of water.
It Takes Time to Recover from an Unexpected Surgery
The shock of an unexpected surgery is very real. Do yourself a favor and don’t jump right back into normal life!
Take the time you need to process and rest. Slowly add in more normal things until you’re back in the swing of things.
But don’t rush it!