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Spring 2005 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Time to Think – Preparing for Your Child’s Hospital Stay

By Teresa Dafft, Deafblind, Family Leadership Participant, The Woodlands

Abstract: One parent shares her pointers for preparing for her child’s hospital stay.

Keywords: Family, blind, deafblind leadership, hospital tips

Our son, Travis, had a pretty rough start with life. Emergency C-section, emergency resuscitation, emergency life flight to Houston — Emergency, Emergency, Emergency. During those times, we didn’t have time to stop, think and ask questions. It just happened so fast.

That was 14 years ago, we have been fortunate that Travis has not been in the hospital since he was two. Not because he has been in perfect health but because he has a pediatrician who believes that under certain situations a child will do better at home with nursing care as opposed to lying in a strange bed in a room that actually has more germs than your home!

Then the year 2004 came rolling around and a new journey began. In January, Travis had to have bilateral hamstring lengthening. It was a fairly easy operation, which was performed in day surgery. Afterwards, he was in long leg casts for two weeks before we were able to resume our regular routine. For us, our regular routine meant a summer of fun at grandma’s farm and a growth spurt!

Travis has always been monitored for scoliosis because he is in a wheelchair and his muscles don’t work correctly. Well, this growth spurt caused his curve to go from 30 degrees to 74 degrees in 3 months. It was causing his pelvis to shift, making it harder for him to sit.

Waiting in the doctor’s office to find out what needed to be done to fix the problem, I remember thinking that perhaps the doctor would increase the support of the brace or maybe have him wear it at night. When we met with the doctor, he shared with us what was really going on. From there, everything became a blur “surgery” “lose ability to sit” “50/50 chance” “ventilator” “ICU” “12 hour surgery.” Words that can stop you in your tracks. The only difference this time was that the surgery was not an emergency and we could take the time to stop, think and ask our questions.

Travis came through his back surgeries with flying colors and now almost 6 months postoperative he is doing great. We know that a lot of parents will be facing the situation of surgeries and hospital stays, and as result of our experience we learned a few pointers that we would like to share with other families.

We hope our experience and the things we learned while Travis was in the hospital will help another family. We know they will certainly come in handy for our family when we face this again this fall when Travis is scheduled for another surgery.

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Last Revision: September 1, 2010