As you are probably aware, D is waiting to go into hospital. After an appointment with the school doctor last year, it was decided to refer him to the orthopaedic department at the children’s hospital. The doctor there, was very concerned about the angle D’s knees were growing at, and decided it would be in his best interests to have his knees pinned – https://jas2jar.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/another-hospital-trip/
Because at the hospital they had said it would be in the New Year, D put his mind in the place that said as soon as the New Year started he would be in hospital, so we have had an up hill struggle to explain to him that what had been said was meant in a way that nothing would happen before Christmas! This is such a great example on how literal the autistic mind takes things. He was also told it would mean a couple of days off school – I suppose the doctor thought that was a way of making it not sound so bad, but instead, D is totally convinced he will only be off school for 2 days, and then be running around like he has always wanted to. I can only imagine the problems we are going to have when he finally accepts that getting up to full speed is going to be a long hard slog! Something to look forward to I don’t think!
Anyway, the letter finally arrived saying he was due into hospital on the 24th February. The feelings that went through me were mixed. I was pleased we finally had a date, it meant we could finally start preparing him in a positive way. I was also worried for him. He is such a delicate little man, that he is going to find it difficult to deal with something this major. Time will tell what is does to his head, but our job is to help him deal with it in as easy a way as possible.
When he got home from school, I sat him down and talked to him about it and what it meant. He went unusually quiet. He has to get it into his head. We looked at the calendar to see when it was, so that he could see the time that had to pass beforehand. He was pleased he will get his mid-term break! The first thoughts that came to him was, would his teacher give him some work sheets to take into hospital with him. This wasn’t him worrying he would be given work, but him worrying that he wouldn’t have any to do – I can only imagine a child so desperate to absorb information must be a teachers dream! We told him that while he was in hospital, getting his strength back was his first priority, and not to worry about school, but he was adamant we spoke to his teacher. Hubby did this, and she said she would sort him something out if he really wanted it, but that it wasn’t necessary.
I read him the information in the letter, and he is horrified about having to fast on the morning of admittance! As adults we know the thought of going without food and drink is far worse than the actual act, but for a child, it’s quite hard to explain that eating between the times stated doesn’t usually happen anyway so it isn’t actually a problem!
I have arranged to stay at the hospital while he is in. They have rooms available for parents to use, and the lady who organises this will visit with me on the day D is admitted. D is pleased he knows I will be there, but is concerned that the rooms are on the floor below where he will be. I have assured him I will be by his bed at all times he needs to me be. I am not sure that has really settled him on this, but it is the best we can do.
I do need to ring to arrange a ward visit. I am sure this is really important for most children who are being admitted to hospital to see where they are going, but for a little man who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, it will hopefully be one less thing to worry him, if he knows where he is going to be.
I have plenty of work to do to get his head into as close to as possible to the right place in the next three weeks.
I also have more practical things to do, like find him pyjamas he will wear! He prefers to go commando at night-time, so it is going to be something odd for him to do!
What happens after the op is still something we still don’t have too much information about. D did a runner during the appointment when we were told he would be having the op, and so there were so many things I didn’t get to ask! We don’t know how long he will be in hospital, or how long they believe it will take for him to be mobile – he is in an upstairs classroom at school, so it’s a major concern how he will get to that. It would probably be a far better thing to have the appointment without the child, so as the questions could be asked, and discussed without disturbance of a scared child wanting to leave, but I am sure even then you would think of more things afterwards than at the time!
We have three weeks of research to do on the possible after effects of this op – I think after my recent realisation that lack of information can lead to frightening consequences we need to be aware of any possibilities we can be. More importantly, we have a lot of reassurance to do. We have a little man who is already showing signs of stress at a higher degree than we have ever seen before. It is going to be difficult for him, but I think the thought of not being in pain with every step he takes is very appealing to him.
He is really looking forward to running with his friends and not be the one who is lagging behind.